Tag Archives: panini ut 2015

Griffin, Michael (2)


Card: Playoff Contenders 2007, Score 2008, Panini UT 2015
Acquired: 2016, EBay.  IP 2018, GiGi’s Cupcakes Soft Grand Opening
See Also: Michael Griffin

After Michael’s 9th season in the NFL, in which he recorded 101 tackles, an interception, and a sack, he was released in the off season by the Tennessee Titans.  With gas still left in the tank, Michael signed with the Minnesota Vikings for 2016. He’d be injured during the preseason and released. Rehabbing from his injury Griffin signed with the Carolina Panthers. He played in 10 games contributing 30 tackles.  In 2017, Michael joined Longhorn Legends TJ Ford and Cory Redding in finishing his bachelor’s degree with Griffin’s being in youth and community services.

I’ve always liked the Playoff Contenders series, strictly because it follows a slow evolution rule, much like the Corvette. Every year, small tweaks in the design and look of the card. The 2007 entry was a nice set, but I really disliked the tiny Titans pinstripe type. It says baseball, not football with that typeface. It’s also just dangling out there distracting from the image of the player. It does not pass the thumb test. Basically if you put your thumb to the image over the Titans pinstripe the image looks better without the pinstripe. Still it was a pretty solid card and the certified autograph works well on this canvas.

Fellow Longhorn and Titan alum, Brian Orapko and Griff had been teasing the grand opening of their cupcake restaurant GiGi’s in Bee Cave.  After I heard they had a soft opening for their social media fans the previous day, I made the trip from East of Austin all the way to Bee Cave through the freezing rain. It paid off as both Brian and Orapko were there as well as Jamaal Charles (special random guest appearance)! Michael was kind enough to pen the Panini 2015 UT card as well as his Score 2008 card. The cupcakes were also really good too!

Williams, Aaron (3)

Cards: Sage 2011, Upper Deck 2011, Score 2011, Playoff Contenders 2011, Playoff Threads 2011, Panini UT 2015, PressPass 2011,
Acquired: IP, Aaron Williams Lone Star Showcase 2015, UT Coop Celebration 2016.
See Also: Aaron Williams, Aaron Williams (2)

Making a habit of grabbing a few Aaron Williams autographs
when I see he’s around.  While there seems to be an almost endless supply of cards, I’m still finding quite a few nice ones here and there especially this surprising Sage 2012 entry.  The
Playoff Contenders was a late find and a really nice card.  I appreciate the reflective areas on the card.  Even though Upper Deck seems to be taking a beating recently, I do appreciate the 1991
throwback entry they did of Williams. The Press Pass card left much to be desired however.    When I showed Aaron his Panini 2015 UT card at the Coop, he stopped to show Fozzy Whittaker how it looked. I knew he wanted one but unfortunately I did not have an extra.  Shawn luckily had one to give him.

I really liked the Lone Star Showcase. Williams crew ran a tight ship and the kids really appreciated the camp, event, and how it was run. Aaron started the LSC because he felt that if he just had the guidance and help earlier, he could’ve been a better player and teammate. In a sense this is his way of giving back. After the event, the best kids were given trophies.  It was a really hot event, but it was worth it. Outside of the autographs, the highlight of the event was the DB WR drills and watching these kids go up one on one on each other. I really wish something like this had existed when I was a kid as there was no shortage of NFL talent on the field willing to help, teach, and encourage these youngsters. Aaron continues to be highly active in Central Texas hosting events, and making charitable radio appearances.

 Aaron really blossomed into the heart and soul of the Buffalo defense. His knowledge and understanding of Rex Ryan’s defense was unparalleled. The strong safety was leaned heavily upon in the system, and as neck and concussion issues have impacted his playing time- it has had an adverse effect on the Bills defense as well. He’s been limited to 10 games over the last two seasons, posting 22 tackles, an interception, 8 passes defensed, and a fumble recovery for a TD. In March of 2017, Aaron Williams was released by the Buffalo Bills. He’s weighing his options as he hopes to continue his career elsewhere.

Whittaker, Fozzy (3)

sp12 fwhittakerpaut15_fwhittakerCards: SP 2012 #399/750, Upper Deck Star Rookies 2012, TNT UT, Photo Memorabilia, Upper Deck Star Pics 2012, SP 2012 Authentics, Panini UT 2015
Acquired: IP 2016, Mighty Fine Burgers Battle of the Beast, Coop UT Celebration.
See Also: Fozzy Whittaker, Fozzy Whittaker (2)

Fozzy’s NFL career has required a lot of grit and a good agent. He’s clawed his way into the lineup tntcol fwhittakerwith Carolina where he serves primarily as a 3rd down scat back for the Panthers offense, after brief stops in Arizona, Cleveland, and San Diego. During the last 2 seasons, Fozzy has played in 25 games, starting 2.  He’s rushed 57 times for 253 yards and 2 TDs, while catching 17 passes for 124 yards and a TD. He’s also spent a bit of time on special teams returning 20 kicks for 471 yards.
During his relatively brief NFL career, Fozzy has demonstrated a knack for being a dangerous receiver out of the backfield. He has had a few highlights, such as transforming a 26 yard screen pass to a diving TD against the Saints, and a swing pass 39 yards across the middle for a TD against the Cardinals in the Wild card game of the 2014  playoffs.

A great fan favorite, Fozzy signs at
all events, and volunteers regularly for team events to meet fans. At the Mighty Fine Burgers
Battle of the Beast event, Whittaker was in rare form. As the maitre ‘d of the event he was in charge of motivating local high school players to eat as much as they could. Surrounded by a large and raucous crowd Fozzy was in his element, with a beaming smile, having a great time. Whittaker has no shortage amazingly of great photos, whether it is him jumping over a would be tackler, galloping across the grass, or getting a kiss from a baluga whale, I did honestly
ask for a lot.
I’m not really a photo memorabilia kind of guy, but with such a plethora of great shots of Fozzy, I compromised and decided to get some things signed on high quality 4×6 photo stock- which could eventually become a thing for me as I run out of stuff for guys who appear regularly. Still Fozzy kindly and patiently signed everything, while discussing how his career has progressed along.  We talked also briefly about how some of those photos need to make their way onto Carolina Panthers cards of him, and how I thought his efforts in their Super Bowl loss provided the team a much needed spark.

Fozzy was also a guest star on the Comedy Central show Key and Peele which routinely made fun of NFL players and their outrageous names. Instead of lampooning Whittaker, they just had him appear on the skit and say his name. When I asked him about this event, he told me that it wasn’t like they flew him out to LA for the taping- they just shot the video in front of a green screen. After getting one of the Comedy Central photos signed, I gave him the extra one on me, which he really liked and showed his wife.

The fun times didn’t end there as I had two more cards to get Fozzy on at the Coop event in May. He signed his Panini UT card and this really nice SP Authentics canvas card.

Whittaker continues to blossom as a pro. In 2016 he posted career highs across the board with 57 carries for 265 yards and 25 receptions for 226 yards. He also chipped in 12 kick returns for 275 yards- a 22.9 yard average.