Joe Ferguson was the QB for the Bills who owned nearly all the franchise record books before Jim Kelly shattered them over the next 10 years.
A Southwest Conference Alum with the Arkansas Razorbacks from 1970 to 1972, Joe competed 327 of 611 passes for 4431 yards to 24 TDs and 32 interceptions- shattering many of the passing records at the school, and earned the Liberty Bowl MVP award in 1971. He was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1973 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. The team pressed him into service immediately, where he posted 3 winning seasons in a row. Ferguson played ball during the dead ball era. Regardless he led the league in a variety of categories including TDs (25, 1975), attempts (1977, 457), yards (1977, 2803), and interceptions (1977, 24. 1982, 16). In 1976 he started 7 games and threw 9 touchdowns to just 1 interception for a 90 QB rating.
With the arrival of Jim Kelly in 1985, Joe began the journeyman phase of his career. He’d play 2 seasons for the Lions as a backup, starting 5 games and posting a 2-3 record. Afterwards he’d play 3 more non-descript seasons for the Bucs (1988-1989) and the Indianapolis Colts (1990).
Joe went into coaching after his playing career wrapped up and saw stints at Louisiana Tech and Arkansas.
Perhaps most intriguing was when he joined the CFL and was the QB coach for the San Antonio Goldminers in 1995. After an injury befell starting QB David Archer, head coach Kay Stephenson needed somebody who was familiar with his offensive system. Enter backup Joe Ferguson for one final season. An ironman of football, Joe started at one point 103 consecutive games, and played 16 seasons.
Joe has also been inducted into numerous Arkansas Sports Hall of Fames, All-Century Teams, and All-Decade Teams. He also has a spot in the Bills Ring of Honor.
I loved these Legends cards made by Pro Set in 1991. I had never gotten this one when I pulled packs as a kid so I was doubly surprised when I originally saw this Corning masterpiece. Joe is a great signer, so I had been kicking the can down the road the past few years before I decided to pull the trigger on this one, and he responded in no time flat.
Lynn Dickey played college ball for his home state Kansas State Wildcats from 1968 to 1970. In 1969 he posted 2476 yards on 196 of 372 passing, throwing for 14 TDs to 19 interceptions. Although he had what many consider a down season in 1970, Dickey placed 10th in Heisman voting. He finished his career with the Wildcats going 501 of 994 in passing for 6208 yards, 29 TDs to 64 interceptions. Dickey was selected in the 3rd round of the 1971 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers.
Under head coach Ed Hughes, the Oilers expected Dickey to compete for the starting QB job against first round pick Dan Pastorini. Over the next 5 injury plagued seasons, Dickey frustratingly started 10 games going 2-7-1 as starter for the moribund Oilers, throwing for 8 TDs to 28 interceptions- during the heyday of the Dead Ball Era. He’d be traded by Houston to Green Bay in exchange for John Hadl.
Although snakebitten by injuries, Lynn managed to start 101 games over the next 10 seasons for the Packers. His best season came in 1983 when he posted an 8-8 record for Green Bay, and led the NFL with 4458 passing yards and 32 TDs. He’d also manage to eclipse 3,000 yards passing 2 other times in his career in 1980 (3529 yards) and in 1984 (3195 yards). Dickey during his underrated career in Green Bay set numerous single game and season passing records (that have been eclipsed by the likes primarily of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers-) earning him a card in the Upper Deck Legends 1997 set and prompting a, “Really?”, From me.
After retiring Lynn has had his number retired by the Wildcats, and is a member of the Packers Hall of Fame. A prolific TTM signer, Lynn autographed these 3 cards for me in no time flat.
Both the 1983 Topps and the Upper Deck Legends card are epic cards of Dickey in his prime, but the Topps 75 card was sort of a throw in since I love my Houston Oilers. Lynn has a strong autograph that really matches the canvas well.
Cards: Topps 1983, Topps 1985
Acquired: 2012, Akron Acquisition
See Also: Neil Lomax
I think I’m just going to refer to it as ‘The Neil Lomax Curse’. Since Lomax led the lowly Cardinals back to some semblance of respectability in the mid-1980s the franchise has been for the most part (outside of a few seasons here and there with Kurt Warner, Carson Palmer, and Jake Plummer) has never really had a consistent franchise QB at the helm. You know, that consistent leader that they could lean on for 5-7 years? – Amazingly it just hasn’t happened. While it is shocking how many QBs Cleveland has gone through, Arizona has done in many QBs in its own right. In fact, statistically speaking, I could make an argument for Neil being the greatest quarterback the Cardinals have ever had.
As far as cards go, Topps 1985 was so different than what Topps had ever done that people still today see it as a pinnacle of card design. I think it really epitomized the 80s with large bold type set on its side fighting with the photo for command of the canvas. Like the 80s it screamed, “Larger than life.” While this Topps 1983 just bored my pants off initially, it was a step in a different direction for Topps than in previous years. The marquee is minimally invasive and the team name placed eloquently on the image- in an era well before Photoshop, this took a fair amount of work.
One of the Akron Acquisition, I got these autographs off of a friend who was exiting the hobby. I paid a few extra bucks as a premium to help him out, and I hope that he has been able to put his life back together.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.