Saturday, January 21, 2012

2006 Topps Total Matt Light, Dan Koppen, and Stephen Neal

Who is this? New England Patriots Offensive Linemen Matt Light, Dan Koppen, and Stephen Neal.
What is this? An autograph card from 2006 Topps Total
Where'd I get it? I got this card signed by Light, Koppen, and Neal after a practice at Patriots Training Camp in 2010.
How much did it cost? Not much.

Why is this so special? These three offensive linemen have a combined eleven AFC Championships(4 Light, 3 Koppen, 3 Neal), eight Super Bowl Rings (3 Light, 2 Koppen, 3 Neal), four Pro Bowls (3 Light, 2 Koppen), two members of the Patriots All-2000s Decade Team (Light and Koppen), and one member of the National Wrestling Hall-of-Fame (Neal).

Matt Light was drafted by the New England Patriots in the second-round of the 2001 NFL Draft out of Purdue University, where he was a First-Team All-Big 10 selection in 2000. He was the starting Left Tackle on the New England Patriots Super Bowl XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, and XLII teams.

Stephen Neal did not play football in college; he was a Division I Wrestling Champion at Cal State-Bakersfield, where he won the NCAA Division I Collegiate Champion as a Junior and Senior. In fact, in his last championship match in 1999, Neal defeated future WWE and UFC legend Brock Lesner, who was wrestling for the University of Minnesota.

Despite not having played football since High School, the Patriots invited Neal to Training Camp in 2001, but cut him on August 26. He was then signed to the Philadelphia Eagles Practice Squad until the Patriots claimed him and added him to their 53-man roster on December 12, 2001. Neal continued to improve on the field and eventually became the Patriots starting Guard, including a start in Super Bowls XXXIX and Super Bowl XLII. He retired from football after the 2010 season.

Dan Koppen was drafted in the fifth-round of the 2003 NFL Draft out of Boston College and quickly became the Patriots' starting Center. He was the Patriots' starting Center in Super Bowls XXXVIII, XXXIX, and XLII.

I am a fan of multi-player cards, especially if I can get them signed. I think that this card looks cool, even though Neal's signature is king of smushed-in. (Neal was the last of the three that I got to sign) With three important members of the New England Patriots Dynasty, this signed card is a nice addition to my collection.

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