Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Houston Oilers

The 1970 Houston Oilers finished at 3-10-1, and drew the 3rd pick in the 1971 draft (Dan Pastorini). They made marginal improvement to 4-9-1 in 1971, but the real gain that year was establishing Pastorini as the starting quarterback. 
After selecting Pastorini with their first-round pick, they also drafted Lynn Dickey with their next pick. The Oilers also had veteran QB Charley Johnson, who started 10 games in 1970, his first season with the Oilers. 
The 1971 season began with Dickey starting games 1 & 3 (with Johnson in relief) and Johnson starting games 2 & 4 (with Pastorini in relief). The net result? 3 losses and 1 tie. 
Pastorini then started 8 of the final 10 games, including all 4 of their wins (3 wins in the final 3 weeks!) His #1 QB status was sealed, and Johnson was shipped off to Denver before the following season. (Dickey also missed the 1972 season, and never started more than 4 games in his remaining 3 years with the Oilers.) 
As a team, the Oilers suffered through two 1-13 seasons before breaking even at 7-7 in 1974. 
Charley Johnson was the Cardinals’ 10th-round pick in 1960, and was their starting QB from 1962-66, and 1969. He backed up Jim Hart in ’67 and ’68, primarily because he was in the Army for those 2 years and received weekend passes to play on Sundays. After 2 seasons with the Oilers, he was the Broncos’ starting QB from 1972-74, and for part of 1975. 
Joe Dawkins was the Oilers’ starting fullback as a rookie in 1970. After splitting the ’71 season between the Oilers and Broncos, he was the starting fullback for the Broncos (1972-73) and Giants (1974-75) before returning to the Oilers in 1976 as a backup. 
Jerry LeVias was the Oilers’ 2nd-round pick in 1969. He started half the games as a rookie (making his only Pro-Bowl) and every game in 1970. He played for the Chargers from 1971-74. 
Alvin Reed was Houston’s starting tight end every season from 1967 to 1971, making 2 Pro Bowls in that time. He also played for the Redskins from 1973-75. 
Glen Ray Hines played 8 seasons, playing every game and starting all but 6. He was the Oilers’ right tackle for 5 seasons, then moved on to the Saints for 2 years , before finishing up with the Steelers in 1973. 
Roy Gerela was the Oilers’ 4th-round pick in 1969. He played every game for the next 10 seasons – 2 years with Houston followed by 8 higher-profile seasons with the Steelers. While with Pittsburgh, he made the Pro Bowl in ’72 and ’74. He finished his career with 9 games for the Chargers in 1979. 
George Webster was drafted in the first round by the Oilers in 1967. He started every game for his first 3 years at left linebacker, and was first-team All-Pro each year. He missed half of the 1970 season, but returned in ’71 to start 9 games. He played part of ’72 and all of ’73 for the Steelers, before finishing up with 3 seasons for the Patriots. 
Zeke Moore was the Oilers’ 5th-round pick in 1967. He played 11 seasons (all for the Oilers) and was a starting cornerback in all but 3 seasons.
A 9th-round pick in 1967, Ken Houston went on to play 14 seasons, and was his team’s starting strong safety every year. His first 6 were with the Oilers, followed by 8 with the Redskins. Houston made the Pro Bowl every season but his first and last. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986. 
Spike Jones was the Oilers’ 4th-round pick in 1970. (Burning a 4th pick for a punter?) They were 6-6-2 the previous season, and Gerela had done an adequate job of punting.) After just one season in Houston, Jones spent 4 with the Bills and 3 with the Eagles. 
To recap: Reed, Gerela, Webster, Moore, and Houston played regularly for the Oilers in 1971, Johnson was a backup, and Dawkins played half a season before he was traded to Denver. LeVias, Hines, and Jones had already moved on before 1971.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Cincinnati Bengals

Wow, I've been very lax with my football card blogs for the past few weeks months years. (Cardinals - April 2014; Bills - July 2016; It seems like I should have posted something in 2018.)

Well, this Bengals post has been sitting in draft mode since January 2018. As I recall, I had it mostly completed when the Blogger gremlins attacked. In the middle of me typing something, the cursor highlighted all the text, therefore replacing everything with whatever character I last typed. Immediately, autosave kicked in, wiping out everything I did. AARGH! I hate when that happens.

That happened a few times on my baseball blogs (Tommie Agee, Joe Rudi, maybe others), so since November 2012 I have been composing my baseball posts in Word documents, then pasting them into Blogger. (I haven't learned that lesson yet for my football blogs.)

So my new football blog format (as detailed here) is to scan the cards in groups of 8 or 9, to minimize the number of scans per post (which is what is mostly holding me back).

Seems odd that there's three offensive linemen in this set, but not one running back or receiver.
In 1970 (the franchise’s 3rd season), the Bengals won their division with a so-so 8-6 record. In 1971 they fell to last place, finishing at 4-10. (The Browns and Steelers were much improved over 1970.) 
The Bengals had rookie sensation Greg Cook at QB in 1969, He tore a rotator cuff early in the season but continued playing through it. He led the AFL in passing, but ruined his career in the process. 
The Bengals acquired Virgil Carter from the Bears in 1970, and he piloted the team for 2 seasons (21 starts) until Ken Anderson took over in 1972. Carter only started 1 game in 1972, then after 2 seasons in the WFL, joined the Chargers in 1975. He played 1 game for them and 8 games (no starts) for the Bears in 1976. 

