Tyler Scott’s new partnership with Panini America is a match made in heaven.
No, we’re not talking about the bread. We’re talking sports trading cards.
In a recent interview, I got to hear just how far back Scott’s childhood passion goes as well as some of his favorite items — including one of a famous Chicago Bear.
Oh yeah, and we talked about some Chicago Bears football and Scott’s appraisal of his rookie-year performance as well. Seemed like a reasonable thing to do. And though I did not ask him what the Bears should do at quarterback this off-season, we did touch on his experience playing with current Bears quarterback Justin Fields.
You can check out the entire interview with Scott, who joined me from Las Vegas, in podcast form right here;
Or you can read on for some transcripts from Scott from our convo below.
On his trading cards
I’ve been collecting trading cards since I was 10 years old. I still collect to this day. Actually, right before I pulled up here to Las Vegas for the Superbowl, I had just bought the brand new 2023 prisms that had just been released. I’ll probably have to say about probably about 50,000 cards.
I got a really nice Shohei Othani one. I have a 1958 Mickey Mantle. I got a couple of [Le]Bron [James] rookie cards that I really love.
Moving over to football. I got a Gale Sayers Tops card that I really love. I also have a 1961 Jim Brown Tops card that I really love as well.
On playing for the Chicago Bears
When I was eight, my dad sat me down and showed me his favorite player of all time, which was Dick Butkus. He loved Dick Butkus. He showed me some videos of him, and I was like, man, this dude’s different. And then he showed me Gale Sayers, and I fell in love with just watching Gale Sayers film. Like just the way he moves, his elusiveness. I’m like, this dude, he was different, man. Then Walter Payton, obviously. “Sweetness.” My dad already kind of had me, got me ingrained a little bit, and just got me familiar with Chicago. And then everyone says [my dad] looks like Mike Singletary.
Every time I go somewhere, when I would go on college recruiting visits, people would come up and be like, wait a second, My son swears up and down that you’re Mike Singletary.
When you walk through Halas Hall, it lights up. It has all the numbers of the Hall of Famers, and it lights up each step you take. It’s just a reminder every morning you walk through the building of what you’re chasing after.
The fans care. Super passionate. Whether we’re good or bad, they show up. I love it there.
On the Bears’ 2024 season
I know the front office is gonna do a great job. Ryan Poles and those guys are gonna do a great job bringing in some more talent, some more competition to the rooms. I definitely see us making playoffs next year.
We have such a great squad, truly. I feel like if we don’t even make it to the playoffs, then I don’t think we’re going to reach our goal. But I’m excited about next year and what it has to hold.
On what he learned from his rookie year
For me, personally, just the speed of the game. People talk about how the NFL game’s faster and after playing a year, I understand.
It’s not necessarily that I catch the ball, I’m running and a guy is fast enough to catch me. It’s more so his mind is faster than my legs because these guys are a lot smarter at the next level. The tendencies, the anticipation, that’s what separates everybody is the anticipation at which you play with. Being able to see things before it happens. You can’t teach experience and that comes with experience.
But I played a lot of ball this year, was able to get a lot of good reps. Learned a lot, had a lot of opportunities. Made some opportunities and missed some opportunities. That’s just the name of the game.
Physically, I was able to stay healthy the whole year and didn’t miss a practice or a game. I really hang my hat on that. So just really standing up on my rehab and my prehab for the season is going to be huge because I run a lot. I ran the most yards on the team [tracked by GPS]. Then ultimately, just catching a ball. You can be as wide open as you want, but if you can’t catch the ball, it doesn’t matter. You could have a guy draped all over you, but if you catch the ball, that’s all that matters.
That’s the biggest thing: walking around the house with the football, sleeping with a football. Me and my fiancee sit there and play catch with the football. I’m constantly on the JUGS. I have a JUGS machine that I bought. I’m out here with one of my friends who plays on the Raiders, (wide receiver) Tre Tucker. We’ll be catching the JUGS in his backyard. It’ll be 11 o’clock at night, and we’ll go work out. So yeah, trying to keep our bodies prepared. It’s our first time doing it. So we’re going to learn things, know what to do, what not to do, you know? And so we’re just going to continue to keep improving from there.
On what he learned from DJ Moore
I knew he was good. I just didn’t know he was that good. I’m watching him practice day in, day out, seeing him in the game like, man, this dude is legit.
He’s such a tough dude. There were many times he would hurt himself, and it looked like he could barely walk. And then two plays later, he’s running in like, all right I’m good, coach. He’s finishing the game. He’s making plays. He’s catching the ball, making guys miss. He just plays with such freedom.
I think the biggest thing I took for him is to not stress the game of football. When I first came in, I was so worried about the playbook, the alignments, all of those things. I was up late at night trying to figure out all these different things.
I think before our first preseason or after a second preseason game, DJ talked with me and was just talking about his process and how all the work is done during the week. All your work is done during the week. So once you come 36 hours, 48 hours before the game, you’re calm, you’re cool, relaxed. You’re in your flow. And that flows into the next day or into Sunday, and you’re just in your own calm mental state. That’s the way DJ plays. He just plays so free. I hope to get back to that point. You can tell when he plays, things are just in slow motion, and he’s one step ahead of everybody.
On playing with Fields
One thing I think people may take for granted or maybe overlook is his mental toughness. Through this whole process, he’s been hearing the chirps from since the season started, and he’s been having to deal with those things. Then he got injured in the middle of the year, so he had to deal with all these things while trying to be the face of organization, a face of a franchise to lead a team to lead a city.
He’s out there trying to go out there every Sunday, putting his body and his mind, heart and soul on the line to pull out a W for the fans. He showed up every day and set up to work every day with a positive mental attitude. Not one time did he try to downplay anyone or throw anybody under the bus. He just came to work every day. Just really being an influence that we needed to keep winning. We started to pick it up when he came back, and he started playing some really good football.
He had the Atlanta Falcons game where he played great, and everyone remembers how he broke out of the pocket and ends up scrambling for a first down. On that play, I was actually on the other side of the field. I’m running towards Justin, and the guy that was guarding me was like, “Oh, he’s about to get sacked.”
[Fields] gets out of it, and he’s running the opposite way. And so I’m running across the field and the guy’s like, “How did he get out of it?!” I was like, man, I don’t know. I don’t know. He said, “Man, that’s crazy.” Justin ends up getting the first down, and we obviously ended up winning the game.
But I think, like I said, what people may take for granted is to have somebody with that type of mental toughness, to be able to deal with all these different things, but to be able to show up on Sunday and put his best foot forward.