Tag Archives: seattle dragons

Tupou, Tani ‘Tongan Thor’

CARD: Topps AAF 2019
ACQUIRED: 2019, Box Breaker

Tani Tupou played college ball for the Washington Huskies from 2010 to 2015 at defensive tackle. He recorded 59 career tackles and was not selected in the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Seahawks liked what they saw out of Tupou during mini camp and invited him back. He made the roster and saw action briefly during the season opener but didn’t record any stats, and be released about a month later. In 2017, he successfully transitioned from the Spring League back to the NFL signing with the Atlanta Falcons. Tupou would be on and off the roster through the season and into early 2018.

After a brief stint with the Arizona Cardinals, Tani signed with the Alliance of American Football. He’d be assigned to the San Diego Fleet for the 2019 season, and recorded 13 tackles, 4 QB hits and a sack in the Fleet’s 3-4 alignment. In April of that year, the AAF folded, so he played for the XFL with the Seattle Dragons in 2020, and then later for the Jousters of the Spring League, during their showcase in San Antonio.

In 2021, Tani made the transition to play for the Colorado XO’s of the World Rugby League and is considered one of the top prospects.

Williams, Trey

Cards: Panini Contenders 2015, Crown Royale 2015, Panini Prestige 2015, Topps AAF 2019, Topps AAF 2019 NOW, Topps XFL 2020, Topps XFL 2020 Certified
Acquired: COMC, 2020. EBay, 2020. TTM C/o Home 2020
Sent: 11/12 Received: 11/21 (9 days)

Trey Williams hails from Texas A&M- a school full of rich history in producing runningbacks. While playing for the Aggies, he ran 204 time for 1343 yards and 18 TDs in 3 years (2012-2014). What was most impressive was his gaudy 6.6 yards per carry. He also caught 38 passes for 330 yards and a TD as well. Although he had a solid combine, Williams ultimately was not selected in the 2015 draft.

He’d sign with his hometown Houston Texans after the draft, then quickly join the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, the Patriots, the Dolphins, and finally the Colts- all before 2015 came to a close. After being cut by the Colts in mid-2016, Trey kept hustling. He signed with the Steelers early in 2017, then briefly joined the Argos in the CFL. In November of 2017, Williams signed with the Dallas Cowboys again where he’d be waived in final cuts during 2018.

I can’t imagine how frustrating it would be to have highlight film that made preseason sportscenter.. such as scoring a TD on his first ever preseason carry from 20+ yards out, or returning a punt for a 64 yard TD with the Steelers- but somehow miss out on making the squad.

Trey opted to head to the new frontier of the Alliance of American Football in 2019. He’d be assigned to the San Antonio Commanders. After missing the first two weeks of the season for personal reasons, Trey played in the next 6 finishing with 40 carries for 205 yards and a TD. He’d also catch 9 passes for 71 yards and a TD as well.

An exciting sparkplug, Williams provided a change of pace to lead back Kenneth Farrow II in the Commanders backfield. An outside the tackles kind of guy, Williams is very good at dodging people in space. This makes him quite effective at screen passes and out in the flat. He quickly became my favorite player just behind Greg Ward Jr.

His finest moment in the AAF came in Week 7 against the formidable Salt Lake City Stallions. The Stallions had a very stubborn defense. After trading field position for most of the game and keeping it close, QB Marquise Williams dropped a screen pass out to Trey. He bobbed and weaved through the SLC defense 36 yards and then dove into the endzone for a TD. It was really incredible to watch!

After the AAF folded, Trey joined the XFL 2020, where he was the first player selected in the open portion of the draft by the Seattle Dragons. He’d be reunited with his coach from the Commanders, Mike Riley, and a bevvy of former teammates including Kenneth Farrow. He ran 34 times for 122 yards and a TD for the Dragons, and catch 8 passes for 44 yards and a TD- before the league folded after week 5.

I first missed out on an in person signing in Houston during 2019. I would’ve driven there just to get his autograph on a bunch of cards and meet him, but I had been to in person events frequently that year, and I did not wish to antagonize my wife. I also had the Topps AAF Now card I was worried about risking, so these just sat, and then I added a few more to the stack including the XFL card.

