Tag Archives: patriots 35th anniversary team

Grogan, Steve

Cards: Fleer 1990, Topps 1990, Score 1990
Acquired: TTM 2011, C/o Home
Sent:  5/18   Received: 5/31   (13 days)

Let me preface this by saying that Steve Grogan is a New England Patriots and Tecmo Super Bowl legend.  Playing for some good and bad teams over the years, and their lone SuperBowl appearance during the 80s, Steve has seen the highs and lows of the franchise. A superb athlete during college, Grogan would be taken in the 5th round of the 1976 NFL draft by the New England Patriots. In 1976 he earned the respect of the Patriots faithful, by guiding  the team to the playoffs for the first time since before the AFL merger and set an NFL record with 11 rushing touchdowns by a quarterback. The team would continue its revival making the playoffs again in 1978 and setting a league record for combined net rushing yardage for a season with 3,156 yards.  Over the next few years Steve would battle a series of injuries and quarterbacks competition with the early part of his career consisting of Jim Plunkett and then later on with Tony Eason who joined the franchise in 1983.

After the 1982 season (in which the Patriots made the playoffs a 3rd time under Grogan’s leadership), the team drafted strong armed young quarterback Tony Eason in the infamous quarterback loaded 1983 draft. (In this draft such legends as Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, and John Elway were selected in the first round.) Eason would come off the board a pick after Kelly and 12 picks before Marino, and by 1985 Eason was the team’s defacto starter at quarterback. Despite this Grogan soldiered on but would come off the bench for the team that season and rally them into the playoffs. A broken leg would stop Grogan late in the year, but he’d return to play in the team’s SuperBowl appearance versus the Chicago Bears.

Thus the third act of the Steve Grogan began. In 1987, the Patriots were looking to shake things up again at quarterback, so they traded the Chicago Bears for the rights to Boston College, Heisman Trophy Winner Doug Flutie. Once again it appeared that Steve’s time was over in New England, but he continued to come off the bench in relief for whatever quarterback was in front of him, even guiding the team to a 4-2 record in 1987. Unfortunately the team continued to collapse around him to 3-13 by 1989 and in his final season to 1-15 in 1990 where he guided the team to its lone victory of the season. Steve retired after 16 brutal seasons in the NFL where he suffered a malaise of injuries (11 major ones) but always toughed it out.

For his short performance, he was rewarded by the Tecmo gods as one of the worst quarterbacks in Tecmo Super Bowl. Now I say that with a heavy heart as most fans who play the game have a certain affection for old #14 and his perfect lob throw.  Although Grogan’s scrambling ability is not accurately portrayed in his numbers, -even in those 8-bit pixels, you know he was the player who wanted to win a game the most for you.

Since retirement, Steve has been named to the Patriots 35th anniversary team, and their team of the 70’s and 80’s.  Grogan has also been enshrined in the Patriots Hall of Fame. At the time of his retirement he was the franchise’s leading passer (since surpassed by Drew Bledsoe and Tom Brady). He also holds the mark for the most yards rushing by a Patriots quarterback and most touchdowns by a Patriots quarterback.

G/Gs  149/135    Att  3593     Comp 1879     Yds 26886      Pct 52.3%       Td 182    Int  208   Rat 69.6   Lg 76 |
Rush 445    Yds 2176      Avg  4.9    Td 35    Lg 41

Tippett, Andre

Cards: ProSet 1991, SkyBox 1992
Acquired: TTM 1993, Patriots Blitz

The New England Patriots when they were the trapped in the doldrums of the AFC East were always very good with their fans about signing cards. Andre Tippett played both defensive end and linebacker over his college and pro career. Complicated by the fact that glitz and glamor linebacker Lawrence Taylor was drafted a season before him and a quiet rookie season in 1982, Tippett’s versatile abilities were often overshadowed and overlooked. Once acclimated to the pro game and inserted into a proper ‘tweener’ role, Tippett quickly established himself as a sackmaster, making the ProBowl in 5 seasons, named All-Pro twice, and was named NFL Defensive player of the year in 1985. Humbly and quietly, Andre continued to compile an impressive resume, making 18.5 sacks in 1984, and 16.5 in 1985- the highest back to back season sack numbers in NFL history. While his lone SuperBowl appearance in 1985 ended in defeat to the vaunted Chicago Bears, Tippett continued to crush opposing quarterbacks from his LOLB position until injuries took their toll. A catastrophic shoulder injury took his complete 1989 season away and a good portion of 1990, where he received consideration for comeback player of the year honors (losing to Barry Word). Tippett would finish his stellar 12 year career in 1993, as the Patriots all-time leading sacker with 100 sacks and 17 fumbles.

Since his playing career has ended Andre has moved into the front offices of the Patriots organization working as part of their community affairs and outreach program. He was enshrined by his college – Iowa in 2007, and in 2008 after a very long wait- Andre Tippett was inducted into the Pro Football HoF. Andre is also a member of the NFL’s All 1980’s team, the Patriots 35th anniversary team and the Patriots Hall of Fame in 1999. He enjoys coaching Pop Warner football in his spare time, playing golf, is a renowned 4th degree black belt, and is a Baptist convert to Judaism. In 2011 he was honored with the announcement of New England’s 2nd round pick during the NFL draft.

G/Gs  151/139      Tac  N/a        Sac 100          Fum 17      Int  1   Yds 42    Avg 42.0    Td 0    lg 42

Clayborn, Raymond

Cards: Score 1989 Supplemental, Action Packed Rookies 1990
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o Home.
Sent: 6/11   Recieved: 6/17   (6 days)

Converted from runningback, Clayborn was a superb and speedy defensive back and track athlete from the University of Texas that was selected in the first round of the 1977 draft by the New England Patriots. A rookie that would be used primarily as an electrifying kick returner, Raymond returned 28 kicks for a jaw-dropping 869 yards and 3- count ’em, 3 touchdowns- starting only 2 games. In 1978 he’d take over full time as the left cornerback  picking off 4 passes, and hold down the spot for 4 seasons intercepting 17 passes over that period. In 1982 Clayborn would move to the right position where he’d play the remainder of his career intercepting 19 passes. Raymond also recovered a fumble in Superbowl XX and was instrumental in the Patriots’ run up to the game. Injuries slowly crept up on Raymond with age, and he left via Plan B from the Patriots to the Cleveland Browns in 1990, where he retired in 1991 after 208 games and 36 picks. At the time of his retirement his 36 interceptions were a Patriots career record, and he’d be named consensus AP twice in his career along with 3 ProBowl nominations.

Since retiring, Clayborn was named to the Patriots 35th Anniversary team and the Patriots All-Decade team of the 1970’s and 1980’s. At the time of this post he lives in Dallas and is the Houston Texans’ uniform representative. (The uniform representative ensures that all players are wearing their team uniforms properly and recommends fines if he finds players in violation of the NFL standards.) I sent out these two cards to him at his home and he responded in a respectable amount of time. I always like following up with former Longhorns and I loved the Action Packed Rookies set, so getting autographs back from Raymond was a ‘win-win’ for me- especially in under a week. I am surprised though when players autograph the white box on the back that they originally intended for the player’s signature- and I prefer that they actually to sign the embossed picture side of the card.

Games 208     Tac N/a    Sac N/a    Fum 8
Int 36    Yds 555    Avg 15.4      Td   1     Lg 85