By Paul Deeds aka bobreaker50

 

As I’ve endured the NFL lockout it has reminded me how few things in sports are stable these days. At the end of every NFL season I sweat out the future of several free agents. Will Nnamdi Asumugha stay in Oakland? Where will Michael Huff play in 2011? Can the Raiders keep both Michael Bush and Zach Miller? After these questions are answered I will have to learn about all the new players wearing Silver and Black as I did with Kamiron Whimbley, Quenton Groves, and Jason Campbell last year.

 

The one constant on most teams is the coaching staff. This isn’t necessarily the case in Oakland, but most teams have some consistency there. Sometimes even assistant coaches stay with teams for long periods of time. In the case of my Raiders Willie Brown has been on staff for over 20 seasons and John Fassell has been coaching special teams while watching Lane Kiffin, Tom Cable, and now Hue Jackson take on the head coaching duties. I believe a coach set is a great idea for card manufactures to consider. It can appeal to all the different types of collectors, team, set, player, and investment collectors would all be able to appreciate a set that featured coaching staffs. I also believe it would be welcomed with open arms by the league for myriad reasons.

 

The potential for value is amazing. There are a few coach autograph sets out there, but these are typically limited to head coaches. My set would feature everyone on staff. Imagine getting Jon Gruden’s autograph while he was a quarterbacks coach in Green Bay. Some Packer fans may not even have the knowledge about how many great coaches began as assistants on their team’s staff. A coaching card set would increase team collectors pride in their team because they would be able to claim former assistants as their own. So many men languish in obscurity as low level assistants. Leslie Fraizer finally got his chance with the Vikings, but could he have gotten a shot earlier with some extra exposure? Owners and GMs could benefit greatly from these sets as well because it might remind them of who else is out there when the coaching carousel starts up during the off season and they would be able to take pride in letting the world know that they gave a young coach, who turned into the next Lombardi, his first shot at coaching in the greatest sports league in the world. This is a great way for card companies to make some money and add innovation to the hobby while also giving assistants some much needed publicity.

 

The potential for great cards is limitless. Higher end inserts could include game used items such as Bill Belicheck hoodie swatches, pieces of game plans that coaches famously use to cover their mouths while calling plays, and challenge flags. There could be player’s choice inserts featuring star players favorite coaches. Peyton Manning could choose Tom Moore or his dad or his high school coach and the card could feature Manning and said coach together with autos of the coach and player. Team cards could feature autos of head coaches and all three coordinators. Plenty of father son and brother tandems exist with in the league. Jim and John Harbaugh autos on the same card! Rex and Rob Ryan sound bite cards with famous quotes on them would be some of the funniest cards on the market for sure. There could be Super Bowl autographs galore. Dual autos of John Madden and Tom Flores! A triple auto of Chuck Noll, Bill Cower, and Mike Tomlin! Head to Head Game used cards featuring challenge flags from the Super Bowl! I’d also love to see a certified Bill Callahan auto and maybe a cut auto from another great Raider head coach who is no longer with us John Rauch. My list could go on and on!

 

The potential for a coach set is huge. The coaches themselves will appreciate the set due to an increase in notoriety for themselves and collectors of all types will enjoy a coach set. It can appeal to team collectors by expanding their knowledge of the team and it gives them more autographs and GU to collect. It will appeal to set collectors because it will be full of game used and relics which creates an appealing set to the eye. It will also appeal to those who collect for profit as many head coaches begin as assistants so the autographed cards will have investment potential. Lastly player collectors will also be intrigued as they can learn more about their favorite players through the players choice inserts. It’s time for the card hobby to stop overlooking arguably the most important piece to a great team and a great sport; the coaches. Put the coaches in the hobby! They’ve been on the bench of our hobby for far too long!