Tag Archives: ttm autograph

Tagliabue, Paul ‘Tags’

Cards: ProSet 1990 Special Insert, ProSet 1990 Berlin Wall
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent: 12/18/17 Received: 1/12/18 (25 days)

Taking the reins in 1989, Paul Tagliabue faced a very tall order: Following up the near canonization of previous commissioner Pete Rozelle. Paul steadied the boat of the league on numerous occasions, handling Raiders owner Al Davis in his on off love affair with Oakland, the Rams move from LA to St. Louis, the Oilers from Houston to Tennessee, and the Browns from Cleveland to Baltimore. During each occasion he addressed each relocation publicly to keep the league from getting a public black eye from ‘stadium blackmail’. Tags also presided over unprecedented expansion. After the league got slammed publicly from the middle of the night departure of the Browns, the NFL gave the city back the franchise, name, and records. He also saw the league expand to Charlotte, Jacksonville, and back into Houston. Paul also oversaw the league’s bold plans to export international play of the sport into Europe and elsewhere in the world, culminating in the WLAF/NFLE/ NFL Europe, that he briefly served as commissioner of in addition to his NFL duties. Tags and his team navigated the deep waters of the 1993 bargaining agreement without a strike occurring. This brought about a salary cap, the end of Plan B free agency, an increase to the overall wages of all players in the league, and unfettered growth of the league. In the meantime the league created a feeding frenzy from the networks for their programming, allowing the league to return record profits.

Paul also took the high road on the state of Arizona, as when the state refused to honor MLK Day, the league pulled up its tentpoles for the Super Bowl and went to Pasadena. Tags also made every attempt to help keep the Saints in New Orleans after the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He served 17 prolific years for the league, creating a hand in hand workmanlike relationship between players and the league. He even briefly came back to serve as an arbitrator in a recent NFL case with the Saints, but despite all this, many players, media, and fans, remember him for his handling of the severity of concussions which really hinders his legacy. Eventually I believe the league will vote Paul into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and deservedly so, but at this time he remains too much of a hot button of a candidate for voters to choose.

Ismail, Raghib ‘Rocket’ (2)

Cards: Fleer 1996, All World Promo 1991, Classic 1991, Atomic 2001
Acquired: TTM, 2018
Sent: 1/2       Received: 1/8   (6 days)
See Also: Rocket Ismail

Shortly after attending one of the Dallas Cowboys Rally Days where I met Rocket and got his autograph on a handful of cards, he started signing TTM again. I thought initially, “Oh well,” but knew I needed to double back to him to get a few more cards signed. So rolling over to 2018, what better way to kick it off by getting Rocket again as my first autograph of the year?

These cards really offer a cross section of his career starting at Notre Dame on this Classic 1991 promo card. Hand it to Classic trying to be edgy out of the gate, but the name line feels right aligned because the weight is tied to WR. I also wasn’t too big a fan of the brushed granite look, but it beats the cheetah pattern they later used. Overall, it’s a great photo of Rocket and there were quite a few of them to choose from.

From there we move on to the terrible All World CFL series, which tries to emulate the ProSet 1989 design by just angling the lines. There’s also the terrible color choices as the red and blue just feel like they clash a bit too much. It does not help that the Argonaut helmet just sort of -sits there arbitrarily on the canvas. As a promo however it sells what it is: The first set to have Ismail in his professional debut threads.

After his time in the CFL, Rocket jumped back to the NFL courtesy of the Los Angeles Raiders. It seemed to make sense. I mean the only other place with as bright stars and marketing would be Dallas, right? I liked this card. Fleer 1995 was all.. over.. the.. place.. design wise from team to team. It embodied everything I liked and hated in the 1990s sets as the companies started really embracing Photoshop. This one for example has a very unnecessary grain. I like the fearlessness of the design on the front, but it is a bit too much.

After his time with the Raiders, a stop in Dallas was next. It took me a while to come around to the sets of the early 2000s as I didn’t collect any while I was on my football hiatus. Among them I liked the die cut Atomic. I have a soft spot for gimmicky cards, and these certainly look better once you see one.

Golic, Mike ‘Big Mike’

Cards: Topps 1992, Score 1991, Score Supplemental 1989, GameDay 1992
Acquired: TTM 2017. C/o ESPN
Sent: 12/16           Received: 1/6       (20 days)

Mike Golic was prized for his size, technique, and flexibility that allowed defensive coordinators to use him at any position along the defensive line.  He also comes from strong bloodlines. His father played in the CFL and his brother Bob played for the Raiders. After a solid college career at Notre Dame, Big Mike was selected by the Houston Oilers in the 10th round of the 1985 draft.  After sitting out his rookie year due to injury, Mike turned on the juice in 1986, starting half the slate of games for the Oilers with 66 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 forced fumbles. Surprisingly Mike found himself on the street in 1987 after 2 games and before the players’ strike. The Eagles wisely scooped him up.

Under Buddy Ryan, Mike was part of a rotation on the line that kept him fresh off the bench. He played the next 5 years with the Eagles. Golic’s best seasons came back to back in 1991 and 1992 when he put together 2 72 tackle seasons. He joined the Dolphins in 1993, but did not find the same success in Miami, as Mike played injured for most of the season on a torn knee ligament.

Infamously, he  learned the hard way about business in the NFL when he was cut on the eve of minicamp in ’94. Mike had off season surgery, and well knowing the team had drafted 2 defensive players to beef up the line, he was out to prove that he could still motor on that healing knee. The conundrum was that in order to get out onto the field, the trainer told Mike he’d have to sign a paper indicating his knee was fine. Eventually Mike relented, and the moment he attempted to leave the trainer’s office, he was confronted by the turk, who told Golic that the GM wanted to see him. You see by signing that piece of paper, he waived his own rights. The team couldn’t cut him due to injury and owe him a salary, but since he was 100%- Mike lost some $650K by his count. Just cut throat.

Well Mike was lucky. He had a fallback. It just so happened that he was quite natural on the microphone- a talent he started honing back in Philly. A long time radio and TV personality, Golic has been a staple on ESPN programming since the turn of the century. It didn’t take much time at all to get Mike’s autograph on these 4 cards which feature a pretty decent selection of photos from his playing days.

G/GS   115/49      TAC     254           SAC 11.5             FUM 3
INT  3      YDS  48         AVG 16.0         TD 0       LG  23