Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Denver Broncos

Here we have the 1971 Denver Broncos cards. Four of the ten players are pictured in other teams' uniforms. In the early days, the Broncos seemed like the AFL's revolving door. In their first 8 seasons, Denver finished 2-11-1 twice, 3-11 twice, and 4-10 twice. After 2 straight 5-8-1 seasons, the Broncos slipped to 4-9-1 in 1971, bringing an end to Lou Saban's 5-year tenure as head coach.

#59 Don Horn - Horn was the Packers' 1st-round draft pick in 1967, and after caddying for Bart Starr for 4 seasons, Don finally got his own gig in 1971 with the Broncos. He was Denver's 4th starting QB in 4 years, but the carousel didn't stop there. After 9 games, he lost his job to Steve Ramsey, who would be replaced in 1972 by ex-Cardinal Charlie Johnson. In 1972, Don wasted away as the Broncos' 3rd-string QB before moving on to Cleveland in 1973 and San Diego in 1974.

#110 Floyd Little - One of the few Broncos' stars of the 1960s and early 1970s, Little was Denver's 1st-round pick in 1967, and played his entire career (1967-75) with the Broncos. Floyd led the NFL in rushing with 1133 yards in 1971, and his 12 TDs in 1973 also led the league. Little was inducted in to the Hall of Fame in 2010.

#212 Bob Anderson - Bob was drafted in the 1st round by the Broncos in 1970, and played 4 seasons with them as a fullback and kick returner. After jumping to the WFL in 1974, Bob returned to the NFL in 1975 and played briefly for the Redskins and Patriots. His brother Dick was a safety with the Dolphins in the early 1970s.

#185 Sam Brunelli - Brunelli had a 6-year career with the Broncos from 1966 to 1971. He was their starting left tackle from 1967-70.

#136 Jim Turner - Turner was drafted by the Redskins in 1963 but did not make the team. Beginning in 1964, Jim played every game for the next 16 seasons, first with the Jets (1964-70) and then the Broncos (1971-79). Turner kicked for the Jets in Super Bowl III and the Broncos in Super Bowl XII. Because the back of the card said "he can also fill in at quarterback", apparently in 1971 I felt the need to update his position on the front. (He had a total of 4 passing attempts in 1967 and 1 in 1973.)

#81 Rich Jackson - Jackson was signed as a free agent in 1965 by the Raiders, but a training camp injury landed him on the taxi squad all season. He returned in 1966 as a backup linebacker for the Raiders, then was traded to the Broncos in summer 1967 and switched to defensive END. From 1967 to 1972, he was a starting defensive end for Denver, until finishing his career with the Browns in the latter part of the 1972 season.

#164 Dave Costa - Dave played 12 years in the AFL and NFL as a defensive tackle. He began with Oakland (1963-65), then Buffalo (1966), Denver (1967-71), San Diego (1972-72), and back to Buffalo (1974). He was a starter everywhere except for his 2 seasons with the Bills, and made the Pro Bowl 4 times.

#256 Cornell Gordon - Cornell played for the Jets from 1965 to 1969, finally becoming the starting right cornerback in his last season there. He also played 3 seasons with the Broncos (1970-72), and was their starting left cornerback in 1970.

#38 Paul Martha - Paul was drafted by the Steelers in the 1st round in 1964, out of the University of Pittsburgh. A seldom-used split end during his first 2 seasons, he moved to defense in 1966 when injuries decimated the Steelers, and was their starting free safety for 4 seasons. He wrapped up his career in 1970 as the Broncos' starting free safety. After football, he became an attorney, and was an executive with the San Francisco 49ers and later the Pittsburgh Penguins.

#9 Billy Van Heusen - Van Heusen was primarily a punter, and played his entire career (1968-76) with the Broncos. He was also a starting wide receiver in 1974 and 1975.

Also see the 1968 Broncos.

