Heisman Highlight: Tony Dorsett


Heisman Highlight

Name: Tony Dorsett
Position: Running Back
College: Pittsburgh Panthers
Class: Senior
Winning Year: 1976 – 42nd Award
Official Heisman Profile: Click Here

Interesting Notes: Dorsett set numerous NCAA rushing records including most yards gained, most seasons gaining 1,000 yards, most seasons gaining 1,500 yards, most rushes, most yards rushing, and most yards gained in a season…led Pitt to a national title over Georgia as a senior…rushed for 6,082 yards in his four-year career…joined the Dallas Cowboys in 1977 and won Rookie of the Year honors and played in the Super Bowl alongside Roger Staubach, Heisman Winner of 1963… was elected to the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 1994.

1978 Topps #315

Featured Card: 1978 Topps #315. Tony’s successful NFL career with one of the league’s most popular teams has kept him in the minds of many fans and collectors. Despite his rookie card being 33 years old, there is still a lot of activity on the secondary market. There are tons of listings on eBay with a wide range of prices and a pretty clear grading preference. The token much higher than anything else listing carries an asking price of $325 (+5.95 shipping) but it looks like the most popular range is $30-$40.

NOTE: You can find all of my Heisman Highlight Features by clicking the post banner above.


Heisman Highlight: Roger Staubach


Heisman Highlight

Name: Roger Staubach
Position: Quarterback
College: Navy Midshipmen
Class: Junior
Winning Year: 1963 – 29th Award
Official Heisman Profile: Click Here

Interesting Notes: Staubach was labeled as “the greatest quarterback Navy ever had”…was just the fourth Junior to win the coveted award…ran away from the competition with the seventh largest voting margin the history of the Heisman…served four years active duty in the Navy, including one year in Vietnam…played Hall of Fame career with Dallas Cowboys becoming one of the most prolific quarterbacks and team leaders in history…elected to National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 1981 and Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

1972 Topps #200

Featured Card: 1972 Topps #200. Due to military service, Staubach waited nearly a decade between winning the Heisman and having his own rookie card, but it has become one of the most recognized football cards in history and is certainly the centerpiece of many collections. Most raw copies of the card come in just under $100 while highly graded copies often carry a price tag of $400 or more. While doing my research, I found one PSA 8.5 listed for $1,300 and an SCG 92 for $975, but those were the only two that were nearly that high.

NOTE: You can find all of my Heisman Highlight Features by clicking the post banner above.



Dreams. Goals. Aspirations.

We are all familiar with these three ideas. From early childhood through the winter of our lives, we all strive to achieve certain personal conquests. Be it a humble accomplishment that only you could recognize or be it worldwide acknowledgement for an incredible feat, we all have something for which we are reaching. The carrot on a stick. The holy grail. The fire inside. Something always keeps us going.

For one undersized football player growing up in the 70s and 80s in northern Florida, all of those dreams, goals, and aspirations have come to fruition. The dream of playing professional football? Check. The goal of playing for the Dallas Cowboys? Check. The aspiration of being the greatest running back of all time? Check. And now that all of that has been accomplished, there was one last professional feat to be achieved: immortal enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


That undersized football player who had to wait seemingly forever to have his name called in the 1990 NFL Draft and then went on to rewrite the record books has achieved all of these dreams. He has accomplished all of these goals. He has taken ownership of all of these aspirations. And now his entire career has culminated to the one moment so many dream of yet so few achieve.

Emmitt Smith has been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

From a card collector’s perspective, Emmitt’s career has culminated in his enshrinement in more ways than one. Not only has my lifelong favorite football player been recognized for all of his amazing feats, but now a small part of my Emmitt Smith card collection has been proven correct. I have a handfull of Hall of Fame-themed cards in my Emmitt collection, my favorite of which is shown below.

2000 Upper Deck Legends Canton Calling

Canton no longer needs to call.

I was fortunate to, more accidentally than anything, watch Emmitt’s induction on Saturday evening. I know these things are announced far ahead of time, but I did not realize it was this past weekend already. Luckily for me, my wife and I were channel surfing and nothing else was terribly appealing. For anyone not able to catch Emmitt’s acceptance speech, it can be viewed in its entirety here.

And for the record, I do not mean any disrespect to Russ Grimm, Rickey Jackson, Dick LeBeau, Floyd Little, John Randle, or Jerry Rice. But when your favorite athlete of all time gets inducted into the Hall of Fame, it’s a pretty cool thing.

Congrats, Emmitt.

Get Off My [Card]


In my continuing dry season of being sans-scanner, here is another dose of old images that I was going through and found amusing:

From 1990 through 2000, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith were part of one of the best offenses in NFL history, or at least in the 1990s. Both were important factors in three Super Bowl victories and in a few months, both will be Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees. As football players (a true team sport), they needed one another to reach the heights of gridiron success they obtained.

