Tag Archives: jim mcmahon

McMahon, Jim (2) “Jimmy Mac”

Cards: ProSet 1989, ProSet 1989 Update, ProSet 1991, Fleer 1990
Acquired: TTM 2012, C/o Home
Sent: 10/12   Received: 10/24  (12 days)
See Also: Jim McMahon

So I had gotten Jim almost 20 years ago on a card during a golf tournament, and decided after reading about his recent struggles in “Sports Illustrated” to write him. It was really striking to read about his battles with confirmed early stage dementia from blows to the head that he suffered from over the years playing football. His situation has gotten to a point that his short term memory sometimes gives out. For example, he will know he is going to the airport, run into somebody and have a conversation with them. Two minutes later he’s already asking himself who that person was.  In other words he has little short term memory. Over Jim’s time playing for the Bears, Chargers, Eagles, Vikings, Cardinals, Browns (only in the preseason), and Packers, he suffered at least 3 concussions. On one vicious hit against the Packers, he was picked up and piledriven into the turf. Jim never was taken out of a game for a concussion, and in fact, in a game against Detroit, doctors said his concussion, “Cleared up by halftime.”

Jim is open about his time, and said that if he could do it over- he’d have done baseball instead, but he ultimately knows that football paid his bills through college, as a professional and then on into retirement. McMahon lends some ‘star power’ to the concussion lawsuit group that has greater than 2,500 players as plantiffs against the NFL and helmet makers for knowingly risking head trauma to former players.  Looking at McMahon now, you can see the brash, punky, cavalier image is still there, but clearly he has been worn down as the concussions and the 18 surgeries have taken their toll. He’s granted numerous interviews to media outlets and radio stations, even doing a candid piece for ESPN’s “Outside the Lines”.

He tries to spend a lot of time golfing, and working charity events. He’s involved with design of his apparel line, “SwangWear”, which focuses on quality, functionality, and fun, for the golfing enthusiast.  Jim also gives a percentage of the profit to his sister’s memorial fund, The Lynda McMahon Ferguson Memorial Fund, to help promote literacy. McMahon continues to give time back to the community by being involved with St. Jude as an ambassador and the Wounded Warrior Project.

I am very interested in the lawsuits and the further medical research. I myself suffered 4 concussions before I was 18. I suffered one from heading a soccer ball as a child, one from Scouting where I blacked out for 10 seconds, one from fighting, and finally one from football from constant hitting. I hope that something can be done, as I worry about my own short term memory.

These are some great cards of Jim here. I really wanted to get at least one Bears card signed of his though. I realized that I had not included any of them to send out and had to remove some other great Eagles cards I had to get this ProSet 1989 in. Still getting two of him on these great Chargers cards, just doesn’t do him justice, as his stay was so short there in San Diego. The ProSet 1989 Chargers card would be rushed out so fast that this one is an error card missing the ‘traded’ corner strip. (Still it is worthless because of the sheer overprinting the Pro Set Corporation did of their card lines.) The Fleer 1990 card was the first one from the manufacturer to hit the market since the 1950s. It is generic, but something about it is original in the framing of Jim and how he breaks the picture plane into the yellow. The helmet seems thrown on there arbitrarily along with the hideous shine, but in a sense this added to the naive fun of the product. Again another Eagles card with the ProSet 1991 card. By then McMahon was a full time devotee to the helmet eye shield and still wore the headband, but I like the ‘standing tall’ in the pocket look here.  A great card of on the field action with just the right distance and cropping on the image. Pro Set’s 90 and 91 sets design-wise really run fairly seamlessly together into the 92 series 1 set, before a complete and confusing departure from their design struck the 1992 series 2 cards and ran the company off the tracks.

