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A football team that I might love.

Every year, I go into the NFL season thinking, “I’m going to enjoy it.” And every year, by the middle of the season, I remember that I can’t stand the NFL. This year I couldn’t even make it to the first pre-season game without thinking, “This is just stupid.” There is no reasonable or logical explanation…I just can’t get into the product that is put on the field by either the NFL or the NCAA.

Maybe I’m too much of a rooter for the underdogs. I miss the XFL. I miss the Cincinnati Rockers of the AFL. Those games were exciting and fun to watch…but the NFL is not.

But finally, coming back to the Cincinnati area, a team that I might actually love…the Northern Kentucky River Monsters. Yeah, that’s right, nine whole syllables (ten if you count the “the”)! And check out that monstrosity of a mascot! I LOVE IT!

Of course, even with a cool mascot, a team could go wrong quickly. But one look at the helmet dispels any fears I previously had…

Is that not the most awesomest football helmet you have ever seen in your entire life???

The first home game is March 18, and I will probably be out of town that weekend. But if those plans should change and I am free that night…I WILL BE THERE! The next game is Monday, March 28, and if nothing else comes up…I WILL BE THERE! I still have to compare the rest of the schedule to my work schedule, but I will not miss out on seeing these guys bash heads at the Bank of Kentucky Center in Highland Heights, Kentucky…especially at only $7 (for the cheap seats).

The Northern Kentucky River Monsters (it just flows off the tongue, doesn’t it?) are one of six teams in the brand new Ultimate Indoor Football League. I wish them the best of luck and will do what I can (within my budget) to support the team and the league! Where do I buy a t-shirt?

QB is the toughest position to play in football

Real football that is, not that touch football that the NFL plays. Those wimps wouldn’t know how to play real football. They would all be crying by the end of the first series. Ooooh, you got a hangnail? Poor baby.

I’m still looking for some XFL cards, preferably packs. Let me know if you have some you want to get rid of.

Speaking of Rod Smart…

Rod He Hate Me Smart ToppsDoes anyone have any unopened packs of XFL cards they want to unload? Even some random cards? Or other XFL memorabilia that is just taking up too much room in your closet? I’m not going to break the bank for this stuff, but would like something to show for my fanhood. A trade would be even better…your random XFL stuff for cards of your favorite baseball team or whatever. Send me an e-mail at jasontcarter at gmail if you have anything that you want to get rid of and let me know what you expect in return.

Rod Smart is not dead

At least, not as far as I can determine. Read the rest of this entry

Whatever happened to…

Do you remember the XFL? Vince McMahon’s upstart football league captured the imagination of fans who were hungry for football, but went under after just one season of play. Personally, I loved the XFL’s faster-paced games and watched every week. I wanted football cards of XFL players, but at the time there were no companies producing them. What was a person to do? Well, you know me, I went and made some myself!

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Rod Smart was a running back for Western Kentucky University while I was a student there, and was a very popular player. He was not selected in the 2000 NFL draft, and after attending training camp with the San Diego Chargers he was released. He also spent some time north of the border in the CFL, but again was waived before playing a regular season game. In 2001, he signed with the Las Vegas Outlaws and became known for his nickname, “He Hate Me,” featured on the back of his jersey. He was a quick signer, returning this “card” in a little over two weeks. After the XFL folded, Smart caught on with the Philadelphia Eagles for 2001, and spent spent four years with the Carolina Panthers. He was most recently selected by Team Tennessee of the new All American Football League.

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Casey Weldon finished second in Heisman voting in 1991 to Desmond Howard, but his professional career was not overly impressive. He played with four NFL teams from 1992 to 1999, and ended up with the Birmingham Thunderbolts in the XFL in 2001. I printed two of these “cards” and sent them to him, writing in the letter that he could keep one if he wanted. I guess he didn’t want to, or he didn’t read the letter, because he sent them both back autographed. It took a little over a month. More recently, Weldon coached his alma mater North Florida Christian High School to a record of 23-5 in two seasons, but was fired in 2007 after losing his second straight state title.

I also printed “cards” of a couple of other guys around the same time because I wanted their autographs, but to my knowledge there was no cardboard of them yet.

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Brad Hoover is a fullback with Carolina. I had no idea he was still playing until I looked him up on Wikipedia. He had a huge game against the Green Bay Packers during his rookie season in a Monday Night Football game, rushing for over 100 yards. I printed this photo of him shortly after that game and sent away for his autograph. It came back in less than two weeks along with a black and white photo.

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Eric Crouch won the 2001 Heisman Trophy while playing with Nebraska, but failed to translate that into professional success. NFL teams thought he was too small to play quarterback, and tried to play him as a wide receiver or a safety. He performed well in the NFL Europe with Hamburg, with 25 tackles and 2 passes defended. He finally got the opportunity to play quarterback with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL, but was released last September after battling injuries. Crouch was selected by Team Texas with the third overall pick in the inaugural AAFL draft last month. The above photo was sent to him in December of 2000, and I didn’t receive it back until August of 2001. A great surprise, no doubt!

I hope the AAFL takes off. It would be nice to see the NFL get some real competition.

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