Bob Johnson was the 2nd overall pick in the 1968 draft. He played for 12 seasons (all with the Bengals) and was their starting center for all but his last 2 seasons. He made the Pro Bowl in his rookie year. 
Pat Matson played for the Broncos in ’66 and ’67, then was the Bengals’ starting right guard from 1968-1974. You may recall that Paul Brown used “messenger guards”, so there were 3 guards with regular playing time. He finished his career in 1975 with the Packers. 
Ernie Wright was the Chargers’ starting left tackle for their first 8 seasons (1960-67). Acquired by the Bengals in the expansion draft, he started at LT for the next 4 seasons before returning to the Chargers in 1972. 
Horst Muhlmann kicked for the Bengals for six seasons (1969-74) and the Eagles for 2 ½ seasons (1975-77). A soccer player from Germany, he passed away in his homeland in 1991 at age 51. 
Royce Berry was the Bengals’ 7th pick in the 1969 draft. He was their starting left end for 5 seasons, then rode the bench in 1974. After missing the 1975 season with a broken wrist, he played for the Bears in 1976. 
Steve Chomyszak was drafted by the Jets in 1966. He spent most of that season on the taxi squad (only playing 2 games) and missed the 1967 season with an ankle injury. He played defensive end for the Bengals from 1968-69, then was the starting right D tackle from 1970-72. After spending much of 1973 on the bench, in the spring of 1974 Chomyszak signed a contract with the WFL’s Philadelphia Bell to play once the Bengals’ ’74 season ended. A ticked-off Paul Brown traded him to the Bills, where he saw no playing time, and was cut early in the season. 
Bill Bergey was the Bengals’ 2nd-round pick in the 1969 draft. He started at middle linebacker for the next 5 seasons. Traded to the Eagles, he started at MLB (later LILB) from 1974-1980, except for missing all but 3 games in 1979. He made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season, and in his first 5 seasons in Philly. 
Ken Avery was the Giants’ starting right linebacker in 1967 and 1968.  He played for the Bengals from 1969-74, and was their starting right linebacker from 1970-72. He also played middle linebacker in 1974. He finished his career in 1975 with the Chiefs. 
Lemar Parrish was the Bengals’ starting left corner from 1970-77, making 6 Pro Bowls in that time. He was also the Redskins’ starting left cornerback from 1978-81, making 2 more Pro Bowls and was named first team All-Pro in 1979. He was a backup for the Bills in his final season (1982). 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

RIP - Jim Kiick

Jim Kiick, halfback for the great Miami Dolphins teams of the early 1970s, passed away on June 19, 2020 at age 73.

Kiick was drafted by the Dolphins in 1968, and was their starting halfback for the next 4 seasons, teaming up with fullback Larry Csonka in their "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" backfield. Kiick made the Pro Bowl in his first 2 seasons, and led the AFL with 9 rushing touchdowns in 1969.

In 1972 and 1973 he only started a handful of games, as Mercury Morris became the featured halfback. Kiick was used primarily on passing downs and short-yardage situations.

In 1974 he started half the games, but that was his final season with Miami.

He joined Dolphins' teammates Csonka and Paul Warfield on the WFL's Memphis team for the 1975 season. The league folded before the end of the season, so he was back in the NFL in 1976.

Although wanting to join Csonka with the 1976 Giants, he ended up with the Denver Broncos. He was released late in the 1977 season, but caught on with the Redskins for 1 game, then retired after the season.


Monday, April 20, 2020

RIP - Mike Curtis

Mike Curtis, the Baltimore Colts' middle linebacker from 1965 to 1975, passed away on April 20, 2020 at age 77.

Curtis was the Colts' #1 pick in the 1965 draft. He made the Pro Bowl 5 times between 1968 and 1974.

Mike played in Super Bowls III and V. His late-game interception set up the Colts' last-second winning field goal in Super Bowl V.

In 1971 he famously decked a fan for running out on the field during a game.

Curtis later played for Seattle and Washington from 1976-78.

Here's Mad Dog being Mad Dog:
 here     and here

NBC Sports obituary

Touchdown Wire

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Hall of Famers

Three-plus weeks in quarantine. What to do? What to do? I know, I can attempt to resuscitate my 4 football card blogs!

I have 9 more teams to post on this 1971 blog, but that can wait for awhile. I needed something more interesting for a comeback post.

These are the 54 Hall of Famers in the 1971 Topps set. There were 261 players (+ two checklists) in the set, but before we decide that a 20% ratio of HOFers is a large chunk, keep in mind that before 1973 only the top 8 to 10 players on each team had a card anyway.

6 - Chiefs (way to matriculate into Canton, fellas!)
4 - Dolphins, Raiders, Rams
3 - Cardinals, Cowboys, Lions, Packers, Redskins, Vikings
2 - Bears, Browns, Colts, 49ers, Jets, Steelers
1 - Bills, Broncos, Chargers, Falcons, Giants, Oilers
0 - Bengals, Eagles, Patriots, Saints