McMahon, Jim “Jimmy Mac”

Card: Action Packed Rookies 1990
Acquired: In Person 1993, CGA Youth Golf Tournament

Jim McMahon was the strangest name ever to graduate from the college of BYU. Setting then passing records at the time at the religious institution, he’d be taken by Mike Ditka and the Chicago Bears run consumed offense. A practical joker and a guy who loved to goad authority with his free-spirited ways, Jim would be drafted in 1982 with the 5th pick overall and immediately clash with teammates, media, administration, coaches, and the commissioner’s office. Well his rookie season got fairly squealched by the NFL players strike, but he did accomplish a few things including being named starting quarterback of the Bears and NFC Offensive RoY. By 1985 the Chicago Bears juggernaut was rolling through the NFL finishing with a 15-1 record on the back of Jim’s improved play and its nightmarish defense. The team would march into the SuperBowl and crush the Patriots 45-10. They’d even make a commercial along the way called the “Superbowl Shuffle”. McMahon would do other comical things along the way such as moon the camera of a helicopter before the Superbowl while he was getting acupuncture treatment, and get into a heated commercial endorsement battle with commissioner Pete Rozelle over Jim’s headbands. Jim’s response to a fine he received for one of them was to put the word “Rozelle” on the next headband he wore. The commissioner was not amused and fined him again.

McMahon wore out his welcome in Chicago. In a way I always thought  he was beloved by the town of Chicago, but not necessarily by the Bears organization. McMahon was traded to the San Diego Chargers, who pegged him as their savior encouraging him to throw and throw often. Jim’s stint in San Diego did not last long, but it did last long enough for awkward cards to be made of him. 1989 and 1990 were the first major years that Action Packed, Score and Fleer made cards. All of them made cards of him in his San Diego dubs not his Chicago uniform. McMahon was reunited with his former defensive coordinator at Chicago, Buddy Ryan in 1990 when he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. By this point many fans regarded him as washed up and after his short stint in San Diego where he ostracized much of his teammates and coaches. McMahon was considered a pariah. Backing up Randall Cunningham was a perfect stint for him as he’d fit in great with the team culture there. His 1990 season was largely off the radar and out of the media spotlight. A season ending injury would sideline the previously invulnerable Cunningham in 1991, and in trotted Jim McMahon who performed admirably in 11 games, posting an 8-3 record and earning a tough as nails reputation for playing through injury. Jim won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors that season. In 1992 Jim played one more season for the Eagles, but was relegated to the bench. He’d then begin his career as a journeyman quarterback. Beginning his NFC Central tour, McMahon in 1993 would start for 12 games for the Minnesota Vikings, posting an 8-4 record and some of the best statistics of his career. In 1994 McMahon was again reunited with head coach Buddy Ryan (his 3rd such stop with him) where he’d back up Steve Beuerlein in Arizona. After that season Jim signed with the Browns in the offseason, but by the end of the preseason was on the roster of the Green Bay Packers in 1995- backing up Brett Favre. He’d end his career in the right way winning another SuperBowl ring with the Packers, beating ironically the New England Patriots for a second time -10 years after SuperBowl XX.

Along with Mike Cofer (LB Detroit), and Greg Lang (RB Atlanta), McMahon would be among the first players to wear a protective visor for his eyes (see card above). He was also trendy with those headbands and was among the first quarterbacks to regularly wear gloves. Although many would credit this as his legacy, I’d also point out his talented ability to market himself to both the media and commercially that enamored and ostracized fans alike. Notable is Jim’s starting record at quarterback- which was 67-30 (he only posted two losing career records on 6 stops) but in 15 seasons, never played a full season. I met him at the CGA Youth Golf Tourney, where his appearance was a last second add. I was happy to put him in my collection, on this Action Packed card.

McMahon has lost none of his color since his retirement. He owns a team in the IFL called the Chicago Slaughter with his coach (former teammate) Steve McMichael. He reprized his role as  from the infamous “Super Bowl Shuffle” video in 1985 in Boost Mobile’s Super Bowl halftime show in 2010. He plays some golf, makes regular USO appearances as a motivational speaker, and is attempting to finish his college degree from BYU as of 2010. Jim was inducted into the College Football HoF in 1999.

Below are his statistics, “The SuperBowl Shuffle”, a commerical endorsement he did for “Gotcha” Paintball guns, and his appearance on “The Late, Late Show with David Letterman”.

G/Gs  120/97   Att 2573   Comp 1492   Yds 18148  Pct 58.0%   Td 100 Int 90  Rat 78.2