Tag Archives: the hit

Bercovici, Mike (2)

Cards: Topps AAF 2019, Panini 2016, Topps AAF Certified 2019
Acquired: TTM 2019, C/o Home, EBay
Sent: 5/10 Received: 6/29 (50 days)
See Also: Mike Bercovici

Mike’s career continued after his release from the Cardinals. In 2018, he signed with the fledgling Alliance of American Football. (I recognized the name immediately when he was assigned to the Arizona Hotshots thanks in part to the league’s territorial allocation.) Later in the year- perhaps out of the fact that some teams were unfairly blessed with an abundance at quarterback, the AAF decided to hold a Pick or Protect draft, to balance out the rosters a bit.

Mike was taken at the top of Round 2 by the San Diego Fleet, where it was planned he’d grow under the tutelage of offensive mastermind Mike Martz, and behind overall #1 pick Josh Johnson. This didn’t happen because almost immediately after the draft, Josh signed with the NFL Washington Redskins. Moving ahead with Berco at starting quarterback allowed the Fleet to plan around him however and prepare him for the rigors of the AAF season.

I didn’t get Mike’s autograph before the first game in league history, even though they were practicing only a few feet from me. I didn’t realize how he’d be a poster boy for the league in the league’s brief highlight film.

 “Hey, whatever this league needs to get people excited, if that’s what it takes, then I’ll take the bullet.”

-Mike Bercovici (on ‘the hit’)

The Commanders ended up beating the Fleet on opening night in San Antonio, punctuated by 6 sacks and 2 interceptions. One of those sacks, LB Shaan Washington came across the line and almost decapitated Mike Bercovici from his blindside. The crowd was dead silent fora brief second as we looked around, and then erupted into a gladiator-like rousing applause at the fact that there was no flag. I thought that perhaps he suffered a concussion, but at some point during that game, Berco was sat for Philip Nelson.

Mike regained the starting position a few games later after Nelson went down with an injury. He’d complete 22 or 43 passes (304 yards) with a TD, leading the Fleet to the game winning drive over the Stallions 27-25. In fact he’d throw for 300 yards in the next two games as well, against the Iron (311 yards) and the Hotshots (310 yards).

Despite Mike’s struggles, he was quite lovable as a quarterback. He finished with 5 TDs to 9 picks, on 51% completions with 1,311 yards. His numbers are actually all the more impressive because he only started 4 games. The league folded after Week 8, and Mike decided to hang up his cleats and go into coaching.

He currently works as a graduate assistant at Arizona State.

I really wanted Mike’s autograph on these cards of his, and after a bit of digging, missing on an address, and a little help from Mark’s Signing Bonus, I was able to track him down on these great cards of his. I liked Berco and I had high hopes that he’d make a great ambassador of the league as the AAF moved forward.


Reasons, Gary

AP90 reasonspset90 reasons 2nd place

Card: ProSet 1990, Action Packed 1990
Acquired: TTM 2013, C/o Home
Sent: 3/4 /13  Received: 3/22/13  (18 days)
Failure: TTM 2010, C/o Home

A beast at linebacker from tiny Crowley, Texas, Reasons joined the Northwestern Louisiana and had 394 tackles over his 4 year career for the Demons- a school record.  He also had personal highs of 24 in one game against McNeese St., and 172 tackles as a senior. Over his time at NW Louisiana, Gary was named three times as an 1-AA All- American.

The New York Giants drafted Gary with their 4th round pick of the 1984 draft, and the league collectively yawned. Gary always seemed to be underrated, but went out his rookie season and started 11 games at left inside linebacker, recording a sack, 2 picks, and 3 fumble recoveries.  He called the defensive formations for the Giants, but lost his job in 1987 after an acrimonious holdout. Still he came on strong as a reserve, and later reclaimed his starting role with the team. Gary played for the Giants through 1991, and one season for the Bengals in 1992.

He’s a player who always seemed to shine most when the Giants needed him. The cards above illustrate a perfect example, in what fans refer to as ‘The Hit’. In one of the greatest tackles in history, the Broncos were driving late and decided to go for it on 4th and one at the Giants’ one yard line. As the ball was snapped, Gary came through the hole and stuffed Broncos’ runningback Bobby Humphrey in the backfield. The hit was so jarring, that Humphrey’s mouthpiece came flying out. In addition, during the 1986 NFC Championship game, Gary recorded 12 tackles, a sack, and a pick against the Redskins.  Reasons is also remembered for taking a fake punt 30 yards for a first down against the 49ers in the 1990 playoffs. Finally to top things off, Gary recorded a team high 6 tackles against the Bills in the team’s 20-19 victory over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV.

Since retirement after the 1992 season, Gary’s number (34) has been retired by the Demons.  He briefly dabbled in color commentary for NBC in 1994 as well. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996, and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.

G/Gs 134/88      Tac      Sac 3.5    Fum 9   Int 10     Yds 137    Avg 13.7    Td 0     Lg  40