Tag Archives: tony zendejas

Zendejas, Tony “The Z”

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Cards: Score Supplemental 1989, ProSet 1989, ProSet 1990, Fleer 1990, Action Packed 1992
Acquired: TTM 2013, C/o Home
Sent: 10/31            Received:  12/13     (43 days)

The Zendejas clan has had an impactful history on the league during the 80s and 90s, as Tony has been one of four members of the family (Max, Louis, and Joaquin) to play in NFL. Of Mexican descent, Tony eventually landed at the University of Nevada at Reno. After setting records at the school he was picked up by the Los Angeles Express of the USFL in 1983.  He’d play in the league until its implosion, and be drafted by the Washington Redskins in the USFL Supplemental Draft in 1985.

The Redskins immediately turned around and traded his rights to the Houston Oilers, who had inconsistency at the position with Florian Kempf over the past 2 previous seasons.  The Z took the starting job and quickly established himself as one of the best kickers in the league.  Zendejas stayed with the Oilers for the next 5 seasons through short lived Hugh Campbell era, the Jerry Glanville years, and briefly into the Jack Pardee era. Things were looking good until Tony cracked his fibia against the Saints during the 1990 season- a year in which he was off to a surprisingly slow start. After completing his rehab and being given a clean bill of health, the Oilers left him surprisingly exposed in free agency.  Z signed with the Los Angeles Rams (,replacing longtime barefooted kicker and franchise leading scorer, Mike Lansford). The Oilers in the meantime were left in the lurch and opened the job to a competition between Teddy Garcia and Ian Howfield. While the Oilers struggled all season at kicker, Tony ironically went on to hit 17-17 field goals that year. An unusually strong and accurate kicker from over 50 yards, it was obvious the Oilers and myself had been spoiled by Zendejas’ ability. Tony remained with the Rams through 1994 and then play with both the Falcons and 49ers as an injury replacement retiring after the 1995 season. Zendejas is most notable for sharing the NFL record for consecutive completed field goals of greater than 50 yards with 11.

G 149     XPA 327    XPM 316      PCT 96.6%     FGA  252   FGM  186     PCT 73.8%     LG 54   PTS  874

Official Autograph Souvenir

Acquired: 1989, In Person.

I remember my mother suffered through that hot and humid day at SWT for Josh and me, so that we could get some autographs. After practice the team set up tables and gave out signatures. On the way out to the parking lot we caught Highsmith, and then we followed behind Zendejas (who was driving his Lamborghini,) over to the team dorms.  It was there that Josh was infamously run over by Bruce Matthews, who then effortlessly picked him up by one arm, dusted him off, and profusely apologized with a hearty smile.

Autographs:

Jerry Glanville would go on to coach the Oilers to another playoff appearance, then move on to coach the Atlanta Falcons. He then went into the broadcasting booth and then back into coaching for a few years at Portland State.

David Williams, T was drafted out of Florida in 1989, and played primarily for the Houston Oilers during his 9 year career. He’s best known for an instance called ‘babygate’ where he skipped a game in favor of seeing his wife through the child birth of their first son and then grabbed the ire of his coaches who fined him and then the ensuing media storm that followed.

Alonzo Highsmith, FB was drafted in 1987 from Miami. A powerful inside runner, Highsmith would have had a stellar career if not for multiple knee surgeries that shortened his career. After football he went on to be a professional boxer and now is a scout for the Green Bay Packers.

Patrick Allen, CB nicknamed ‘doc’ was an all-pro honorable mention who had 16 breakups in 1987. He played for 7 years and had 7 INTs, which was highly misleading considering he was pretty good in the Oilers man to man coverage system.

Eric Fairs,LB was a backup LB who started 3 games in 1989, notching 2.5 sacks and 2 FR that season. He played for 6 years for the Oilers and 1 for the Falcons in 1992.

Tracey Eaton S played for 5 seasons in the NFL notching 3 picks in 1989 for the Oilers, and a pick of Jim Kelly that year in the playoffs, then fled in the Oilers mass exodus of  free agency in 1990. Also had a spectacular  highlight where he was flipped by the receiver right after he makes the interception that is making the rounds about Youtube.

Kenny Jackson was a former 1st rd pick of the Eagles in 83 who had a one year stint with the Oilers. He finished his career with 126 receptions for 2,170 yards and 11 TDs. Coached WRs at Penn State and now is a sideline reporter for the Big Ten Network.

Tony Zendejas was originally a K in the USFL that came to the team in 1985 when the league folded. Zendejas leaving the Oilers in 1991 via free agency particularly stung as he would go on to kick the first perfect season in FGs for the Rams and five more years while the Oilers would struggle to find his replacement until they landed Al Del Greco.

Jay Pennison C, another former USFL refugee played for the Oilers from 1985 to 1990.  He started all five seasons that he was with the team, which happened to be some of the Oilers best offensive lines. Did acting in a movie or two after his days were over and then focused on his sports pub in Houston.

Billy Bell DB played for the Oilers in 1989 and then Chiefs in 1991 where he intercepted 1 pass.