Friday, November 28, 2014

The Day After.

       I hope you and yours had a very enjoyable Thanksgiving.  I trust you counted your blessings and gorged yourself to the point of explosion.  While obviously I enjoy the holiday's cavalcade of food and family, I find the day after Thanksgiving to be the better day (and it is certainly not because of any sort of sales or the like, I would rather jab rusty forks into both eyes before going to the mall today).  I love this particular Friday because it is one of the very few weekdays during the year it is acceptable and practically expected that you sit around in your pajamas, watch bad TV, and eat leftovers

All this brings us to the matter at hand, it was 30 years ago today (kinda) that Doug Flutie went from quirky curiosity to bonafide miracle worker.  Over the years, Flutie fashioned enough miracles to be named pope 100 times over, but you never forget the first.  I will always remember that game as long as I live; my brother and I sat and watched it on the day after Thanksgiving 1984 and became instant Doug Flutie converts.  The man could do no wrong and for 20+ years, he kept proving himself over and over and over when everyone doubted and counted him out. 

Over the years I have built up quite a collection of Flutie cards and I am going to take a moment between my pie for breakfast and my big honkin' sandwich for lunch to share them with you:
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Those top two cards perfectly celebrate the Hail Flutie, one the classic shot of him with his fist in the air, the other being embraced by his brother. 

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Flutie's first year in San Diego was the only time he was offered the chance to start all 16 games in a season in the NFL.  While not statistically his best season, I find this little tidbit hard to comprehend, given all his success otherwise.  It also didn't help that those Chargers were kinda short on receivers (no pun intended).

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Only in retrospect have I grown to appreciate Doug's time in San Diego for what it turned out to be: he mentored Drew Brees in the ways of both quarterbacking and overcoming the NFL's bias against shorter players at the position.  I doubt Drew Brees is nearly the player he is today without being a teammate of Doug Flutie for four years.

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The early aughts were quite the dichotomy of vintage and ultra-modern designs.  If something didn't look like it was made in the 1950's, it was covered in shiny baubles and chrome. 
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Did I mention that all of Flutie's second career in the NFL took place between the ages of 36 and 42?  During the time I have been trying to figure out how not to get winded walking up the stairs and/or dealing with my arthritic knee, Doug was reinventing himself as the scrappiest scrapper that ever scrapped.
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Of all Doug's regular issue cards, that 1999 Ultra card of him running in the snow is probably my favorite.  Then again, my love of snow cards is very well documented.
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While Pacific never made the best cards around, I do miss them just for all the quirks of their base set die cuts and garish over-the-top backgrounds.
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I never have decided upon a set way to order the base and chrome cards of a chronological player page. I am never ever consistent even within the same player.
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Then again, it was probably Upper Deck's sameness that was one of the contributing factors to them falling out of fashion with collectors.  Somewhere in between Pacific and Upper Deck, the truth lies.
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I think most of us have forgotten how big a deal it was when Flutie came back from Canada and played so well for Buffalo.  He was a goddamned cultural phenomenon for a little while.
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I think it also bears repeating that Buffalo has suffered a great curse because of the foolishness of Wade Phillips and the team higher ups.  For 2 years, Flutie led Buffalo to miracle win after miracle win, then they switched horses mid-stream and started the immortal Rob Johnson in their 1999 playoff game...
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...for whatever reason, be it money or stature, Johnson started that playoff game and the Bills got out-miracled and the Bills haven't played a playoff game since going on 15 seasons and counting. No one will ever be able to explain why Flutie didn't start that game but everyone in hindsight, even the coach himself, thinks it was a dumb move.  Yup.
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Not one but two cards on this page are see-thru acrylic.  The late 90's were such an interesting time for cards.
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Hmmmmmm, a few inserts seem to have leaked onto my player pages here, which are usually reserved for base cards and parallels.
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It is hard to tell with the reflection from the page, but that vertical Flair card is slightly miscut, with some white showing on the bottom. 
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and I am still trying to figure out what that little "2000" logo is on that Skybox Metal parallel is.  I take it back, the late 90's were frustrating as hell for cards.

I was really confused about that card with Doug in a red Bills jersey because I don't ever recall the Bills wearing red jerseys ever (I'm right) but then it dawned on me that that is a Pro Bowl uniform. 
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And look at that Pacific Invincible card in the middle, the scan does no justice to just how brash and bright and gloriously ugly that card is. 

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Nothing more exciting to depict on a football card than a press conference.

Sadly, I do not have many of Doug's cards from his days in Canada.  This seems outrageous since in the eight years he played there, he fashioned not only a hall of fame resume but he was named the greatest player in CFL history.  If any of my readers north of the border want to help remedy that, please email me.  Thanks.
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Those last five cards are from Doug's first go around in the NFL.  Turns out, winning did not trump Mike Ditka or Raymond Berry's notion that a quarterback should be 6'4".  Both of their coaching resume's (minus a fluky 1985) seem to bear out what that prejudice adds up to.

No player collection would be complete without a look at all the swatchy shiny goodness of the inserts.
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Here you see the only game used football card I have in my entire collection plus two more cards that show Doug's days in Boston College including the exact date of the Hail Flutie. 

Playoff liked the idea of Alma Mater Materials so much, they used the subset in two different years and seemed to capture Flutie in practically the same pose for both.
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These show some golden numbered parallels and a couple of vertical inserts.
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Honestly, I am not sure if Flutie or Kerry Collins ever lead the league in anything, but okay sure.

I am sure they must have made more cards of Doug's second go around in New England but that 'Revolution' parallel is the only thing I have that comes close.
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Plus, we all remember the last thing Doug did on a football field, right?

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There is an odd sameness about all that shiny and texture and lightning bolts.  Maybe it's because they all have Doug in the home blues?

Here we go, now we are getting a little kooky with die cuts, die cuts everywhere.
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I just noticed I scanned that Hard Hats insert upside down.  Who's in charge of the quality control on this blog?!?!

All of these cards are really shiny and none of them really scanned that way.  Pity.
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Here you see a pretty odd texture card called Net-Fusions, where the background is a piece of netting.  This effect kind of worked for hockey (and obviously was best used for basketball) and they sort of shoe-horned it into baseball as part of the foul pole but I am at a loss as to how it applies to football, unless they want to include the net that catches the football after kicks.  Maybe there is a good reason Pacific is long gone. 
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The last three cards here are his USFL rookie card and a couple more Canadian cards, though I just realized the blue one is a double. 

I am gonna end with a direct window to the Hail Mary play in case you don't click through my links. Even 30 years later, I am not tired of watching it.  I doubt I ever will be.

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