After a while I just decided to buy a few certified cards of Trey, thinking I’d call it a day, but a few months later my partner in crime, Mark, acted on an address I had long suspected of being Trey’s- and hit pay dirt. It took me a bit to get back to Trey. I miss the Commanders and the AAF a lot, but frankly, we all know it wouldn’t have made it probably through 2020 – because of the pandemic. (See the XFL 2020.) Still after being stuck in the mud the last few months on AAF/XFL send outs, I went back to it taking the risk that Trey would ink these cards. I would have preferred a different color than silver- but I can’t look this gift horse in the mouth.

Zorn, Jim

Card: Upper Deck Legends 1997
Acquired: TTM 2020, C/o Home
Sent: 5/15 Received: 5/21 (6 days)

A transfer from Cerritos, Jim Zorn played at Cal Poly-Ponoma, where he set multiple passing records for the school from 1973 to 1974 as a dual threat quarterback. He was not selected in the 1975 NFL Amateur Draft, but he signed a free agent contract with the Cowboys. Jim did not make the squad, but made enough of an impression that he was brought in by the brand new Seattle Seahawks franchise the following year (1976) to compete in camp.

Jim ended up winning the starting quarterback job outright, and was named rookie of the year in 1976, leading the league with 439 attempts- and interceptions with 27, while rushing for 4 TDs. In 1977 he started 10 games, but posted a gaudy league leading 16.2 yards per completion on 104 passes. By 1978 it was obvious that Zorn to Largent was becoming a household name, as the franchise posted back to back 9-7 records under his leadership. Jim’s penchant for scrambling was in full effect, as he carried the ball 59 times for 290 yards and 6 TDs. He’d have all career single season passing highs in the latter year (1979) throwing for 3661 yards (285/505) and 20 TDs to 18 interceptions. It seemed that Jim’s best games where when he was on the run and improvising. As his rushing stats decreased over the following seasons, so did his passing stats, and win/ loss record. In 1983 he’d be benched in favor of Dave Krieg. At that time, Jim, had been the only quarterback pretty much in the history of the franchise, and owned virtually all the franchise passing records.

Jim signed with the Green Bay Packers in 1985. He posted a 3-2 record for the team, passing for 794 yards and 4 TDs. In 1986, Jim traveled to Winnipeg where he backed up John Hufnagel and Tom Clements, on the Blue Bombers. After his lone season in the CFL, Zorn returned to the NFL in 1987 where he played one final swan song for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, beating the Minnesota Vikings 20-10, before retiring.

Jim has an extensive coaching resume. He started shortly after retiring from football in college, taking stops in as an assistant coach, offensive coordinator, and quarterbacks coach at Boise State (1988-1991), Utah State (1992-1994) and 1995-1996 at Minnesota. He quickly joined the NFL as an assistant with his former team- the Seahawks in 1997. Afterwards it was off to the Lions from 1998-2000, where he began to really develop a reputation as a great quarterback whisperer. He then returned to the Seahawks in 2001. He remained QB coach for the franchise until 2007, where he made the jump to head coach with the Washington Redskins.

Jim Zorn’s Washington Redskins tenure was shortlived. Embarrassing moments were not in short supply unfortunately. First the Redskins broke the hapless Lions 0-16 streak dating back through 2008. Then, during a game in 2009 against the Giants, Jim called a ‘swinging gate’ formation (which is reliant on the element of surprise to make mismatches)- so the Giants wisely called a timeout. The Redskins not only stuck to the play- it resulted in an interception, and caused the team to get booed off the field at half time. He lasted two seasons, as the Redskins failed to compete- posting a 12-20 record.

After coaching for the Redskins, Jim served one season as QB coach of the Ravens in 2010, and then as QB coach for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2011 and 2012. He joined the XFL as head coach of the Seattle Dragons, and as his offensive coordinator Mike Riley took a leave of absence from the team, Jim had to take a more hands on approach. He was able to navigate the team through a quarterback controversy and a win before the league was terminated after the 5th game of the season, due to COVID.

I was surprised that Jim was not a part of the XFL 2020 set released by Topps. Nonetheless I wanted to get his autograph on this Upper Deck 1997 Legends card I had of his. I love this card. The detail is stunning, even down to the cheerleaders and band in the background.

He signed this card in 6 days flat and inscribed it with an interesting passage:

Proverbs 26:1

Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, honor is not fitting for a fool.
NFL G/GPATTCPDYDSPCTTDINTRAT
140/106314916692111553.0%11114167.3
RUSHYDSAVGTDLG
32215044.7 1741
CFL ATTCPDYDSPCTTDINTRAT
251317552.0%01N/a
RUSHYDSAVGTDLG
5112.205
NFL WLT.PCT
12200.375