Next time: Green Bay Packers

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New Orleans Saints

The 1971 New Orleans Saints have the standard allotment of 10 player cards. In 1970, the Saints finished 2-11-1, in what would become their customary 4th spot in the NFC West. In 1971, with rookie QB Archie Manning at the controls, they improved to 4-8-2, but still finished 4th.

#226 Edd Hargett - Hargett played for the Saints from 1969-72, and the Oilers in 1973. His only starts came during 1970 and 1971.

#198 Hoyle Granger - Granger was drafted by the Oilers in 1966, and was their fullback from 1966 to 1972, except for the one season (1971) he spent with the Saints. His best season was 1967, when he rushed for 1194 yards.

#90 Dan Abramowicz - Dan was picked by the Saints in the last (17th) round of the 1967 draft. He played for the Saints from 1967 until 2 games into the 1973 season. He spent the remainder of 1973 and all of 1974 with the 49ers. His 73 receptions led the NFL in 1969.

#148 Al Dodd - After playing in a few games for the Bears in 1967, Al became a starting wide receiver for the Saints from 1969-71, and the Falcons in 1973-74. He also returned kicks and punts during his career. Al missed the 1968 and 1972 seasons.

#37 Dave Parks - Dave was the first overall pick (by the 49ers) in the 1964 draft. After playing split end for the 49ers from 1964-67, he joined the Saints in 1968, and switched to tight end in 1969. In 1965, he led the NFL in receptions (80), receiving yards (134), and touchdowns (12). He finished his career with the Oilers in 1973.

#117 Errol Linden - Linden's career began in 1961 with the Browns. He played for the Vikings from 1962-65, the Falcons from 1966-68, and the Saints from 1969-70. He was his team's starting offensive right tackle from 1963-70.

#5 Tom Dempsey - Tom was with the Chargers in 1968 but did not play. He kicked for the Saints from 1969-70, including a record 63-yard field goal in 1970. In a classic "What have you done for me lately?" move, he was cut after the 1970 season. Midway through the 1971 season, he hooked on with the Eagles, where he stayed through the 1974 season. He also kicked for the Rams (1975-76), Oilers (1977), and Bills (1978-79).

#251 Jackie Burkett - Jackie was the Colts' 1st-round pick in 1959. After playing for the Colts through the 1966 season, he played for the Saints in 1967 and 1970, and for the Cowboys in 1968-69.

#57 Mike Morgan - Here we see Morgan in his Eagles' jersey, where he was the starting left linebacker from 1964-67. After one season (1968) with the Redskins, he finished his career as the Saints' regular left linebacker from 1969-70.

#173 Joe Scarpati - Another ex-Eagle here is Joe Scarpati. Joe was the Eagles' starting free safety from 1964 to 1969. He was also the Saints' free safety during his only season there (1970). Although he's shown on this card as a Saint, he returned to the Eagles for the 1971 season. A pre-season injury ended his career.

Also check out the 1967 and 1972 Saints.

Next time: Denver Broncos

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Oakland Raiders

I'm weeks behind with all my football card blogs, but it's been hard to stay motivated about football and football cards, what with Spring, baseball, the Phillies, yard work, taxes, and what not. If I can catch up to my original schedule, all these football cards will be completed by Thanksgiving.

Here are the 1971 Oakland Raiders. Only 2 all-stars here (compared to the five on their arch-rival Kansas City Chiefs!) I just got the Charlie Smith card a few weeks ago, which was the last card I needed to complete the set.

In 1970 under 2nd-year coach John Madden, the team went 8-4-2, finishing 1st in the AFC West. In the playoffs, they beat the Dolphins, but lost the conference championship to the Colts. In 1971 they also finished 8-4-2, but that was only good enough for 2nd place, behind the Chiefs (10-3-1).

Daryle Lamonica - After 4 seasons as a backup in Buffalo, Lamonica came to Oakland in 1967 and was the #1 QB from 1967-72. His best season was 1969, when he led the AFL in attempts, completions, passing yards, and TDs. Daryle played 2 more seasons (1973-74) in Oakland as Ken Stabler's backup.

