When I was growing up in the 80s and 90s, I only rooted for one local (i.e. in my state) professional sports team, the Denver Broncos.
Colorado is Broncos country and I was raised on the Orange Crush from an early age. When I played football in my yard with the neighbor kids, I would pretend to be John Elway passing to the Three Amigos on offense and I was always Karl Mecklenburg when it was my turn to play defense.
By the time I got to high school, the Broncos had ditched their Orange Crush uniforms and had finally surrounded Elway with the talent he needed to win his first Super Bowl. While Terrel Davis, Bill Romanowski, Rod Smith, Steve Atwater, Shannon Sharpe, and Elway were the popular players of this time, Ed McCaffrey was the player I looked up to and attempted to emulate.
Eddy was everything I wanted to be on the football field. He was tough, gritty, scrappy, and fast. I was skinny, slow, and did not enjoy being tackled or hit, which was not the ideal skill set for football. But, I did the best I could and I contend I looked just as cool wearing 87 on my jersey as Ed.
To make matters worse (or maybe better, depending on how you look at it) our football team was a rushing team. During my high school career, my classmate Wade Sumpter rushed for 6441 yards (5th all-time in the state) on 723 attempts (7th all-time) and scored 110 touchdowns (3rd all-time) for 676 points (3rd all-time). You don't reach those numbers by passing often.
I spent my freshman, sophomore, and junior years playing on the JV team. I just wasn't big enough, fast enough, or tough enough to play at the varsity level. But during my senior year, after a few players ahead of me on the depth chart got injured, I became a starter on the varsity team. I ended up being a decent tight end (I was too slow to play flanker, so they hid me on the line) and made the All-Conference team.
Ed McCaffrey was a team player and did what was necessary for his team to win. He wasn't the star of the team, but without him, the Broncos may not have won back-to-back Super Bowls.
Unfortunately I wasn't collecting cards while Ed was an active player in the League, so here are some cards I picked up at my LCS a while back.
BONUS VIDEO of one of the greatest crack-back blocks in NFL history. Ed lays-out a Green Bay defender and completes it with a finger-point (and please excuse the accompanying music).