Tag Archives: New England Patriots

McMichael, Steve “Mongo”

Cards: Action Packed 1990, Skybox 1992, Gameday 1991.
Acquired: In Person, CGA Youth Golf Tournament 1993.
See Also: Steve McMichael (2)

Steve McMichael before graduating from the University of Texas set the college’s career records for most tackles (369) and sacks (30)  and was named Hula Bowl MVP in 1979. McMichael was originally drafted by the New England Patriots in 1980 and had a quiet rookie season playing for them that year only getting 5 tackles. By 1981 he was already on the street but quickly picked up by the Chicago Bears, where he’d become a mainstay at defensive tackle (and on occasion NT) in the NFC Central for the next 13 seasons (13 for Chicago and 1 for Green Bay). He’d provide solid work in the trenches as a technically sound run stopper and pass rusher. A two time ProBowl selection in 1987 and 1988, Steve would also be a two time AllPro in 1985 and 1987. He’d also notch over 10 sacks 3 times in his career along the way and played in 191 games for the Chicago Bears. (His 191 games started is a club record for consecutive starts). He’d also finish his career with 3 career safeties and was a key contributor to the Bears solid efforts to win SuperBowl XX, ironically against his ex team the Patriots. McMichael would play one more season across the lake in Green Bay before retiring in 1994.

Steve after football would pursue a career in Pro Wrestling, adopting the name “Mongo” and coming in under the WCW banner. His wife would also get into the act and was a part of wrestling’s early 1990’s attempt to sell sex. Mongo would have a much publicized wrestling career and even took on other former pro football players such as Kevin Greene and Reggie White. His life would begin to match that of the soap opera that was wrestling when his wife (Debra) left him for another wrestler in 1999. He’d leave the sport until 2008 where he refereed a match for TNA wrestling. Since those years Mongo, has done pre-game commentary for Bears games and is coach for the Chicago Slaughter of the Continental Football League. He has also since remarried and was inducted into the College Football HoF in 2010.

I got Steve’s autograph when he was riding around with Earnest Byner during the CGA Youth Golf Tournament in 1993. My strange connection to Mongo is that while I was working at a used video game store, his ex-wife’s best friend was my boss. I’d overhear from time to time my boss talking about taking morning jogs with Debra, and how her new husband sometimes was abusive towards her. It’s sad how that ended up but nonetheless things have worked out for McMichael, the hope is things have worked out for Debra too.

Games  213   Tac  838        Sac 95         FF 13
Int 2         Yds 5            Td 0

Smerlas, Fred

Cards: Score Supplemental 1990, Action Packed Rookies 1990
Acquired: TTM 1991, 1992 c/o The New England Patrioits

Fred Smerlas’ name alone feels like a lineman’s name. It so happens that Smerlas was a fire plug of a nose tackle, who is remembered for his playing time with the Bills, and then later for the 49ers and Patriots before he retired in 1992 after a 14 year career. Smerlas was a East Coast kind of guy, of Greek descent, playing for Boston College and then his time with the Bills and Patriots.  Smerlas career is interesting as when he was drafted in the second round by the Bills in 1979, the team had been a perennial doormat of the AFC East for years. His rise to prominence along the Bills defensive front helped solidify the Bills line and assisted in their climb to prominence.   During this period he’d be an integral part of Buffalo’s Bermuda Triangle Defense.

Fred notched 5 ProBowl appearances over his career (1980,1981, 1982, 1983,1988) and was a first team All Pro in 1982.  At the time of his retirement he was the all time leader in games played by an NT, and was third on the Bills list with a string of 155 consecutive games played, which is amazing considering he played in the trenches.

After football Smerlas has remained as popular as ever with his recognizable mustache and colorful persona. He has dabbled in a variety of business interests and considered even a run into the political arena along with his budding radio career.  A motorcyclist, Smerlas also gives a fair amount of his time and money away to charities. Smerlas was inducted into into the Bills 50th anniversary team in 2009.

Games 200       Sacks  29.5              Tac 383               FF  10
Int  2               Yds  28           Avg  14.0            TD 0

Fryar, Irving

Cards: Action Packed 1992, Proset 1990
Acquired: TTM 1991, 1992  C/o The New England Patriots


Irving Fryar was the first modern day wide receiver selected with the top pick of the NFL draft in 1984. (Keshawn Johnson would be the second drafted by the Jets in 2000.)  After an anonymous rookie season in 1984, Fryar led the Patriots to Super Bowl XX in 1985. -Unfortunately it would be against the vaunted Chicago Bears. (Fryar however scored the Patriots only touchdown of the game.) He’d notch a ProBowl nomination that year as the Patriots’ wr/kr, but the team slid back under the radar -and so did his statistics, with the team becoming a quarterback carousel. Being a #1 pick, it was hard for Irving to live up to the high expectations set before him in the early years, but the 1990s were kinder to him, as Fryar finally came into his own.

He’d leave the Patriots after the 1992 season and would play with the Dolphins (1993,1994,1995), Eagles (1996,1997,1998) and finally the Redskins (1999,2000).  Irving never really got the respect deserved to him as he’d notch ProBowl nominations in 1993, 1996 and 1997 going over 1000 yards 5 times after 1991. Fryar also earned his fair share of NFL records, and was a constant touchdown threat during his playing days. He holds an odd record of catching touchdowns from 19 different quarterbacks over his career, and was named to the Patriots 50th anniversary team.

After retiring from pro football in 2000, he became a man of God and a reverend for the New Jerusalem House of God. His son Londen, also played briefly for the New York Giants.

g 255     rec   851       yds 12785        avg  15.0          td 84        lg 80