Thomas, Robb

Cards: Topps 1992, Score 1991, Stadium Club 1992, Fleer Ultra 1991
Acquired: TTM 2011, C/o Home
Sent:  4/27   Received:  5/13  (23 days)

I don’t know why, but Robb Thomas had a few cards in my collection that just kept popping up when I was looking for a player to send to. Then all of a sudden lit up with TTM successes from him, so after a few days of debate I grabbed a stack of his cards and sent them out. In less than a month I got a response from the former Beaver on these 4 cards to which he also inscribed one of them in ball point pen with, “Go Beavs!”

Robb Thomas was a class member of the super draft of 1989. Drafted near the top of the 6th round by the Kansas City Chiefs, he’d be a nice acquisition for the team with 4.55 speed.  (The wide receiver class statistical output quickly drops off after him, with New Orleans Saints WR Floyd Turner being the only notable blip on the radar after Thomas.)  After a weak rookie season, in which Robb spent half the season on IR, he’d make 8 receptions for 58 yards and 2 touchdowns while adjusting to Marty Schottenheimer‘s offense in 1989. In 1990 he’d start 12 games for the Chiefs snagging 41 receptions for 545 yards and 4 touchdowns. A sure handed pass catcher with good instincts, Robb would follow his 1990 campaign up with a similar 1991, leading the team with 43 receptions and chalking up 495 yards again starting 12 games alongside rookie Tim Barnett.

Thomas would sign with the Seahawks in 1992 where he provided depth to the team and would start only 1 game  over 3 seasons. In 1995, Robb would start 2 games and make 12 receptions for 239 yards and a career high 19.9 yards a reception. In 1996 Robb would sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and play for rookie head coach Tony Dungy. Back in the lineup for his most solid playing time since 1991, he’d make 33 receptions for 427 yards and 2 touchdowns in 8 starts. He’d return to the bench in 1997, before returning again briefly in 1998, to help out the Buccaneers devastated wide receiver corps and  ironically make the longest reception of his career, and then retire soon thereafter.

Topps in  1992 finally started seeing the light and the majority of their cards matched this respectable quality card of Robb that they put out. The Stadium Club card, (which was their premier line,) was unique, had higher quality imagery, and the back of the cards had the player’s first card appearance and “The Sporting News” rating system. It was an obvious step up. Fleer on the other hand fumbled the ball right out of the gate. After a decent debut in 1990, Fleer decided in 1991 to release 2 lines as well, but it was gallingly apparent that the 1991 regular was retooled so that it was an even lower quality, imagery, and design than the previous year’s offering. The 1991 Fleer Ultra set was a disaster in itself. I really disagree with squeezing so many type faces into the player information area and the silver seems too strong and almost unnecessary to the design space. The back of this card is even more ghastly, with simple usage of the selection tool to isolate player figures that have arbitrary body parts cut off and a centered picture isolated in a NFL logo mask. An absolute travesty. It was a struggle in approach and feel to even reach the quality of their debut set. The Score 1991 card is a great action shot of Robb, and while they seem to have clearly lost a step, it’s just not as obvious a loss in design as Fleer displays or as much as Topps and its Stadium Club line gained.

Robb was a Tecmo Super Bowl veteran on an offense that largely relied on the ground game of Okoye and Word. Respected by the Tecmo gods, Thomas was always an underrated receiver that could be counted on in a pinch. A big Beaver backer, Robb enjoys sporting events and has dabbled in high school coaching as a wide receivers coach for Summit High School in Oregon where he lives with his wife and kids.

G/Gs  136/37       Rec 174        Yds 2229        Avg  12.8           Td 11         Lg 50