Tag Archives: mike johnson

Johnson, Mike (LB)

Cards: Score 1990, Fleer Ultra 1991, Action Packed 1990, ProSet 1990, Score 1991
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Home
Sent: 10/20   Received: 11/9     (20 days) 

Despite playing alongside future defensive hall of famer Bruce Smith at Virginia Tech, linebacker Mike Johnson ended up in the upstart USFL playing for the Philadelphia Stars (1984) and the Baltimore Stars (1985). NFL teams took notice, and after finishing a stellar career in the USFL, Mike was selected in the USFL player dispersal draft with the 19th pick. Mike joined a host of other USFL castaways (Mack, Minnefield, and McNeil) on the Browns, helping solidify the nucleus of a powerful playoff opponent. 

Johnson was a rare talent. A versatile, durable inside linebacker, who could cover runningbacks and tight ends in the flat in Cleveland’s defensive alignment. Mike earned two Pro Bowl appearances in 1989 and 1990 both as a middle linebacker. During the 1990 season he’d record a 64 yard interception return against the Chargers (Billy Joe Tolliver).  In 7 of his 10 years in the NFL, Mike recorded over 100 tackles, and 6 of those, he’d manage over 130. Johnson’s best season came in 1993 when he pulled down 181 ball carriers. 

In 1994 Mike was allowed to depart for Detroit where he finished his career in 1995. Rejuvenated, he’d start 32 of 32 games and have 250 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, and 3 interceptions for 71 yards and a TD.

Mike Johnson is the Browns 1980s TTM version of Ernest Givins! 


A sure friend to the TTM community, Mike’s responses are of legend. He takes the time to respond to letters that ask questions, signs everything and includes extras. I only dropped 4 cards in, but he included an extra two for my trouble, giving me an extra signed ProSet 1990 and including the Fleer Ultra 1991 card. 

I was surprised that I couldn’t find Mike’s Pro Bowl 1990 card, but whatever- I was still happy to get this bevvy of cards signed. Both his Score cards and his ProSet base cards are very nice action images. His Fleer Ultra 1991 leaves a lot to be desired. I really hated this set from a design standpoint. It was just lazy, and his silhouette is partially obscured by a Bills player’s butt. Action Packed took what they could get sometimes, even if the action shot was from behind (as is the case with Johnny Holland and Mark Carrier’s (S) cards- respectively). I wasn’t really a fan of it, but since I had gotten this card in every other pack of Action Packed that I first bought for a while there, it made sense to send one up to see if I could get it autographed.  


Johnson, Mike (2)

Cards: Ultimate WLAF 1992, WildCard WLAF 1992
Acquired: In Person 2011, UCLA Fall Scrimmage
Failure: TTM 1994, 2010, C/o The BC Lions, C/o The San Fransisco 49ers
See Also: Mike Johnson

Finally, it’s over. I’ve been after Mike Johnson for years now. I’ve sent off for him twice: First in 1994 when he was on the roster of the BC Lions in the CFL and second in 2010 when he was offensive coordinator of the San Fransisco 49ers.  Last year after Mike Singeltary‘s staff was blown up, Mike traveled down the coast and was hired by the UCLA staff to run the offense, putting him literally 10 miles from me. I emailed him a few months ago trying to see if I could get his autograph that way. No response.  I then thought about showing up at UCLA and wandering around until I found him, but in the end learned of UCLAs Fall Scrimmage at Drake Stadium and planned around that instead.

The scrimmage was a lot of fun. I drug my girlfriend around with me to the event and was able to corner him, after Jerry Rice (whose son Jerry Rice Jr, plays for the Bruins) refused to sign cards for anybody. I was perfectly happy with getting his Mike’s autograph as he was really who I wanted the most. He signed the Wild Card and then had to do an interview. Afterwards he signed the additional Ultimate WLAF cards and took a photo with me.

He was surprised that I was a big fan of the Riders and told me that he remembered the infamous ‘hail storm’ game down in San Marcos. I gave him the extras I had, but I think I scared him because I let my geek hang out way too much.  Still that knocks off an elusive WLAF player that I had been after for some time.


Johnson, Mike

Card: ProSet WLAF 1991
Acquired: In Person 1992, San Antonio Riders v Ohio Glory
Failure: TTM 1993, C/o BC Lions, TTM 2010, C/o The San Fransisco 49ers
See Also: Mike Johnson (2)

Mike Johnson was a quarterback of the Akron Zips during the late 80s amassing 1819 passing yards, 9 touchdowns and 429 yards rushing as a senior, helping the squad put together their first winning record.

Signed by the Phoenix Cardinals in 1990 as a free agent, Mike Johnson was cut coming out of camp that season. A second round choice in the WLAF positional draft by the Montreal Machine in 1991, Johnson found himself on the Team Dallas Taxi Squad at the start of the season, but with injuries and ineffectiveness plaguing the San Antonio Riders at quarterback, the Riders snapped him up during the second week. Mike started 6 games his rookie season, winning 4 of them. A dangerous scrambler (in the mold of Randall Cunningham) who was at his best outside the pocket, Johnson averaged 6.6 yards a carry while throwing for 1137 yards and 6 touchdowns for the team in 91.  He’d return in 1992 to the Riders and have an even better season, throwing for 1760 yards (5th in the league)  and 8 touchdowns leading the team to a 7-3 record.

A perfect fit for the Riders ball control offense, Mike never really got his due- always battling to keep his job competing with Jason Garrett in 1991, and Craig Cupp and Brad Goebel (in 1992).  Johnson in the end finished as the Riders career leading passer in nearly every category.

I got his autograph and took a photo or two with Mike during his playing days with the Riders back in 1992, but I had hoped to get his Ultimate and Wild Card eventually signed.  Mike signed with the British Columbia Lions of the CFL and played there in 1992 and 1993. I wrote him for his autograph there, but never got it. In 1994, Johnson signed with the Shreveport Pirates, throwing for 1259 yards and 4 touchdowns.  He’d play for the team through 1995 when the team was folded after the season.

Johnson began his coaching career in 1997 at Oregon State under his former head coach of the San Antonio Riders, Mike Riley.  He’d remain there through 1999 and then move to the Chargers with Riley.  Staying there through 2001, Mike has had stops at Atlanta, Baltimore, and San Fransisco in a variety of offensive capacities, before returning to the college level in 2011 where he was signed to be offensive coordinator of the UCLA Bruins.

G/Gs  18/16    Att  434   Comp 224   Yds  2897     Pct  51.6
Td  14    Int  16   Rat  68.3  |
Rush 58     Yds  343    Avg 5.9    Td   1