Tag Archives: ttm autographs

Esiason, Norman “Boomer”


Cards: Score 1990 Hot Gun, Action Packed Rookies 1992.
Acquired: TTM 2011, C/o CBS Sports. TTM 2017, C/o The Esiason Foundation*
Sent: 5/23/2011   Received: 8/4/2012 (423 days) STAMPS
Sent: 12/20/2017  Received: 1/8/2018 (18 days)
* Donation included

So here’s an infamous example of an autopen or stamp. A really underwhelming ‘success’ from the Cincinnati Bengals’ greatest quarterback since Ken Anderson, I wrote to Boomer Esiason C/o CBS Sports in 2011. 423 days later I got these two ‘autographs’ back. It was obvious that they were facsimiles. I sat on this post for 6 years or so, annoyed that he stamped my cards and that he made me wait over a year to get them back. To further the insult, many fans were getting these obvious stamps and accepting them as legitimate. Then I started to see a slow trickle in of Boomers and had a good feeling that they were for real. Finally at the end of 2017 I shot these two out with a small donation and waited.  At long last I can remove those black eye stamps from the collection. For points and purposes, I have included the fakes in this post so that they can be identified easily. Note the thin pen and consistent weight. The facsimiles even both match from card to card, down to the dot on the ‘i’. So painful to look at…

I have been really impressed with how far Boomer has come as a broadcaster since retiring, and after the fervor erupted over him as a Monday Night Football commentator, Esiason was ousted and retreated to in studio work and radio where he has really honed his skills.  He technically began his commentating career along with Warren Moon and Dan Marino as color analysts for WLAF games on USA Network back in 1991.

A rarity in NFL drafts, no quarterback came off the board during the first round of the 1984 draft. Boomer Esiason would be the first, with the 38th pick of round 2. A very strong draft, Wilber Marshall, Dean Steinkuhler, Irving Fryar, Keith Millard, Carl Banks, Greg Bell, and Bill Maas, were among the recognizable names taken before Esiason. It is safe to say that just with these players alone, the 1984 draft helped form the backbone in depth and classic names through the early 1990s.  The pretty boy with golden hair, Boomer was a prolific passer for the quarterback manufacturing school, the University of Maryland.  While there he’d set 17 school records, and is considered by many to be the greatest and most recognizable Terrapin of all time. (The Washington Federals of the competing USFL drafted Boomer as well, but could not mount an offer that surpassed the Bengals.) With a mouth that always found the microphone, Boomer quickly established himself as a presence in the locker room as Ken Anderson entered his twilight years with the franchise. He was my arch nemesis in the classic AFC Central, and always put up big numbers and games against the Oilers. Ironically in his rookie season he started his first game against the Oilers, in which he guided Cincinnati to a 13-3 victory over Houston. It was head coach Sam Wyche’s first year, and he and Esiason’s fates would be tied at the hip to each other during their time in Cincinnati. With Wyche, a former quarterback himself and an apostle of the Bill Walsh West Coast System,  Boomer provided the new blood to reinvigorate the sagging Bengals franchise. Esiason became the face of the franchise as the team gave him playmakers in the shape of Anthony Munoz, James Brooks, Tim McGee, Eddie Brown, and Rodney Holman. With a lightning delivery and a devestating understanding of the innovative no-huddle offense (that Buffalo later employed full-time after witnessing the effectiveness of Esiason under center,) the Bengals quickly climbed the ranks of the AFC during the last days of the most brutal division in all of football. In 1986 he guided the Bengals to a 10-6 record throwing for a shade under 4,000 yards, and 24 touchdowns.  1988 saw the final ascension of the Bengals to Super Bowl XXIII, where they lost to the 49ers in the last final minutes of play. It was Boomer’s most prolific season as a pro, with a 97.4 quarterback rating and he was named the NFL MVP.

By 1991 free agency, sacks, and injuries began to catch up to the Bengals. Esiason posted a 3-11 record as a starter and combined with new management, Sam Wyche was fired at the conclusion of the season. New ownership felt new blood was needed and rookie head coach David Shula (son of Dolphins head coach Don Shula) was brought on board to handle the team. Immediately he decided to fix the offense by letting many of the team’s playmakers go, and drafted  David Klingler to be the heir apparent to Boomer. The writing was clearly on the wall for Esiason, and after another mediocre year behind the Bengals patchwork line and bland new offense, he was unceremoniously traded to the New York Jets in 1993 for a third round pick.

As the starting quarterback for the Jets, he was able to give the offense a certain level of credibility over the next 3 tumultuous seasons under 3 different head coaches. Holding firm he posted an 84.5, 77.3, and a 71.3 quarterback rating over those seasons with the team. Despite having more touchdowns to interceptions in each of those seasons, the Jets slumped, and Esiason signed with the Cardinals, playing there one season in 1996.  In a game during that season over the Redskins he’d throw for 522 yards in a game, the third most in NFL history. 1997 proved to be Boomer’s final season, as he indeed proved you can return home, and came back to the Bengals. It was a great ending for him, coming in as a backup to Jeff Blake. After Blake succumbed to injury, and the franchise was sitting at a woeful 3-8, Esiason came in leading the charge, posting a 4-1 record over the next 5 games, and a 106.9 QB rating. He’d retire after the season, and is considered the most prolific left handed quarterback in NFL history.

