Tag Archives: USFL all time team

Millard, Keith

sco89 millardCards: ProSet 1990, ProSet 1990 Defensive Player of the Year, Score 1989.
Acquired: TTM 2015, C/o Home
Sent: 7/7   Received: 7/18   (11 days)
Failure: TTM 2011, C/o The Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Considered one of the top defensive talents from the Pac-10 when he arrived on the pro scene in 1984 from Washington State, Keith Millard was drafted by the Vikings in the first round, but opted to sign with the USFL Jacksonville Bulls instead for the 1985 season. There in his only season he recorded 12 sacks to lead the team and its improved defense.  Later that year, Keith joined the Vikings.

pset90 millard dpotyHe was listed as a nose tackle, but kicked out to defensive tackle frequently, starting 5 games, and nabbing 11 sacks alongside equally formidable defensive end Chris Doleman. In 1986, he recorded his first interception, and again hit double digits with 10.5 sacks. After the strike shortened 1987 season, Keith returned to form for Minnesota with his first All-Pro season in 1988. 1989 was a year for the ages, as he recorded a record 18 sacks from the defensive tackle position. In addition, he had a 48 yard interception, and a fumble recovery that he rumbled, bumbled, and stumbled 31 yards with for a TD. The gargantuan year netted him NFL Defensive Player of the Year Honors for 1989. During the 4th game of the year in 1990, Keith jumped over a cut block, but tore his ACL- ending his season. The injury wore on Millard. He would not return to the field until 1992 for the Packers and Seahawks. After a brief rennaissance in 1993, playing for the Eagles, Keith decided to hang up his cleats for good.

Keith is quite the accomplished veteran positional coach.  He got his start with the Los Angeles Dragons of the shortlived SFL, then joined the San Fransisco Demons of the XFL in 2001. This was followed by  three year stints on the Denver Broncos (2001-2004) and  Oakland Raiders (2005-2008).  After a brief return to the college level, Millard coached with Tampa Bay in 2011 and Tennessee in 2012.

pset90 millardWell decorated, Millard is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame,  the NFL All-1980s team, a member of the All-Time USFL Second Team, and in 2010 was named one of the Top 50 Minnesota Vikings of all time.

I had been after Keith Millard for quite sometime, and it finally paid off. Millard is a solid signer actually. I just didn’t have the right luck with him. I though that I had already failed with him on two previous occasions but the records only showed one. He was kind enough to write me back on Titans stationery, thanking me for the letter, apologizing for the previous trip-ups, and enclosing an additional card. I really appreciate players who take TTM very seriously, and those who take it seriously enough that they need to ensure that their reputation remains solid with their fans. Class act!

USFL   Tac N/a   Sac 12.0   Fum N/a
Int N/a   Yds N/a    Avg   N/a    Td N/a   Lg -.-

NFL  93/69    Tac  N/a     Sac 58       Fum  10
Int 2     Yds 65     Avg 32.5      Td  0      Lg 48

Kelly, Jim (QB)

sky92 kelly

Cards: Action Packed Rookies 1992, Skybox 1992
Acquired: TTM 2013, C/o Hunter’s Hope Foundation*
Sent: 3/18    Received: 5/13    (56 days)
* $50 donation requested

Great cards and great find! Okay, I really think that $50.00 is way too much to pay for a player’s autograph, but for two, and the fact that it goes to charity, makes it sting a lot less. (I normally draw a hard line at $10 per card.) That was the strategy I took for the former AP quarterback, and after a long wait, it paid off. I really liked both of these releases, especially his SkyBox 1992 card, which is a sports photo masterpiece. His Action Packed is really more of a grab for a set that I like, but still it is of Jim doing something else other than cocking it back and making a throw. Over the years I’ve realized I like the offensive player photography where they are more or less alone in the frame. On defense, it’s typically the moment of impact, a big play, or looking intimidating that does it for me.

So Jim Kelly finished with (a very pedestrian looking by today’s standards) 376/676  for 5228 yards 33 touchdowns to 28 picks in 44 games for the Miami Hurricanes. Kelly led a revival of the U’s program, and coming off his 1981 season everybody expected bigger and brighter things, but instead he ended up having a disastrous shoulder injury 3 games into his senior season. Still he is remembered fondly by the school and was inducted into the Miami Hall of Fame in 1992. He is considered one of the famed ‘QB class of 1983 ‘ that consisted of: Dan Marino, Todd Blackledge, John Elway, Tony Eason, and even guys like Babe Laufenberg, and Gary Kubiak.

aprks92 kellyAt the draft, in 1983, the Bills made the choice on the signal caller, but he opted instead to sign with the rival USFL.  You see, Kelly’s rights were originally held by the Chicago Blitz, but they felt that Kelly should play where ever he wanted, so the USFL could build a stable of star quarterbacks. He went on a whirlwind tour of the league and eventually chose the climate controlled Astrodome in Houston, with head coach Jack Pardee and their groundbreaking offense.

Under Pardee, the team was noteworthy for bringing the Run N Shoot to Pro Football, and Pardee went out and hired Mouse Davis as offensive coordinator to make it happen. The offensive fireworks that the team brought were nothing short of spectacular. In his first full season under center for the Gamblers Kelly threw for 5219 yards on 370 completions to go along with 44 touchdowns, earning rookie and player of the year honors from the USFL. The next year, the Gamblers became the first pro football team to utilize the No Huddle Offense. He had some great receivers too, in the names of: Gerald McNeil, Clarence Verdin, Ricky Sanders, and Richard Johnson. In Jim Kelly’s hot hands, the Gamblers made the playoffs in both years. Unfortunately a shift to a fall schedule before the second season (to compete directly with the NFL) doomed the fledgling league. After the season, the Gamblers were merged with the New Jersey Generals. What would have been was an incredible offense of Jim Kelly and Herschel Walker– but it never came to pass as the league folded.