Charlie Smith - Smith was the Raiders' 4th-round pick in 1968. Charlie was the Raiders' starting halfback in '69, '70, '72, and '73. He played 7 seasons in Oakland before finishing his career in 1975 with the Chargers.

Hewritt Dixon - Although he has a card, Dixon's last season was 1970. He played tight end and halfback for the Broncos from 1963-65, and was the Raiders' starting fullback from 1966-70.

Fred Biletnikoff - Fred was a 2nd-round pick in 1965, and played his entire career (1965-78) with the Raiders. He made the Pro Bowl 6 times, and played in Super Bowls II and XI. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988.

Jim Otto - Otto is widely considered to have been the best center in the AFL. He played his entire 15-year career (1960-74) with the Raiders, and made the Pro Bowl in 12 consecutive seasons. One of the few players to wear double-zero, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980.

George Blanda - Blanda's career goes way back to 1949, when he was drafted by the Bears. George was the Bears' kicker from 1949-58, but was the starting quarterback only during the 1953 and 1954 seasons. He was out the league in 1959, but the advent of the AFL in 1960 gave him a 2nd career, as he became the Houston Oilers' starting QB and kicker from 1960-66. The following season he moved to the Raiders, where he continued as the team's kicker and 3rd-string QB from 1967-75. He played for 26 seasons, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981.

Gus Otto - Gus was the Raiders' 4th-round pick in 1965, and played right linebacker for Oakland for his entire career (1965-72). He was the starter in all but his last season.

Kent McCloughan - Kent played left cornerback for the Raiders for his entire career (1965-70), and was the starter for all but the 1969 season.

Willie Brown - Willie began his career as the left cornerback for the Denver Broncos from 1963-66. He played the rest of his career (1967-78) as Oakland's right cornerback. This 9-time Pro Bowler was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.

Mike Eischeid - Mike punted for the Raiders (1966-71) and the Vikings (1972-74). He was also a placekicker in his rookie season.

After posting these cards and giving the completed blog a once-over, I noticed that (except maybe for Biletnikoff) all these cards have pretty much the same pose!

Also check out the 1968 Raiders.

Next time: New Orleans Saints

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Atlanta Falcons

Here are the 1971 Atlanta Falcons. After seeing 5 all-stars out of 10 Chiefs cards, there's not an all-star in sight here! Topps went overboard on the defensive linemen, and skipped the defensive backs.

#195 Bob Berry - Bob was the Falcons' starting QB for 5 seasons (1968-72), sandwiched between 2 stints as a backup with the Vikings (1965-67, 73-75).

#246 Harmon Wages - Harmon played his entire career (1968-71, 73) with the Falcons. He was their starting halfback in 1969 and 1970.

#2 Jim "Cannonball" Butler - Butler began his career with the Steelers (1965-67). After being the Falcons' starting fullback for 4 seasons, he wrapped up his career with the Cardinals in 1972.

#84 Jim Mitchell - Jim was the Falcons' 4th-round pick in 1969. He played his entire career (1969-79) as the Falcons' starting tight end.

#109 George Kunz - George was the Falcons' 1st-round pick (#2 overall) in the 1969 draft. After 6 seasons as Atlanta's starting right tackle, Kunz played for the Colts from 1975-78, and 1980. He was the Colts' starting right tackle for his first 3 seasons in Baltimore.

#218 Claude Humphrey - The Falcons' #1 pick (3rd overall) in the 1968 draft, Humphrey was their starting left defensive end from 1968-74, and 1976-77 (missing the entire 1975 season). After missing part of the 1978 season, Claude was traded to the Eagles, where he played from 1979-81, including Super Bowl XV. He was a 6-time Pro-bowler while with Atlanta.

#166 John Zook - John was drafted by the Rams in 1969, but was immediately dealt to the Falcons. He was Atlanta's starting right defensive end from 1969 to 1975. He also played for the Cardinals from 1976-79, the first 3 seasons as a starter.

#122 Glen Condren - Glen was drafted by both the Giants and the Jets in 1964. He didn't play in 1964, but played for the Giants from 1965-67. After missing the 1968 season, he played for the Falcons from 1969-72, starting at right defensive tackle in 1970 and 1971.

