Tag Archives: ttm autograph

Morris, Mercury

Cards: Topps 1977, SP Signature Edition 2005
Acquired: TTM 2010, c/o Home.
Sent:  4/28     Received:  7/9   (72 days)

Before I begin, I’d like to express my outrage towards the NFL and solidarity with former players in their attempts at trying to get medical assistance and their ‘fair share’ of the retirement pie. Case in point:

Mercury Morris was another AFLer that I sent away for after watching “Full Color Football” on the NFL Network.  Morris was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the 3rd round of the 1969 draft, playing in the final year of the AFL before the merger.   Initially Morris found himself playing as a backup running back and special teams returner to Jim Kiick with gradually increasing playing time. (He started 39 games over his career.) In 1973, Mercury combined with Larry Csonka to form the first 1,000 yard duo, playing with two broken vertebra for a good portion of the season. (Mercury was not informed of the break when it happened, rather he was told that the injury was a ‘sprain’ after the game by team doctors.) Morris would play through 1976, where he was traded to the Chargers and then retired shortly thereafter due to the lingering neck injury from 1973. Eugene “Mercury” Morris was aptly named, based on his mercurial quickness, and later proven by the fact that he stands 1st amongst halfbacks on average yards per carry at 5.1 (with at least 750 attempts) and his kick return average of 26.5 stands in the NFL top ten.  He is also a member of the NFL’s only completely perfect team, (the 17-0 1972 Dolphins) and was a 3 time ProBowl selection from 1971-1973.

Since retirement Morris has been involved in television, public speaking, commercials, and wrote a book about his life entitled “Against the Grain” (1988). An outspoken advocate for improving player benefits, Mercury has continued to battle with the NFL to acknowledge and compensate him and his former gladiator brethren for their increasing medical expenses caused by their playing days.  (Mercury has suffered from lingering and debilitating headaches from his fused spine and deadened nerves.) Morris has pressed on with multiple legal actions against the league (for the money he is entitled to) and the Groom Law Group, which supervises the NFL pension plan. He has chronicled his latest attempts at getting answers through former defensive lineman Dave Pear’s blog at: www.davepear.com/blog .

G  99       Att  804           Yds   4133           Avg  5.1           TD 31          LG 70
KR  111          Yds  2947          Avg  26.5             TD  3            LG 105

Mitchell, Scott

Cards: Action Packed 1990, Score 1990, Ultimate WLAF 1991, Wild Card WLAF 1992.
Acquired: In Person, 1992. San Antonio Riders v. Orlando Thunder. TTM 2010, c/o  Springville High School, UT.
Sent:  3/12   Received: 7/10  (120 days)

Scott Mitchell was drafted by the Dolphins in the 4th round of the 1990 draft from Utah. Mitchell would ride the Dolphins bench for the next three seasons, preparing to be the heir to Dan Marino.  He was loaned to the WLAF in 1992 in an attempt by both the NFL and the WLAF to drum up the talent of the league by showcasing young and promising talent, while providing them ‘game live’ experience. (The Thunder’s drafting of Mitchell was slightly surprising because they already had a talented run ‘n shoot gunslinger in Kerwin Bell.) Mitchell played well that season and led the team to World Bowl II where they lost to the eventual champion Sacramento Surge. Scott returned to the Dolphins and saw starting duty for Miami in 1993- playing so well that he would bolt in free agency for Detroit in the off-season that year.  Initially struggling upon his arrival, Mitchell adjusted to the offense and reclaimed the starting position with a vengeance in 1995. He was with the Lions when they made the playoffs in 1994, 1995, and 1997.  Mitchell would play for the Ravens in 1999 and then finished his career in Cincinnati (2000-2001).  Scott continued to be involved in football and was hired in 2010 to coach for Springville High School in Utah.

I wandered onto the field before the game and picked up Scott’s autograph on his Action Packed 1990 and Score 1990 card. It was a lazy day, and the security didn’t care. As the team hadn’t even started warm ups, I thought it would be okay. Scott rolled his eyes at me as he signed, but then again he may have been looking down at me as he is 6″6′.

After I read his Wikipedia entry, I was able to do the rest of the research to locate Scott at Springville High School. It only took about 4 months for a response from him which was at that time during my return to collecting- quite a wait.

NFL      Games 99   Att  2346   Comp  1301  Pct  55.5
Yds  15692  TD 95  Int  81

WLAF  Games 10   Att  361      Comp  201    Pct  55.7
Yds    2213  TD 12  Int 7

Pardee, Jack (1936-2013)

Cards: Proline Portraits 1992, Pro Set 1990, Pro Set 1991, Topps 1970.
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o home.
Sent: 3/26    Received:  4/1    (6 days)

I went through Fanmail.biz to locate Jack’s address, putting a request up on the message board. One of the admins was kind enough to respond with his address. I wrote to Jack that night to discuss the book “Oiler Blues” and he responded in a record 6 days to my request.

Jack Pardee took over as coach of the Oilers from Jerry Glanville, and the difference in personality was night and day. While Glanville was firey and emotional, Jack, was much on par with the personality of Tom Landry. Subdued was basically an understatement of Pardee’s restraint. Jack would bring with him from the University of Houston (and the USFL,) the Run ‘N Shoot offense that the Oilers would employ full time.  Jack would pull the Oilers over the hump, as he would become the only coach in the history of the Houston franchise to take the AFC Central title, which he would take in 91 and again in 93.  The 1993 team would also grab the best record in the league at 12-4. Despite going forward, the Oilers always seemed to freeze in the playoffs, being victims of the infamous ‘Comeback’ game, and also Montana’s last playoff run. Pardee was infamously ordered by owner Bud Adams to wear a headset on the sidelines, mitigate the circus that was Buddy Ryan and the furor that ensued when the team fined David Williams for ‘Babygate’. These dramatic elements would be the end of the ‘golden age’ for me in football. In 1994 the team collapsed without Warren Moon at the helm, and after going 1-9 Jack Pardee resigned. His young defensive coordinator Jeff Fisher took over from there and within a few months owner Bud Adams was whining about a new stadium.

One of the infamous ‘Junction Boys’, Jack in addition to coaching days also played in the NFL from 1957-1973 as a linebacker conquering melanoma along the way.  He then jumped ship to head coaching for the Blazers and Fire of the WFL, and then onto the NFL as the coach of the Bears and Redskins, and as a defensive coordinator for the Chargers. Coaching continued to be in his blood as he then coached in the USFL for the Gamblers, and then over to the Cougars with a record setting offense, before coming to the Oilers in 1990. In 1995 he coached in the CFL and then entered a period of semi retirement where he runs his ranch in Gause, Tx outside of Houston. In 2010, a wonderful article was written about him from CNNSI where it was revealed that he would jump at the opportunity to coach again even at the age of 73. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/jeff_pearlman/01/22/pardee/index.html

Games 196  tac n/a    sac  n/a     Fum 17    Int  22    yards 305  Td  5  Lng 46
Wins   87   Losses 77   Pct .530

UPDATE: On April 1st, 2013, Jack Pardee passed away at the age of 76 after a battle with cancer.