However, the world of cardboard is a quintessential one-man sport. A vast majority of cards feature one player and one player only. Yet, as luck would have it, even in this realm Troy and Emmitt will forever be linked. For team or set collectors, this may not be a big deal. However, as a player collector, I can’t help but notice that Troy seems to be lurking in quite a few corners of my Emmitt collection.

Sometimes, Troy just didn’t have enough time to get out of the way. In order for the action shot to feel right, he had to be included:

1997 Stadium Club1998 Ultra Top 30
Click images for full-sized scans

Other times, it appears he tried to run off the card, but just couldn’t resist turning around and looking for the photog that was about to snap Emmitt’s picture:

1992 Pacific1993 Fleer
1996 Score CL2001 Pacific
Click images for full-sized scans

He occassionally snuck onto cards with other culprits:

1996 Zenith Triple Trouble
2008 Donruss Classics Classic Quads Gold
Click images for full-sized scans

And other times he worked alone to steal the spotlight:

1999 Score Great Combos
2000 Topps Combos
Click images for full-sized scans

He was often just standing around, waiting to be captured in the moment:

1996 Pro Line1996 Ultra
1997 Topps Gallery2001 Upper Deck
Click images for full-sized scans

Although he occassionally had to run into the frame to be included:

1996 Select2000 Bowman's Best
Click images for full-sized scans

Lastly, he even went so far as to take a ghostly and rather creepy approach to get onto a few more of Emmitt’s cards:

1997 Action Packed2000 Collector's Edge EG
Do I really need to explain this anymore?

In total, Aikman appears on a measley 2.75% of my Emmitt Smith cards. However, when you consider that a lot of sets in the 90s and early 2000s featured cut out player shots with no backgrounds, that is a fair number of accidental inclusions. Perhaps there was some sort of conspiracy between Aikman and the photogs hired out by card companies. Maybe Emmitt is included on just as many Aikman cards as set producers simply liked the idea of showing great teammate cominations. Or better yet, it’s entirely possible that I have read WAY too into these cards and really just need to get my computer back so I can start scanning new cards to write about.

It does make me wonder, though, if Emmitt was ever caught singing, “Hey! You! Get off of my card. Hey! You! Get off of my card. Hey! You! Get off of my card. Don’t hang around, ’cause two’s a crowd on my card, baby!”

Fantasy Focus: Week 3


Fantasy Focus

As you gear up for this weekend’s upcoming games by realigning your fantasy rosters to optimize matchups, let’s take a quick look back at last week’s studs. (Note: Points listed are directly from the First and Goal Fantasy League and may not represent point totals in your individual leagues)

QB: Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts — Last week, Manning once again proved that he is one of the league’s elite passers. Completing 24 of 35 passes for 379 yards and 4 touchdowns, Manning compiled an impressive 29 fantasy points. It not for his lone interception, Manning would have had another nearly perfect game.

*Fantasy Stud of the Week*
RB: Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars — Jones-Drew certainly caught everyone’s attention last week. After accumulating 119 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns, nearly all fantasy owners were either loving or hating MJD. Running against one of the worst rush defenses in the league, it is a wonder he didn’t do more damage than he did. Earning 31 fantasy points, MJD was certainly the Fantasy Stud of the Week.

Maurice Jones-Drew
Click image for a full sized scan

WR: Santana Moss, Washington Redskins — After two weeks of forgettable performances, Moss reminded everyone in week 3 why he should be taken seriously. Moss caught 10 passes for a career high 178 yards and 1 touchdown against the Lions after having just 5 receptions for 41 yards in weeks 1 and 2 combined. Moss’s 23 fantasy points were tops amongst wide receivers last week.

TE: Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers — Another player experiencing a breakout performance last week was Davis, who reeled in 7 receptions for 96 yards and a career high 2 touchdowns. With the injury to Frank Gore, the 49ers are claiming they are not changing their gameplan, but Davis certainly appears to be a bigger part of the offense this year than in the past. He may not be able to amass 21 fantasy points every week, but he will certainly not be a bottom feeder in your league(s) the rest of the season.

K: Olindo Mare, Seattle Seahawks — A relative unknown, Mare proved to be the best fantasy kicker last week. Connecting on 4 field goals, including two 40+ yard tri-fectas, and tacking on an extra point, Mare’s 15 points were tops amongst kickers in week 3.

D/ST: Dallas Cowboys — After two pathetic outings, the Cowboys’ defense finally showed up to play last week. By allowing a miserly 7 points and totaling 3 sacks, 2 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery and 1 touchdown, the Cowboys scored 19 fantasy points, best in the league in week 3.