#60 Tommy Nobis - Nobis' card number (60) was the same as his jersey number! Tommy was the first overall pick in the 1966 draft (the Falcons' inaugural season). He played his entire career (1966-76) as the Falcons' starting middle linebacker.

#29 Billy Lothridge - Billy was the Cowboys' 6th-round pick in 1964. After 1 season each with Dallas and the Rams, Lothridge came to the Falcons in the 1966 expansion draft. After 6 seasons in Atlanta, he finished his career with the Dolphins in 1972. Lothridge was also the Falcons' starting free safety in 1968.

Also check out the 1967 Falcons.

Coming March 13th: Oakland Raiders

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Kansas City Chiefs

I'm a week late, but...
Here are the ten 1971 cards for the Chiefs. This includes FIVE all-star cards. (Surprisingly, Len Dawson is not one of them!) With all those all-stars, how did the team do?

In 1970 (the first year after the AFL was absorbed) the Chiefs finished 7-5-2, 2nd in the AFC West behind Oakland (who were 8-4-2). In 1971, the Chiefs finished 10-3-1, 1st in the division, but lost to Miami in the playoffs.

#180 Len Dawson - This is the 10th of Dawson's 14 seasons with the team. He was a 7-time Pro Bowler, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987.

#254 Robert Holmes - Holmes was the Chiefs' 14th-round pick in 1968. He was their starting fullback in his first 2 seasons. In 1970 he was primarily a kick returner (with Wendell Hayes playing fullback). In 1971 he played 6 games with the Chiefs, then spent the rest of the season (and 1972) with the Oilers. He later played for the Chargers.

#139 Otis Taylor - Taylor was the Chiefs' 4th-round pick in 1965, and played his entire 11-year career with the Chiefs. In 1967, his 11 TDs were tops in the AFL. In 1971 he led the NFL with 1110 receiving yards. He also played in 3 Pro Bowls.

#206 Jim Tyrer - A 3rd round pick for the Chiefs (Dallas Texans) in 1961, Tyrer was a fixture at left tackle from 1961 to 1973, before finishing his career with the Redskins in 1974. He was an AFL All-Star from 1962 to 1969, a 9-time Pro Bowler, and played in Super Bowls I and IV.

#61 Jan Stenerud - Jan joined the Chiefs in 1967 (the year after the Chiefs' Super Bowl I appearance) and kicked for them through 1979. He then played 4 seasons with the Packers and 2 with the Vikings. Stenerud was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.

#13 Buck Buchanan - Buck was the Chiefs' #1 pick in 1963. He played defensive tackle for the Chiefs for his entire career (1963-75), and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990.

#114 Willie Lanier - One of two 2nd-round picks for the Chiefs in 1967, Lanier moved to middle linebacker in his sophomore season, and held that spot until his retirement after the 1977 season. He and Dick Butkus were known as the 2 toughest SOBs MLBs of their era. He was an 8-time Pro Bowler, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986.

#35 Bobby Bell - Bell is the 2nd All-Star Chiefs linebacker to be featured in this card set. Bell played his entire career (1963-74) with the Chiefs. His first 2 seasons were at left defensive end, before moving to left linebacker. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983.

#232 Jim Lynch - Like Willie Lanier, Lynch was a Chiefs' 2nd-round pick in 1967. Also like Lanier, Jim played his entire career (1967-77) with the Chiefs. He took over as the starting right linebacker in 1968 (from Lanier), and stayed there until the end of his career.

#88 Johnny Robinson - Robinson was the Detroit Lions' 1st-round pick (#3 overall) in 1960, but signed with the new Dallas Texans AFL franchise (which became the Chiefs in 1963). He was a flanker in his first 2 seasons, then became the starting free safety from 1962 until his retirement after the 1971 season. He was a 7-time Pro Bowler.

Also check out the 1968 Chiefs.

Coming Feb 27th: Atlanta Falcons