I showed you a 1969 Topps-style Winston Hill card (Dec. 2), and cards of Bucky Pope (Dec. 14) and Booth Lusteg (Dec. 17). Both of the latter had never before appeared on contemporary football cards, while Hill was part of a number of national and regional issues.
Today I'm going to show you what I've come with for a former NFL player who did appear on several football cards, but only after his playing days, when he was head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, circa 1991-92.
Skimming the internet, you'd get the idea that Rich Kotite was the epitome of ineffectual NFL coaches. His name is found on virtually every list of "Worst NFL Coaches Ever." That distinction may well have been earned as he had a 37-29 record as head coach of the Eagles 1991-94 and was just 4-28 with the New York Jets, 1995-96.
His name continues to be evoked in Philly and New York when a current coach is going badly or made a particularly egregious mistake.
To be honest, Kotite's career as a player in the NFL was not any more distinguished. He was drafted out of Wagner college by the Minnesota Vikings in the 18th round (247th overall) in 1965.
Kotite, a tight end, had come to the attention of NFL scouts for his outstanding record with the 10-0-0 Wagner Seahawks, champions of the Middle Atlantic North College Division. That season he set school records for pass receptions (56) and passing yards (943). Those stats brought his 1962-65 career stats at Wagner to 119 catches for 2,065 yards, both school records.
He went to camp that summer with both the Vikings and the Jets, but was unable to make a team. In 1967 he was on the roster of the N.Y. Giants, but appeared in only four games. With the Steelers in 1968 he had six receptions in the dozen games. He returned to the Giants in 1969, playing sparingly, and in 1970 was relegated to the taxi squad.
Kotite played the entire 1971 season with the Giants and was cut after a couple of unremarkable games with the team in 1972. He was 30 years old and the team's player representative.
There's lots of vilification of Kotite on the internet, but for a rather more balanced look, check out what Mark Bowden wrote about him in his book Bringing the Heat. Rich Kotite .
As you can see, I chose the 1972 Topps format for my Rich Kotite custom card. It's a nice shot of him in the environs of Yankee Stadium.