Tag Archives: press pass 1996

Frazier, Tommie

pp96 frazierCard: PressPass 1996
Acquired: TTM 2014, C/o Home
Sent:  12/5    Received: 1/13   (39 days)

Tommie Frazier is easily the greatest college football player never to play in the NFL. A human highlight film during his time playing for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Frazier had the build, numbers, and athleticism, to take his game to the next level, but a life threatening condition- namely Chron’s Disease, stopped him in his tracks.

Tommie joined the Nebraska Cornhusker program in 1992.  He cemented himself as the starter quickly over that season and did not look back.  Frazier threw 10 TDs and 1 pick that Freshman season, while rushing for 399 and 67TDs on 86 carries. The following year he’d run for a career high 704 yards and 9 TDs on 126 attempts.  An injury plagued 1994, pretty much wrecked his year, before a solid Senior campaign with 17 TDs to 4 INT. Tommie also had 604 yards on the ground and a career high 14 TDs rushing.  For his efforts he was voted a consensus All-American and finished 2nd in Heisman voting.

Tommie finished his career at Nebraska with a 49-4 record. He won numerous honors and MVP awards over his time there. Frazier’s signature moment was the 1995 Fiesta Bowl, when the Huskers crushed Florida 62-24. I remember my flash bulb memory went off as I was standing in the middle of Target, watching the big game. I had the pleasure of watching him run for a 75 yard TD as he broke 5-6 tackles. It was one of the most amazing plays I had ever seen.

Tommie was not drafted to the NFL due to health concerns. He signed with the Montreal Alouettes, and saw action in one game in 1996.  He retired from professional football shortly thereafter.

Frazier remains close to the sport. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012. He also has done some coaching, both as a positional coach (Baylor) and as a head coach at Doane College in Nebraska.  Tommie held numerous records at his departure from Nebraska, and won 2 National Championships. His number has also been retired by the college.

About a year or two ago a lively debate about the greatest player never to play pro ball came up. At the time I brought up Charlie Ward, who was visting in town. Later though I remembered Tommie Frazier’s heroics on the gridiron for Nebraska, and threw my weight behind that statement on Twitter. I was really surprised to see that Frazier liked and agreed with my comment. After a bit of searching, I was able to find an address for him and he signed this old card of mine in a bit over 30 days.

Biakabutuka, Tshimanga “Tim”

poff96 biakabutukaCards: Playoff Contenders 2001, Press Pass 1996
Acquired: TTM 2013, C/o Home
Sent: 10/14    Received: 10/23   (9 days)

Tim’s name was etched into the Michigan Wolverine’s record books after he rushed for 313 yards on 37 carries, destroying the Buckeyes singlehandedly during the 1996 season. He set school marks for rushing in a single season with 1,818 yards. After his incredible Junior season he declared for the NFL draft.  Biakabutuka finished his career at Michigan with 2,810 yards on 472 carries, and 24 touchdowns- despite fighting Michigan star Tyrone Wheatley for playing time.

The Carolina Panthers had been searching for an identity at runningback since their inception the previous year in 1995. With the 8th overall pick that year Carolina took Biakabutuka, two slots after Lawrence Phillips. Tim then quickly became the team’s first extended holdout, but eventually signed a 4 year deal where he was immediately crowned the unquestioned starter at runningbackpoff01 biakabutuka. His rookie season did not turn out as well as he expected, as after 4 games Tim blew out his knee and was out the rest of the season. In the meantime Anthony Johnson ran for over a thousand yards in his stead and took over the starting role in 1996. Tim quickly got buried on the depth chart behind Fred Lane as the injuries limited Tshimanga to just 2 starts in 1997, and 3 starts in 1998. Biakabutuka’s best season came in 1999, as he ran for a career high 718 yards and 6 touchdowns. He’d follow up his breakthrough year with another 627 yards rushing, and a career high 341 yards on 34 receptions. Tim’s career came to a grizzly end in 2001 though, where in a game against the Redskins he ripped every ligament in his foot. The injury was so gruesome that doctors considered amputating his foot. He luckily survived without the amputation, but his career was over.  Despite never starting a full slate of games over his 6 seasons and 35 starts, Tim finished as the Panthers’ career leading rusher, (since surpassed). After retirement he has gone into business as a restaurant entrepreneur, primarily in North Carolina.

G/Gs  50/35      Rush 611   Yds  2530    Avg  4.1    Td 14      Lg  67    |
Rec  77    Yds  789     Avg 10.2   Td 3    Lg 47