Tag Archives: tampa bay bandits

Anderson, Gary (RB)

Cards: Skybox 1992, Action Packed Rookies 1990
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent: 8/29   Received: 9/14  (16  days)
Failure: 2014, C/o Home

Arkansas runningback Gary Anderson has had quite a long career in many leagues. He played from 1979 to 1982 for the Razorbacks, compiling 1,999 yards rushing on 392 carries, scoring 10 TDs, and displaying soft hands catching 94 passes for 1,075 yards and 8 TDs. Selected in 1983 by the San Diego Chargers- Gary opted to play for the upstart USFL instead.

After the New Jersey Generals traded Anderson’s rights to the Tampa Bay Bandits, he became the go to back in Steve Spurrier’s Banditball offense. He’d finish 4th in the league with 2,731 yards and 39 touchdowns during his time in the league before it folded up shop.

By the time Anderson got around to the Chargers, San Diego wasn’t really sure what to do with him, when they had a West Coast attack powered by future HoF QB Dan Fouts. Gary in the meantime handled kick return duties and posted sub-400 yard rushing seasons. Gary also caught a lot of passes, earning his only Pro Bowl berth in 1986 as a jack of all trades when he had 80 catches for 871 yards and 8 TDs along with 442 yards rushing, 482 yards kick returning, and 227 yards punt returning. He later posted a career high 1,119 yards on 225 carries in 1988. After an acrimonious holdout that wiped out his 1989 season, Gary was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He had a pretty decent 1990 season in which he posted 1110 total yards from scrimmage, and although the rest of his career in the NFL was largely injury riddled, Gary was enshrined into Tecmo Super Bowl lore- as an extremely underrated back. He’d split time with the Bucs and Lions in his final year in the NFL (1993).

After a year off Gary returned to football to play for the CFL USA initiative and the Memphis MadDogs in 1995. He’d be released in camp the following year by the Roughriders.

In 2006, Gary was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. Of note, if you calculate all of Gary’s time between the three leagues, he has over 14,500 yards from scrimmage.

I had tried to get his autograph a few years ago. He checked many of the odd boxes that I liked: 80s runningback, Action Packed Rookies card, and a player on Tecmo Super Bowl. I missed out on him because in his hometown there is a Court and a Cove that have the same street name but are in totally different places. Thankfully after a second attempt I was able to knock the former elusive back out.  This Action Packed card, like many in the set, was quite common, but it is a good action shot and the emboss shows up well on it. The SkyBox 1992 was another one of my favorite sets of that era. With the large name at the top and crystal clear photography, it really set itself apart from the competition.

USFL  54      RUSH 641    YDS 2731    AVG 4.3     TD 39     LG N/A
REC 167    YDS  1707    AVG 10.2    TD  6

NFL   111/61      RUSH 869      YDS 3409       AVG 3.9     TD 16    LG 64T
REC 302    YDS 2999     AVG 9.9     TD 15    LG 74T
KR  143      YDS 2779    AVG 19.4   TD 1       LG 98T
PR  48         YDS  385      AVG 8.0          TD 0      LG 30

CFL 14        RUSH 66     YDS  250     AVG 3.8     TD 3
REC  28      YDS 273      AVG 9.8        TD 0

Newton, Nate “The Kitchen”

Cards: Action Packed 1992, GameDay 1992, Fleer 1990
Acquired: In Person, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 1990, 1992, 1997

Nate Newton. In the age of gigantic offensive linemen, Nate Newton certainly set the tempo. It seemed like every training camp that you’d hear about Nate showing up 15-30 pounds overweight- and the media would eagerly report it. A man whose personality was almost as big as his girth, you could count on Newton to have a great media soundbyte or something to say back to fans as he signed cards. His nickname “The Kitchen” was also a humorous poke at his weight and the fact that he was as big as a kitchen.

Originally from Florida A&M, Newton would sign in 1984 with the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL. After not being drafted in the USFL dispersal draft in 1985, Nate would be signed as a free agent by the Dallas Cowboys where after a few years became a refined and imposing tackle protecting Troy Aikman and clearing holes for Emmitt Smith. Playing  for the Cowboys Newton would go to the ProBowl 6 times, was named AP twice, and won 3 SuperBowl rings during his career through 1998. He’d finish out his tenure in the NFL playing one final season in 1999 for the Carolina Panthers.

Since retirement, “The Kitchen” has experienced a rocky road. After spending some time in prison for having 175 pounds of marijuana in his car, Newton has played it on straight and narrow. He isn’t apologetic for what he did, but he has claimed to have reformed going as far as becoming a regular church man. He has also spent some time working as an offensive coordinator for a football clinic near Dallas. Newton’s weight earlier this year dangerously spiraled out of control and was over 400 pounds, but he has since lost over 175 pounds.

Newton’s cards are interesting. At the first training camp in 1990, Newton signed the front of the card. After that, he made a habit of signing the back. Whether this was some unconscious acknowledgement of his weight or a way of scratching it out remains to be seen but because of his behavior and despite his stellar football career, Newton will probably never see the NFL Hall of Fame.