Sunday, January 29, 2023

SLU Showcase #2 - Championship Sunday

It's Championship Sunday in the NFL, so let's dig through the toy closet and see which Starting Lineup figures will represent the four finalists.

In the AFC we have the Kansas City Chiefs, making their fifth consecutive appearance in the title game. I wish I had a Patrick Mahomes or Travis Kelce action figure to show you, but since this is a Starting Lineup showcase we've got to go all the way back to 1990:

This Christian Okoye figure is one of five in my collection from the 1990 series. The Chiefs were lousy in the late '80s and didn't have many options for SLU collectors until Derrick Thomas debuted in the 1992 set. In fact Kenner produced just six Chiefs figures from 1988 to 1991 - and half of those were Okoye pieces. I couldn't find any info as to why Kansas City was completely excluded from the 1989 edition.

If you're not familiar with the "Nigerian Nightmare" here's a recent video from KTO.

In a rematch of last year's AFC Championship game, their opponent is the Cincinnati Bengals. They are represented in my SLU collection by another running back with a short but memorable career. 

Ickey Woods carried the rock as a rookie for the 1988 AFC Champion Bengals, posting a league-leading 5.3 yards per carry. With 15 regular-season touchdowns and another three in the playoffs, Cincy fans saw a whole lot of the "Ickey Shuffle".

I purchased this piece on eBay seven years ago for $11.39 + shipping, which turned out to be a wise investment.
It may have helped that the seller incorrectly listed his name as "Icky". A Woods figure recently sold for $99.99 and another seller is currently asking $129.99. While that sounds like a lot for a Cincinnati Bengal, it isn't close to the sales price of players like Anthony Munoz or even Tim Krumrie.

That '88 Bengals team lost Super Bowl XXIII to another 2022 conference finalist - the San Francisco 49ers. I've never been a 49ers fan, and since they were the class of the league in the early years of Starting Lineup, their figures were very popular. 

I knew a kid in fifth grade (1991-92) who had unopened Joe Montana and Jerry Rice figures hanging on his bedroom door. Have to admit they looked very cool together.

Also, kudos to him for not opening them. I wasn't able to keep my Starting Lineups sealed until I was in seventh grade (1993). I don't have any 49ers SLUs but if I had to pick one in my price range it would be the 1990 Montana figure. Guess I really like the '90 set, huh?

San Fran's NFC Championship opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles, are represented in my SLU collection. This one is a much more recent figure. In fact, it's from the second-to-last series of Starting Lineup football:

Here's Donovan McNabb's rookie piece, which I purchased off the rack (probably at Toys 'R Us) and stashed away so it would appreciate in value. 23 years later, this figure sells for twice the sticker price!

The back of this piece summarizes the history of the Super Bowl - which seems appropriate since these four teams are competing for a spot in this year's Big Game.

I actually have another Donovan figure. This one is not an SLU, but I'll show it off anyway:

McFarlane McNabb - and it's a white jersey variant. Those were all the rage in the early '00s. Are they still valuable today? LOL, no. This and a regular McFarlane figure combined sold for less than the SLU! Reminds me of how vinyl albums and cassettes are currently collectible, but no one wants CDs anymore. Weird.

Even though I have an Eagle figure, I occasionally kick the tires on Randall Cunningham figures. His 1989 figure is still affordable. I wouldn't mind a Reggie White piece but those are $50+. 

You may have noticed that all of these figures are still in their original packaging. I have loose figures for the other three sports but not football. Perhaps I should shop for some...

Who are you cheering for today: Bengals, Chiefs, Eagles, or 49ers?

Thanks for reading!



  1. Seeing them in the package reminds me that SLU had different color packaging for each of the sports they covered. I like that. I have nothing on the football topic, it's the sport I know the least about.

    1. That was a nice touch that didn't go unnoticed as a kid.

  2. Cassettes are collectible? I probably don't have anything in decent-enough shape to sell, those things were battered around. ... Rooting (mildly) for the 49ers. I don't care who wins the AFC.

    1. I guess so... some current artists are releasing their new music on cassette but not CD.

  3. Assuming their QBs are healthy, looking at KC and Philly. My son is going Bengals and Eagles. I will definitely be enjoying the Starting Lineup series...bring back lots of memories.

    1. You called it. I've got two more SLU posts in the works, next week will be NBA-themed.

  4. Nice figures of some quality players there!

    1. Thanks Dennis! You'll really see some star power next time.

  5. A. Man... I'm so jealous of your Woods and Okoye figures. Loved watching both of those guys.

    B. I bought both of those 1989 figures of Montana and Rice when I worked at Thrifty's. Pretty sure I still have the Montana sealed somewhere. My dad has the Rice, but it's opened. I bought one of those baseball holders that's paired up with a card holder and removed the baseball holder. I glued down the Rice figure and paired it with a Jerry Rice autograph. It's still sitting on my dad's desk at his house. I kept the card and it's in my SLU card collection.

    C. With the Seahawks and Packers on vacation... I was rooting for the Bengals (in honor of my buddy) and the Eagles (because I won't root for the 49ers).

    1. I hope you find that Montana. Your makeshift display for Rice sounds cool. And I was rooting for Cincy, too. Guess I'm going for KC in the Super Bowl.