The NFL held a special supplemental draft, but as Jim’s rights were already held by the Buffalo Bills, he tried to engineer a trade. Eventually, Jim signed with Buffalo in 1986, pressed on by his father who wanted to live a dream of tailgating to his son’s games in Upper NY- a stone’s throw from where they lived. Although Jim lamented the outdoor cold weather of Buffalo, he proved himself wrong, by really turning the team around and becoming the centerpiece to the Bills attack. Kelly quickly became adept at the Bills No Huddle Offense, – nicknamed the ‘K-Gun’. Few teams’ defenses could keep up with the Bills no huddle attack, and by 1988 (with the final addition of Thurman Thomas,) the Buffalo Bills were the premiere team in the AFC. Jim had some awesome weapons in Andre Reed and later also, James Lofton, but among the ones that was overlooked the most was his center- Kent Hull who played with Jim (technically) since Kelly’s days with the Generals. With Jim at the helm the Bills won 4 AFC titles in a row from 1990- 1993, but never won a Super Bowl title. Still Kelly earned a heaping of accolades and All Pro awards until his retirement after the 1996 season. His number has also been retired by the Bills and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002. He also dabbled in broadcasting briefly, handling WLAF color commentary for the USA Network back in 1991 and 1992. Combining Jim’s USFL #s with his NFL numbers gives him well over 45,000 career passing yards and 320 passing touchdowns. His number has also been retired by the Bills.

Jim has spent a great deal of his time giving back to the community, as his son tragically passed away from Krabbe Disease, in 2005. He also spends much time working football camps for children in Upper NY and is dedicated to keeping the Bills in Buffalo. You can write him courtesy of Hunter’s Hope Foundation with a donation for his autograph.

USFL    36/36   Att 1154   Comp 730  Yds 9842   Pct 63.3   Td 83   Int 45
NFL/GP  160/160   Att  4779    Comp  2874    Yds 35467    Pct 60.1     Td  237   Int 175   Rat 84.4   |  Rush 304   Yds 1049  Avg 3.5  Td 7   Lg 3.5

Fuller, William

Card: SkyBox Impact 1992
Acquired: In Person 1993, Houston Oilers Training Camp

Defensive end William Fuller would leap to the NFL after playing two note worthy seasons for the Baltimore Stars of the USFL. After leaving the USFL he would report to the Rams, but they subsequently traded his rights to the Houston Oilers as part of the trade that sent Jim Everett to Los Angeles. At first it appeared that the Rams got the better end of the deal, as while Jim Everett passed for good numbers and established himself as a top end quarterback Fuller’s sack numbers were slow to increase. Despite his slow production by 1988, Fuller tied for a team high with 8.5 sacks under coach Jerry Glanville. His 1989 and 1990 seasons would also show marked improvement.  1991 would be his best season as a pro as Fuller would finish 2nd in the NFL in sacks with 15, and be named to the ProBowl for the first time. After a down year in 1992, Fuller would return to double digit form again in 1993 making 10 sacks but Bud Adams made good on breaking up the Oilers, and let the venerable defensive lineman go via free agency to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1994.

William would pick up where he left off, making 35.5 and 7 fumble recoveries over the next 3 seasons for the Eagles. Each season he’d also be named to the Pro Bowl, but after 1996 he’d leave via free agency again for the San Diego Chargers, and retire after the 1998 season.  At the time of his retirement his 100.5 sacks ranked him top 25 all time.

Since retirement Fuller has been named to UNC’s sports HoF, the 50th Anniversiary team, and has is active in programs to help prevent diabetes.  He has donated time to coach at the local high school in Virginia Beach and is a real estate developer.

SkyBox too attempted to create a premium line of football cards in 1992. While Stadium Club was impressive, and Fleer was lowering the bar, Skybox’s Impact was just- well confusing. You just didn’t get which brand was actually the premium brand of SkyBox’s football line with a Primetime and Impact line that were both pretty nice looking. The real problem was Skybox didn’t trade for a year or two before they came out with a the premium line, so the market just got muddled down. While their team MVP cards and special mini poster insert cards were amazing, Skybox’s general design for their Primetime cards left much to be desired- much as in the William Fuller card above. It’s strictly okay by design standards with a generic shadow on a gray-silver plane, but what is up with the | | | | in the background? Skybox also had this penchant for gigantically displaying their logo on their cards, which was equally distracting, especially with the background isolated in a single color. The team name “Oilers” goes up the side on the right which is a complete design gaffe. Take one moment to look at your DVD collection. Do you notice on the spine of every DVD the type goes down the right?  It’s just easier to read that way and it has always been sort of an unspoken standard for many years. I like how they added the number, but it’s turned into a disastrous tangent with his fist slightly obscuring the 9 on the 95. William’s name is tracked out, which is maybe a bit much, but the other tangent as his name almost taps the top of his helmet is equally annoying. I wasn’t a big fan of this line of Skybox cards in the end, but the “Impact” series that they debuted earlier that year was cutting edge at the time.

G/Gs  194/160   Tac  483    Sac  100.5   Fum 19   Int  2     Yds 9     Avg 4.5   Lg 9   Td 0