ROOKIE: Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings — It only took until week 3 to see our first repeat fantasy focus mention. Once again, Harvin found a way to make a difference last week. He only had 51 receiving yards and -8 rushing yards, but had an impressive 180 return yards, including a 101-yard return for a touchdown. Harvin’s 20 fantasy points were the highest amongst NFL rookies last week.

Check back next week for another edition of Fantasy Focus as we recognize the week’s best fantasy performers. Best of luck to you in your respective fantasy football leagues!

When Players Switch Teams


The recent signings of Michael Vick and Brett Favre, and the subsequent card announcements from Upper Deck, Topps, and Panini have got me to thinking about the whole first-card-for-new-team scenario. It seems that card makers have several options when it comes to players switching teams. Obviously the very late signings of Vick and Favre created a whole new host of problems when it came to including them in sets, so I am talking mostly about a basic trade or free agent situation. Just like almost any football card related topic, I am going to fall back to my Emmitt Smith collection for examples.

2003 Topps2003 Ultra
2003 Bowman2003 Gridiron Kings
Click each image for a full sized scan

1. The Old Jersey with New Logo Card This is probably the most typical trade/free agent card. For almost every product released, except high end cards released well after the season begins, companies use game action shots from the year before. When a player switches teams during the off-season, obviously there are no game photos to be used. Often a photo featuring the player in his old uniform will be used, but the card will show the new team’s name and logo. This is probably the cleanest way to take care of the new team issue, but it can get messy for team collectors. Do you obtain a card because the player is still in your favorite team’s jersey, or stay away because it has an enemy logo on the front?

2. The Press Conference Card This concept was used a lot for draft picks just a few years ago, especially in basketball for some reason. Personally, I hate these cards. I applaud the care companies trying to use the most recent photograph possibly, showing the player “happily” displaying his new jersey or team hat. However, these guys are paid to play the game. I do not care that Emmitt Smith can afford a fine Italian suit. I want to see him in pads and helmet about to cross the goal line or lay a devastating stiff arm. Forunately, these cards seem to be losing popularity amongst the card manufacturers.

3. The Practice Jersey Card This is another, better attempt at the companies trying to get the most recent photography possible to show the player as a part of his new team. Obviously for products released before the season begins, it is impossible to get a real game action shot, so a practice shot is the next best thing. Quarterback cards are probably the worst in this category because of the blinding red protection jerseys they often wear in practice, as seen in the recently released images of the new Vick and Favre Upper Deck cards. Some collectors seem to prefer these over other pre-season options, while others hate them.

4. The Air Brushed Card Now before I get too much criticism, I realize the Emmitt card above was probably not air brushed by a graphic design employee of Donruss. This just happens to be the only Emmitt card I have that shows him in a true Cardinals jersey before he actually played for the Cardinals. One recent example of a true air brushed card is the upcoming 2009 Topps Finest card of Brett Favre. Topps did not wait until Favre played a game (pre-season or real) to get this shot. They simply pulled an older photo and changed the jersey colors and logos. This was very common practice in vintage card sets when team jerseys and helmets were much simpler and card companies often used the same player photo year after year
(h/t Gellman and Nearmint).

What do you guys think? If it’s too early to get a true action shot of a player in his new jersey, which option would you rather see used?

Best of Both Worlds?


With the recent release of a few key football products for 2009, there has been some debate about featuring professional players in their college uniforms. We have rookie cards for the top draft picks in Donruss Elite and Upper Deck Icons that feature action shots of players in their college unis. We have the recent Topps Magic product, which features an entire checklist of players in their college unis, as this set is a tribute to the original Topps Magic set. Some people love this. Some people hate this. What if collectors could have the best of both worlds?

The card you see below was an insert in Upper Deck’s 2007 flagship release. The 45 card insert set featured some of today’s brightest stars and a few of yesterday’s greatest players in both their college AND pro uniforms. The concept was simple (College to Pros as the name implies), but from what I can tell, there are very few sets that have done this. As a huge college football fan, I would be more inclined to pick up the Larry Johnson card from this set since it would show LJ in his PSU #5 uniform, without having to pick up an early rookie card or 100% college-themed set. I can’t speak for everyone, but I assume most collectors that have a strong college interest would feel the same way.

Click image for full sized scan

So what do you guys think? Is this card great because it features both college and pro uniforms, or would you rather just see it one way or the other? Would your answer change if the alternative was seeing which ever uni you’re less inclined to like (pro for college fans and college for pro fans)?

On one side note, what was up with the belly jerseys in the 80s? Who thought that was ever a good idea, especially given the fact that one of the most vulnerable places on your body would be even more vulnerable to helmets, cleats, and astro-turf?