Cards: Upper Deck Legends 1997, Panini Contenders 2018
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o The George Rogers Foundation*
Sent: 10/20 Received: 11/9 (20 days)
* Donation Enclosed
George Rogers played runningback for the South Carolina Gamecocks from 1977 to 1980. He really helped put South Carolina’s football team on the map by winning the Heisman Trophy in 1980, when George rushed 297 times for 1781 yards and 14 TDs. He finished his college career pretty much owning all the Gamecock career rushing marks with 927 carries for 5091 yards and 31 TDs, along with 43 receptions for 389 yards and 2 TDs.
The moribund New Orleans Saints finally caught a break, and with George selected #1 overall by the team, he’d help transform the team from a perennial cellar dweller and give New Orleans an identity. George came out of the gates running. He’d be named rookie of the year in 1981 after he led the league in carries (378), yards (1674) and average yards per game (104.6). He’d also haul in a career high 16 receptions for 126 yards and score 13 total touchdowns. George played for the Saints over the next 3 seasons before being traded in a blockbuster trade to Washington in exchange for their first round pick.
The second stanza of Rogers’ career began in Washington, as George replaced an aging John Riggins in the backfield for head coach Joe Gibbs. George posted 2 more 1000+ yard seasons in 1985 and 1986, leading the NFL in TDs with 18 in the latter. He’d win a Super Bowl Title in 1987, but shortly after the season announce his retirement at the age of 29- due in part to nagging injuries.
You see, Rogers was a big back and he absorbed a lot of hits over his career. Concussions and lingering knee injuries did their part to cut it short. Looking back at how aggressively the Redskins loved to run the ball, one wonders where George would’ve stood in the NFL record books if he hadn’t retired so soon. Hypothetically, if we just go with George’s Redskins average of 71 yards per game and multiply that out over the course of a 16 game schedule- that’s 1136 yards. 3 more years like that and he’d have been a member of the 10k club and a probable member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Regardless Rogers has enjoyed receiving accolades since retirement, being named to the College Football Hall of Fame, having his number retired by his Alma Mater, and various other tributes from South Carolina and the Saints.
I had been thinking about getting him on a few cards since he sort of flies under the radar now and these two really fit the bill nicely. I think the way George played in his career, he is well regarded as a member of both the Saints and the Redskins and this Upper Deck 1997 really does it up right. Although he got some fingerprint stains on my Contenders card, I really like the photo and framing of this set. Panini Contenders seems to do it right for me design wise, since most sets since 2010 really do not intrigue me as much as they used to.