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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

Gelbaugh, Stan (2)

ult92 gelbaugh PromoCard: Ultimate WLAF 1992 Promo
Acquired: TTM 2014, C/o Home
Sent: 5/23    Received: 6/14    (22 days)
See Also: Stan Gelbaugh ‘Blueprint’

So I had this one last card of Stan Gelbaugh,- part of a promo pack given to fans upon entry during a 1992 WLAF game. I think I got them all, but I only had a few of them or a rare single here and there. There are two differences when you look at the promo cards: First, the front has a different color stripe than the default team. Second, with some rarety, the photo of the player can be different. Finally the back touts the Ultimate brand and their million dollar promotion they were doing that year if you spelled out the word WORLD. Some of the promotions were in different languages as well. I am not sure how many made it into circulation- little less what players are officially covered in this mini set. The demand is low so they probably aren’t worth much, but for a collector like me, it holds value. This is an otherwise great card of Stan, and I actually prefer the promo with the alternate stripe in yellow and black over the base card set.

Smith, Irvin ‘Irv’

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Cards: Ultimate WLAF 1992, Wild Card WLAF 1992, JOGO 1994, JOGO 1995, JOGO 1997, JOGO 1999, JOGO 2000, JOGO 2001.
Acquired:  TTM 2014, C/o Home
Sent:    2/9       Received: 3/13   (31 days)

Irvin Smith played collegiality for Maryland from 1985 to 1988. Unable to make it on the roster of the Jets, Irvin joined the London Monarchs of the WLAF in 1991. There he made 2 picks for 8 yards as the team finished with a 9-1 record as a talented defense shut down the Dragons in jogo94 ismithWorld Bowl jogo95 ismithI 21-7.

After a short stint on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the CFL, Smith returned to the Monarchs in 1992.  Although the team did not meet the same success from the previous season, Irv stepped up and recorded another 2 interceptions that season.
The league restructured after the season, so Irvin took his talents back to the CFL settling on the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  In 1993 he returned to the NFL and was on the roster of both the Redskins and Vikings.

jogo97 ismithjogo99 ismithThe CFL had been eyeing the US market for a long time, so in 1994 they decided to expand
southward, selecting locations such as Las Vegas, Sacramento, Baltimore, and Shreveport. Irv signed with the Baltimore Colts (later CFLers/Stallions). He made an immediate impact in Don Matthews defense, pulling down 6 interceptions for 97 yards where the Stallions made their first appearance in the Grey Cup. Although the team lost to the BC Lions, Irvin and the Stallions won the Grey Cup the following season and Smith had established quite a reputation as a dangerous defender to pass against. As the CFL contracted due to jogo01 ismithjogo00 ismithfinancial issues and the NFL gave Baltimore the Ravens, the Stallions moved up to Montreal and became the Alouettes in 1996.

Irvin at first didn’t feel like making the move, but went ahead and joined the franchise in Montreal. It’d be a new chapter in Smith’s career, and a very productive one at that with 6 interceptions for 105 yards and a TD in ’96. He’d follow it up with two back to back 3 interception season in 1997 and 1998.  Smith had his finest season in 1999, hawking 7 interceptions for 51 yards and a touchdown. Irvin played for 2 additional years in Montreal, retiring after the 2001 season.

Smith returned to the Baltimore area where he lives today and is a firefighter. I had been trying to track Smith down for sometime finally locating his address through the White pages. After sending to the address I found in Maryland, I got an RTS with a forwarding address in Florida. I turned it around and sent it to the other address the next day. About a month later I got this stuffed envelope full of cards and a nice letter from Irvin. I had only sent Smith his 2 WLAF cards, but he stuffed it with all his JOGO cards and a nice letter.

 

WLAF    Tac N/a   Sac N/a   Fum N/a
Int 4     Yds 23     Avg 5.8     TD 0    Lg 15

CFL   Tac 329     Sac 1.0      Fum 10
Int 31    Yds 352     Avg 11.4      Td 2      Lg 54