John Nies was a punter for the Arizona Wildcats in 1989. He had a unique one step approach to punts that allowed him to down 15 of them inside the 20 to lead the nation. He only logged one season as a starter for Arizona, but had 58 punts for 2406 yards and a 41.6 yard average. In 1987 and 1988, he saw action primarily on the kickoff team, booming 88 kicks, of which only 29 were returned by opposing teams. He was selected in the 6th round of the 1990 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills, and punted 5 times for 174 yards in 4 games.
In 1991, Nies would be the 4th special teams player off the board in the World League of American Football positional draft, selected by the Sacramento Surge. He then saw time at both kicker and punter, splitting time with Kendall John Trainor. John finished 11 of 12 on extra points and 4 of 7 on field goals. He punted 23 times for 902 yards including a 53 yard long.
He’d return to the franchise for the 1992 season, and although he’d see an uptick in his kicking stats, Nies was relied upon much more as a punter again as Cary Blanchard quickly established himself as the much more consistent kicker.
Since retiring from football, Nies has been a fitness ambassador with Lululemon, a fashion model, actor, and ESPN host. Currently he teaches East meets West health and wellness philosophies at his group fitness and wellness center, The Power Center, in Red Bank, NJ.
Card: Ultimate World League 1992 Acquired: TTM 2019, C/o Home Sent: 10/21 Received: 11/8 (18 days)
While working on an art degree, Saute Sapolu decided to pick up football at Arizona State. The Samoan was a formidable defensive lineman, recording 90 solo tackles (142 total) during his 4 years at the school, including a Senior campaign where he had 61 tackles and 4 sacks.
Saute saw time briefly with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1989 as a free agent signee. He joined the WLAF for the 1991 season and had 2 sacks and 22 total tackles for the Sacramento Surge.
After a little bit of effort I was able to locate Saute in Hawaii where he signed this card in a little over 15 days. He currently manages an art studio (FALE O LE FEE).
Cards: Ultimate World League 1992, Jogo 1994, Jogo 1995 Acquired: TTM 2019, C/o Home Sent: 8/29 Received: 10/8 (40 days)
A three year starter at the University of Akron at tackle, John Buddenberg clocked in at 6’5″, 279. He’d be selected in the 10th round of the 1989 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns and then later spent time on the rosters of the Minnesota Vikings (1989) and Pittsburgh Steelers (1990). During his time in the NFL, Buddenberg was shifted inside to play guard.
In 1991 John was selected by the Sacramento Surge of the World League of American Football. A stalwart member of the Surge’s offensive line front, he played in all 20 regular season games for the franchise over the lifetime of the World League (1991-1992), earning first-team All-World League in ’92. For both years he’d return to the NFL and was on the practice squad of the Atlanta Falcons.
After the World League reorganized following the 1992 season- the Sacramento Surge jumped to the CFL and became the Goldminers. John joined the franchise and played both guard and tackle for Sacramento in 1994, and (for the franchise when it moved to San Antonio and became) the Texans in 1995.
John currently lives in Ohio. He responded with a nice note and two extra autographed cards (the Jogo ones) thanking me for being a fan of the World League.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.