Tag Archives: Houston Oilers

Taylor, Lionel

Card: Upper Deck Legends 1997
Acquired: TTM 2014, C/o Home
Sent: 6/4/14  Received: 8/13/16  (801 days)

Lionel Taylor had an amazing career that began in 1959 playing for the Chicago Bears.  He didn’t record a reception for the team during his rookie year and opted to join the upstart American Football League during its inaugural season in 1960 for the Denver Broncos. Taylor went on to endear himself as one of the most dominant receivers in the history of the league, leading the AFL in receptions 5 of the next 6 years.  In 1961 he set a modern era record with 100 receptions (which was broken in 1964 by Charlie Hennigan at 101). He played for the Broncos through 1966- joining the Oilers for the 1967 and 1968 seasons.  Lionel retired from the gridiron in 1969.

Taylor established himself quickly as an up and coming assistant coach with the Steelers as a receivers coach in 1970.  He’d remain there through 1976, cultivating a reputation as a Super Bowl winning positional coach.  He joined the Rams from 1977-1979, where he was offensive coordinator in 1980 and 1981.  Lionel then applied his trade at the college level for Oregon State, and then as head coach at Texas Southern through 1988.  Returning to the NFL in 1989, Taylor worked with the Cleveland Browns tight ends and as a pass coordinator.

Taylor joined the World League of American Football in 1995 as offensive coordinator to the London Monarchs. As the league rebranded to the NFLE, he’d take over as head coach of the franchise in 1996 and shepherd the franchise through to become the England Monarchs. It was a tough run for Taylor as head coach at the end, as his team was a vagabond franchise playing all over England looking for a new home. Since there was no established fan base, this gave the Monarchs no home field advantage.  The Monarchs finished with a 3-7 record during their swan song season.

Taylor has fully retired from the sport and lives in New Mexico.  At a clip over 800 days, I had fully given up on getting a response from Lionel, so this one came as quite a surprise to get back. It’s a shame, as with many American Football League players, Lionel has gotten little to no traction in Hall of Fame circles, despite his impressive numbers.

AFL
G/GS 121/NA      REC 567     YDS  7195    AVG 12.7   TD 45    LG  80T

NFLE
W  11     L 17       PCT .393

Duncan, Curtis (3) ‘CD’

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Cards: Topps Stadium Club 1991, Topps Stadium Club 1993, Topps 1989, Score 1992, GameDay 1992, ProSet 1992
Acquired: In Person 9/13/2015, Churrascos Club Pregame Party Texans vs. Chiefs
See Also: Curtis Duncan, Curtis Duncan (2)

Well I was quite the celebrity at the Houston Texans opener against the Kansas City Chiefs this year as I walked through the rows of tailgates and throngs of people wearing my powder blue Houston Oilers jersey. On quite a few occasions I was stopped and asked who it was a jersey of, and I’d quickly respond with, “Wide receiver, Curtis Duncan of the Houston Oilers. You know the least respected of the Fab 4 Run ‘N Shoot during who played during the late 80’s until the mid 90s.”

pset92 duncanPreviously I had met Curtis and liked him so much I busted out this old jeresy for the next time I saw him. When I ran into him outside the Churrascos he was very impressed and flattered that I had a jersey of him. Bubba McDowell laughed that I had it and said that I looked better than Duncan in it. I said, “Only my belly,” and rubbed it to their laughter.

The Churrascos event was a nice set up. There was a last second substitution, but Curtis was already on the docket to appear. I got a feeling of bourgeoisie from the catered all you can eat/all you can drink exorbitantly priced event- which made me feel slightly ill. There were photos and event tables and a lot of things to do. People who plan on attending should be there when it starts at 10AM, and prepare to leave 15 minutes early to reach their seats on time.

gday93 cduncanThe signing went well. Curtis wanted to take a photo with me, and I jabbed him telling him, “What so that you can prove to the world somebody is a fan of yours or has your jersey?” Bubba said it would be even more impressive if I had his jersey. Curtis signed every card I had. I previously got his rookie card signed, but we talked about it briefly joking that it was one of those Topps entries with him on the sidelines looking up into the air.

Overall these cards weren’t bad. There maybe just one or two more of Curtis I’d like to get autographed, but pretty much this does it. Even with these entries so late into the CD race, I was still pulling pretty decent looking cards and action shots of the former Oiler. The Topps entry of him sitting on the sideline is a well framed photo. About the only one I didn’t like was his 1991 Topps Stadium Club entry of him jumping up into the air with a defender draped on him.

 

 

Bingham, Gregg ‘Devil’

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Cards:  Topps 1983, Topps, 1978, Topps 1979
Acquired: 2016, C/o Home
Failure: TTM 2012, C/o Home

Little known fact about Gregg Bingham is that he is the Houston Oilers career leading tackler with nearly 2,000 tackles. Surrounded by talent like Elvin Bethea, Robert Brazile and Curley Culp, during the Luv Ya’ Blue era of the 70s- it was easy for Bingham to be overlooked in the star studded defensive lineup, even if he led the league 11 straight seasons. Also tackles were an unofficial statistic for the league until the late 80s/ early 90s.

After toiling away his rookie season in a 4-3 at MLB in 1973, and earning all-rookie honors, Gregg slid over to LILB, as the Oilers converted to a 3-4 under new defensive coordinator Bum Phillips. Bingham had earned the nickname ‘Devil’ for his strong motor and style of play, and he punished ball carriers on every tackle.  Bum Phillips was once quoted as saying that, “You’d have to cut off his head and hide it, in order to keep Bingham off the field.” He’d start the next 5 seasons for the team, recording 10 interceptions and 5 fumble recoveries, returning one 34 yards for a TD.  Gregg was also counted on by the team for special teams as well.  The following season he switched to RILB, playing the position for the majority of the rest of his career. Considerably durable, Bingham would have challenged Bethea’s consecutive games started record if not for a hip injury suffered in 1982 at 135. He topped the 200 tackle mark 4 times and led the league in tackles consistently over his career.

to78 gbinghamAn interesting character, Gregg made every penny count, investing into a series of coin operated car washes and oil changes around the Houston area. He even had the business foresight to have an assistant sort the change that came out of the machines for valuable coins.

Years later in 2008, Bingham’s heir at linebacker, John Grimsely committed suicide. It was later linked to CTE- caused by concussions. Gregg became a concussion flashpoint himself in 2009 when he was working in one of his car washes, and blacked out. When he next woke up, Bingham was in the hospital and learned he had been in a coma for the past 3 weeks, due to a swollen brain. It took him well over a year to rehab, but Gregg connected the dots to his time in the NFL and concussions, -something that at the time was to be ‘shaken off’.  He later rejected an NFL concussion settlement, because it would have not covered his expenses.

He continues to live in the Houston area, and after failing on a request back in… 2012- he kindly signed two cards for me and tossed in a third.

G/Gs   173/173       TAC   1,985         SAC    n/a        FUM   14
INT  21     YDS   279     AVG 13.3       TD   0         LG  54