Friday, October 20, 2006
Classic card of the week
*Special Friday edition
Tom Waddle, 1992 Collector’s Edge
When people hear the name Tom Waddle, they often say to themselves, “Who is that? Like, a rapper or something? Sounds badass.” But in reality, Tom Waddle was a wide receiver, who was also, strangely, white, and not very badass, unless you consider one catch for seven yards in –8-degree weather badass, which, I guess, kind of is. Poor Tom Waddle was caught in a generational gap of Caucasian wide receivers. He was too late for the days of the talented white receivers, who weren’t just defined by their whiteness – guys like Steve Largent, Phil McConkey, and Chris Collinsworth. And alas, he was also too early for the resurgence of the Caucasian wideout, where guys like Drew Bennett, Ed McCaffrey, and Wayne Chrebet thrived in the NFL despite being white. In fact, back in 1992, Tom Waddle was the only white receiver in the NFL, unless you counted Sterling Sharpe, whose great-great-great grandmother was 1/8 Irish (little known factoid*). But Tom Waddle did not let anything stop him (except opposing defenses). Back in the early 90’s, there was an ongoing debate: Who is better – Tom Waddle or Jerry Rice? On one side, you had Mrs. Waddle and three really, really drunk Bears’ fans, and on the other side, you had the rest of the world. It was a fierce debate, that rages to this day. It is raging all around me as I write this, actually. People are throwing things. Waddle made several big plays as a Bears’ receiver, including catching the winning TD pass in Chicago’s 1992 opening game, at which point he celebrated by pulling down his pants, except he had another pair of pants on underneath, which delighted the crowd, but not announcer Joe Buck, who called the celebration, “a disgrace to everything the Statue of Liberty stands for.” The Bears were penalized six yards for the start of their next game. Later that year, Waddle actually beat Deion Sanders for a touchdown, but Sanders claimed that “he wasn’t paying attention,” and demanded a rematch. When Waddle refused, Sanders agreed to race a cheetah instead, but had to cancel the event when he sprained an ankle doing something similarly awesome.
*may not be accurate
Did you know?
Tom Waddle was not nicknamed the “Polar Bear,” but he should have been.