Neuheisel, Rick

Topps AAF 2019 Certified, #AU-RNE

CARDS: Topps AAF 2019, Topps AAF 2019 Certified
ACQUIRED: TTM 2019, C/o Home. Private Aquisition, 2022.
SENT: 4/8 RECEIVED: 10/19 (194 days)


  • Rick Neuheisel played QB and after his playing days ended became renowned for his offensive coaching system and philosophy.
  • Rick’s storied college career began at UCLA as a walk on in 1979.
  • He eventually got to suit up to hold placekicks, then saw playing time in his Junior and Senior years.
  • In 1983 he was named starter, lost the job to Steve Bono, reclaimed the job after Bono got injured, then went out on top with a win over a Top 5 opponent in the Rose Bowl.
  • Rick signed with the USFL’s San Antonio Gunslingers in 1984, and somehow managed to survive the legendarily cash-strapped franchise through 1985 (sacked a total of 120 times in two seasons).
  • During the 1987 Players’ Strike, he suited up for both the San Diego Chargers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a scab replacement.
  • Returned to UCLA and became a graduate assistant, and later a QB Coach- tutoring future NFL #1 pick Troy Aikman.
  • Served at UCLA through the 1993 season, leaving for greener pastures at Colorado in 1994.
  • Named HC in 1995, and stayed with the Buffs through ’98.
  • Then coached at Washington from 1999-02.
  • Made first stop at the professional level with the Baltimore Ravens, coaching there from 2005-07.
  • Returned to UCLA as HC from 2008-2011.
  • Has an 87-58 (.600) coaching record at the college level.
  • Went into sports studio broadcasting after that.
  • In 2018, Rick joined the Alliance of American Football, coaching with the Arizona Hotshots.
  • Team finished with a 5-3 record and a share of first place in the AAF West.


Neuheisel is well known in coaching circles as a wild card, offensive madman, even adopting ‘The Pistol’ offense at UCLA. He also was an early proponent of the spread offense before it really became en vogue. He’s also got a really interesting coaching tree he’s developing, as well with some of his AAF progeny going on to become successful coaches in their own right.

Initially when the AAF was formed, Mike Martz was tabbed to be HC of Arizona, but when Neuheisel came on board, he wanted to stay close to home- so Rick became HC of the Hotshots and Martz went to SD.

During that ride, Rick was seen as the one coming up with the crazy and wild ideas in the room for the league. Rick even came up with an idea that players would choose their teams instead of the teams doing a territorial draft- sorta like the TV show ‘The Voice’. Apparently Bill Polian didn’t understand or like this, and at one point began to steam, before Charlie Ebersol stepped in and squashed the idea.

When I saw the Hotshots play the Commanders in the league’s final contest, a very, very enthusiastic Rick Neuheisel fan from his Gunslinger days came down in a jersey and helmet during the pregame. Rick was so enthusiastic and excited about it, he invited the fan over the end zone stands and onto the field to meet Rick and talk to the team. It was a very wholesome fan moment.

Rick was one of my early finds from the AAF Topps set. Although it took a bit to get back to me, he did sign it on the back. No harm, no foul. I’d hoped to get his certified autograph before I posted this one, and while I had seen them in the wild, they were for an exorbitant price. Thankfully my friend CFL Fan in Philly came through and offered to fill the rest of my set needs at a really nice price. Rick’s true rookie card- his USFL Gunslingers issue, continues to be a bit overpriced for my tastes, so I was happy to add him on these and close the book on him there.