Mark Brunell was one of these ageless wonders. He put in 19 seasons under his belt of solid to workmanlike/ journeyman quality work. In the annals of pro football, he doesn’t get the respect he deserves, and his arrival in Jacksonville heralded an era of respectability in Jaguars football. The owner of all of the passing records in the franchise’s record books when he departed the Jaguars after the 2003 season, Mark earned 3 Pro Bowl Nominations, including MVP honors of the 2000 Pro Bowl.
Originally a 5th round pick out of Washington State by the Green Bay Packers in the 1993 draft, Brunell didn’t see much action playing for the Pack, sitting behind Brett Favre and Ty Detmer. He’d be eventually traded to the Jaguars in 1995 for a 3rd and 5th round pick before the team’s inaugural season began. After his banner time in Jacksonville, Mark was traded to the Redskins and provided stability to the quarterback position in Washington from 2004 to 2007. During that period he’d break the NFL record for most consecutive completions in a game with 22. In 2008, he signed with the Saints- winning his lone Super Bowl Championship (XLIV) as Drew Brees’ backup.
Brunell played 2 more seasons for the New York Jets (2010-2012), before retiring. Since that time Mark has gone into coaching stating at the High School level and as of 2018 is coaching in the Jacksonville area. Mark has made the news otherwise for all the wrong reasons financially, and at one point needed to file for bankruptcy. Those are always the most humbling moments- so it was not a big deal to send him the requested donation.
To say that Dick LeBeau has a decorated football history would be an understatement. After playing both halfback and defensive back in college, LeBeau was moved to cornerback fulltime when he entered the NFL. Selected by the Cleveland Browns in 1959, LeBeau did not make the squad and was quickly snatched up by the Detroit Lions. The rest is history. The Lions already had an outstanding secondary. LeBeau was icing on the cake. He arguably became one of the best players in Detroit history (at least defensively) recording 62 interceptions for 762 yards and 3 TDs. He earned 3 ProBowl trips from 1964-1966 and AP in 1964, 1965, and 1970.
Retiring from play after the 72 season, LeBeau immediately jumped into coaching, working as a special teams coach for the Eagles from 1973-1975. From there he honed his skills as a positional coach with the defensive backs for the Packers (1976-1979) and Bengals (1980-1983). Dick was promoted to defensive coordinator for Cincinnati in 1984- a position he held until 1991. In 1992 he joined the Steelers as a defensive backs coach, and in 1995 was elevated to defensive coordinator. LeBeau returned to the Bengals in 1997 and was head coach for the franchise from 2000-2002. After a brief stay on the Bills in 2003 LeBeau returned to the Steelers as their defensive coordinator from 2004-2014, and then off to the Tennessee Titans as their coordinator where he coaches to this day (2017). LeBeau was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Pride of the Lions in 2010.
Dick LeBeau is one of the most reliable high profile TTM signers in the hobby today. I think I had taken it for granted for a long time, but I finally decided to take a shot at him in 2017. Part of the reason for my delay was the lack of decent cards of him. Frankly most of the cards that were on the market were quite bad looking, or were just plain expensive. LeBeau’s turnaround was quite quick signing this old beat up Topps card and my custom in about a week flat.
G/GS N/a Tac N/a Sac N/a Fum N/a
Int 62 Yds 762 Avg 12.2 TD 3 Lg 70t
One of my earliest memories of even seeing football was in the 1970s when as a kid I would go across the street and play with my friend Cody. His parents were big football fans and they’d have the Cardinals on whenever they could. I just remember those white on red uniforms. His dad would be sitting in the living room watching the Cardinals, and I remember watching Terry Metcalf do his thing.
Jim Hart’s career spans a rare 3 decades of football. 1966 to 1983 seems like a long time and it is, especially when you go undrafted. Hart ended up impressing the Cardinals brass who signed him after a tryout. He’d take over the starter duties soon thereafter, and while Jim’s teams struggled early on, he’d flourish under Don Coryell and the team became known as the Cardiac Cards for their comeback wins and exciting contests. His best season came in ’74 when Jim was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Year. He also earned Second Team All-Pro. A 4 time Pro Bowler, Hart earned the honor from 1974-1977, and was given the Whizzer White Player of the Year for his charitable contributions in 1975.
In 1981 the Cardinals drafted their second franchise quarterback- the also vastly underrated Neil Lomax. The writing was on the wall, and Hart was slowly being phased out. Jim played for the Cards through 1983. He’d spend one largely forgettable season with the Washington Redskins in ’84 before retiring. While Kurt Warner is now considered the Arizona Cardinals best QB, I’d argue that Hart was the best St. Louis quarterback that the franchise has seen- but those heroics are largely diminished or forgotten by a fanbase that didn’t care or know who he was during Hart’s heydays. Jim is considered an excellent TTM signer.
G/GS 201/180 ATT 5076 COMP 2593 YDS 34655
PCT 51.1 TD 209 INT 247 RAT 66.6
RUSH 159 YDS 207 AVG 1.3 TD 16 LG 23
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.