Tag Archives: players who should be in the HoF

Taylor, Lionel

Card: Upper Deck Legends 1997
Acquired: TTM 2014, C/o Home
Sent: 6/4/14  Received: 8/13/16  (801 days)

Lionel Taylor had an amazing career that began in 1959 playing for the Chicago Bears.  He didn’t record a reception for the team during his rookie year and opted to join the upstart American Football League during its inaugural season in 1960 for the Denver Broncos. Taylor went on to endear himself as one of the most dominant receivers in the history of the league, leading the AFL in receptions 5 of the next 6 years.  In 1961 he set a modern era record with 100 receptions (which was broken in 1964 by Charlie Hennigan at 101). He played for the Broncos through 1966- joining the Oilers for the 1967 and 1968 seasons.  Lionel retired from the gridiron in 1969.

Taylor established himself quickly as an up and coming assistant coach with the Steelers as a receivers coach in 1970.  He’d remain there through 1976, cultivating a reputation as a Super Bowl winning positional coach.  He joined the Rams from 1977-1979, where he was offensive coordinator in 1980 and 1981.  Lionel then applied his trade at the college level for Oregon State, and then as head coach at Texas Southern through 1988.  Returning to the NFL in 1989, Taylor worked with the Cleveland Browns tight ends and as a pass coordinator.

Taylor joined the World League of American Football in 1995 as offensive coordinator to the London Monarchs. As the league rebranded to the NFLE, he’d take over as head coach of the franchise in 1996 and shepherd the franchise through to become the England Monarchs. It was a tough run for Taylor as head coach at the end, as his team was a vagabond franchise playing all over England looking for a new home. Since there was no established fan base, this gave the Monarchs no home field advantage.  The Monarchs finished with a 3-7 record during their swan song season.

Taylor has fully retired from the sport and lives in New Mexico.  At a clip over 800 days, I had fully given up on getting a response from Lionel, so this one came as quite a surprise to get back. It’s a shame, as with many American Football League players, Lionel has gotten little to no traction in Hall of Fame circles, despite his impressive numbers.

AFL
G/GS 121/NA      REC 567     YDS  7195    AVG 12.7   TD 45    LG  80T

NFLE
W  11     L 17       PCT .393

Robinson, Eugene “Orca”

pset89 erobinsonCards: ProSet 1989, ProSet 1990
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Home
Sent:  1/29    Received:  2/13
(15 days)

Eugene Robinson goes down as one of the finest free agent finds in Seattle Seahawk history. Going undrafted out of Colgate in 1985, Robinson arrived in Seattle as a cornerback where he just hung on for dear life learning the ropes from guys like Dave Brown, Kenny Easley, and Paul Moyer.  He gained a variety of nicknames from Grange, to Orca- a name given to him because his voice rose in octaves when he’d call plays in the secondary.  By the time Robinson left the Seahawks in 1996, it was thought he had lost a step, so Seattle traded him to the Packers in exchange for Matt LaBounty. He finished his career in Seattle as the franchise’s all time leader in tackles, and second in interceptions.

pset90 erobinsonHe provided the Packers with a veteran presence in their secondary and led the team with 8 picks en route to a 35-21 thumping of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. The team returned to the big game the following year, but the Packers lost to the Broncos, thanks in part to John Elway‘s Herculean effort.

Eugene joined the Atlanta Falcons for the 1998 season. To be frank, I thought it was a cash grab. I mean he went to the Falcons- a team that had posted a losing record in 8 of the last 10 seasons. There was no way this team was… And then they did. Eugene after years of futility with the Seahawks went to a Super Bowl for a 3rd straight year, and earned his 4th Pro Bowl nomination AND second career AP nomination.  Atlanta lost 34-19, and the Falcons returned to anonymity the following year (1999)- Eugene’s last with the team.  Finally Eugene suited up for one final year with the Panthers in 2000, retiring after the season.

Eugene was a highly decorated player with gaudy statistics from his time in the NFL.  He was also honored as the Bart Starr Man of the Year in 1998 for his charitable activities. He is vastly underrated in fan circles and should be honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. If not for an embarrassing event on the eve of his Super Bowl appearance with the Falcons, Eugene would probably warrant more consideration by the selection committee.

Eugene has stayed busy since then as a football coach, morning show personality, and Panthers color commentator. He signed these two absolutely picture perfect ProSet cards for me in no time flat.

G/GS   250/232       TAC  1250           SAC 7.5         FUM 15
INT  57        YDS 762         AVG  13.3        TD 1            LG 49

Dunn, Warrick

ud09 wdunn

Card: Upper Deck 2009
Acquired: TTM 2015, C/o Home*
Sent:  1/3/15      Received: 12/7/15   (339 days)
Signing Fee: $10.00

Florida State Seminole Warrick Dunn had an impressive career, rushing for 1,000+ yards in 3 seasons for the school. He also set school records for yards rushing with 3,959, and in a single year with 1,242. Dunn was the first runningback taken off the board in 1997, going with the 12th pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  A very deep draft, that was punctuated by notable free agents, other big name backs that came off the board in the first round were Tiki Barber and Corey Dillon.  (This is also notable as it was the first draft that I didn’t watch in 10 years as the Oilers had departed for Tennessee.)

Dunn was a stud in the backfield for the notoriously anemic Buccaneer ground game as outside of a few blips on the radar in the mid-90s from Errict Rhett, the team had failed to field a 1,000 yard rusher or a consistent ground game. At 5-9 there was some concern that Dunn could sustain the number of hits needed for a feature back in the NFL for a 16 game slate.   He combined with fullback Mike Alstott to become a potent 1-2 back combo. Starting 10 games in 1997, Warrick finished with 974 yards rushing, 4 touchdowns, and 462 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns. He’d be named to the Pro Bowl and the Offensive Rookie of the Year at the conclusion of the season. While Warrick churned up the yards from scrimmage over the next two years for the Bucs, he wouldn’t be named back to the Pro Bowl until 2000. In that year he had 1,555 yards from scrimmage and 9 total touchdowns.  After a down season in 2001, Dunn was viewed as a ‘situational player’ by Bucs brass, and was allowed to sign with the Atlanta Falcons.

Opening the 3rd chapter of his football life, Warrick played for the Falcons for 6 seasons. Atlanta promised Dunn at least 20 carries a game, and they delivered on that promise.  Warrick ended up starting 83 games, and  rushing for 5,981 yards and 30 TDs. In addition he caught 204 targets for 1,635 yards, and set a career marks with a 90 yard TD run, and an 86 yard TD reception.  He remained with the franchise through 2008 and was released at his request after the franchise signed free agent Michael Turner. Dunn returned to the Buccaneers that week, and started 6 games that season before calling it a career. Another member of the vaunted 10,000 yard club, his 15,306 yards at the time of his retirement were the most for a player not inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Warrick is extremely active in charitable activities. He has been heavily accoladed for his work from the league earning the Walter Peyton Award (2004), the Home Depot Good Neighbor Award (2006), the Whizzer White Award (2007), and the Bart Starr Award (2008). I donated $10.00 to his foundation for his autograph on this card.

Warrick was who I thought would be my first success of 2015. Instead he returns to me as the 46th. Not that I am complaining. Such is the nature of the hobby. One of my friends later recalled receiving an autograph from Dunn for free, and lamented that he could’ve at least signed his autograph better on mine.  While the check was cashed a clear 2 months before the cards were back in my hands, I nonetheless was happy to get this back.

G/GS  181/154    RUSH 2669    YDS 10,967    AVG 4.1    TD 49   LG 90
REC  510     YDS 4,339      AVG 8.5     TD 15     LG 86