In addition to his broadcasting and radio duties, Esiason spends much of his time with charity, and the Boomer Esiason Foundation, helping with research into Cystic Fibrosis.  You can visit his website at http://www.boomeresiason.com/index.htm.

G/Gs  187/173   Att 5205   Comp 2969    Yds  37920   Td  247    Int  184    Rat  81.1  |
Rush 447   Yds  1598    Avg  3.6     Td   7    Lg  24

Talbert, Diron ‘Talby’

Card: Topps 1977, University of Texas Upper Deck 2011,  NFL Alumni Card
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Home
Sent:   6/23   Received: 8/6   (44 days)

Diron joined the family line at the University of Texas playing defensive tackle for the Longhorns from 1964 to 1966. He was the youngest of the 3 brothers to play at Texas and was an All-SWC selection in 1964, and a All-American Candidate in 1966.

He’d be selected by both the Los Angeles Rams (NFL) and the San Diego Chargers  (AFL) in their competitive drafts that year.  Talbert elected to sign with George Allen’s Los Angeles Rams. After losing virtually his entire rookie season to a knee injury, Diron recovered for the next season and played both defensive tackle and end in 1968, and nailed down the starting defensive line position by 1969. He honed his trade playing along Merlin Olsen and Deacon Jones, recording 16 sacks in one season, and learning the double head slap move from Jones.

In 1971, Diron was reunited with George Allen, who put together a multi-player deal in order to pry Talbert off of the Rams. Diron immediately became a fixture on the Redskins defensive line and was named a co-defensive captain alongside Chris Hanburger. Diron wrecked havoc on opposing offensive lines for the next 10 seasons averaging over 7 sacks a season, and scoring 12.5 sacks in 1976.  Diron earned All Pro Honors in 1973 and Pro Bowl Honors in 1974.  In 1975, Diron sacked Craig Morton of the Giants a single game record 4 times. His timing joining the Redskins coincided with George Allen firing up the rivalry between the Redskins and Cowboys. Diron had an especially bitter feud with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, airing their differences in the media, carrying the body language onto the field, and then taking it out oneach other on the field. Diron in the end, outlasted all of the other members of the Over the Hill Gang, despite a nagging knee injury.

While Diron has not been inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he’s considered one of the 70 Greatest Redskins of All-Time. Adjusted for modern day numbers, Diron ranks top 5 all time from the defensive tackle position in sacks. He ran a successful investment firm after retirement. He is also a outspoken member of the NFL Alumni Association. Talbert is a solid TTM signer. He signed the two cards for me and added in his Alumni card as well.

G/GS  186/157       TAC N/a          SAC N/a         FUM  10
INT 0       YDS 0       AVG -.-       TD 0        LG -.-

Robinson, Eugene “Orca”

pset89 erobinsonCards: ProSet 1989, ProSet 1990
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Home
Sent:  1/29    Received:  2/13
(15 days)

Eugene Robinson goes down as one of the finest free agent finds in Seattle Seahawk history. Going undrafted out of Colgate in 1985, Robinson arrived in Seattle as a cornerback where he just hung on for dear life learning the ropes from guys like Dave Brown, Kenny Easley, and Paul Moyer.  He gained a variety of nicknames from Grange, to Orca- a name given to him because his voice rose in octaves when he’d call plays in the secondary.  By the time Robinson left the Seahawks in 1996, it was thought he had lost a step, so Seattle traded him to the Packers in exchange for Matt LaBounty. He finished his career in Seattle as the franchise’s all time leader in tackles, and second in interceptions.

pset90 erobinsonHe provided the Packers with a veteran presence in their secondary and led the team with 8 picks en route to a 35-21 thumping of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. The team returned to the big game the following year, but the Packers lost to the Broncos, thanks in part to John Elway‘s Herculean effort.

Eugene joined the Atlanta Falcons for the 1998 season. To be frank, I thought it was a cash grab. I mean he went to the Falcons- a team that had posted a losing record in 8 of the last 10 seasons. There was no way this team was… And then they did. Eugene after years of futility with the Seahawks went to a Super Bowl for a 3rd straight year, and earned his 4th Pro Bowl nomination AND second career AP nomination.  Atlanta lost 34-19, and the Falcons returned to anonymity the following year (1999)- Eugene’s last with the team.  Finally Eugene suited up for one final year with the Panthers in 2000, retiring after the season.

Eugene was a highly decorated player with gaudy statistics from his time in the NFL.  He was also honored as the Bart Starr Man of the Year in 1998 for his charitable activities. He is vastly underrated in fan circles and should be honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. If not for an embarrassing event on the eve of his Super Bowl appearance with the Falcons, Eugene would probably warrant more consideration by the selection committee.

Eugene has stayed busy since then as a football coach, morning show personality, and Panthers color commentator. He signed these two absolutely picture perfect ProSet cards for me in no time flat.

G/GS   250/232       TAC  1250           SAC 7.5         FUM 15
INT  57        YDS 762         AVG  13.3        TD 1            LG 49