Sunday, July 21, 2013

New England Patriots

Here are the cards for the 1971 New England Patriots. In 1970 (their last season as the "Boston" Patriots), the team went 2-12 under the leadership of QB Joe Kapp (his only season with the team). That was bad enough for last-place, and the Pats used their first overall pick in the 1971 draft to select Heisman Trophy winning QB Jim Plunkett, who would play every down in 1971.

Joe Kapp played in Canada from 1959-66, then came down to Minnesota in 1967 after QB Fran Tarkenton's trade to the Giants. After 3 seasons with the Vikings (culminating in a loss to the Chiefs in Super Bowl IV), Kapp headed to Boston, replacing Mike Taliaferro as the starting QB.

By the time this card came out, Kapp was out of football, a victim of contract issues instigated by Pete Rozelle. After football, he went into acting, playing small parts in TV shows and movies, including The Longest Yard.

Mike Taliaferro was a generic AFL QB (like Don Trull and Jackie Lee), but somehow managed to play in the AFL All-Star game in 1969, despite leading his team to a 4-10 record.

The Jets' 28th-round pick in 1963, he didn't play that season, but was the backup from 1964-67 (while also starting 5 games during Joe Namath's rookie season in 1965). Mike was the Patriots' starting QB for half of 1968 and all of 1969, then backed up Kapp in '70. I'm pretty sure he was the backup in 1971, but there's no record of that because he did not play (with Plunkett taking every snap). Mike also played for the Bills in 1972 and the WFL's Houston Texans in 1974.

Carl Garrett was drafted by the Boston Patriots in 1969, and played four seasons with the team as the starting halfback, kick returner, and punt returner. Garrett played 2 seasons with the Bears (1973-74), then 1 with the Jets and 2 with the Raiders. He was primarily a kick returner with Oakland.

Jim Nance was drafted by the Patriots out of Syracuse University in 1965, and was their starting fullback for 7 seasons. At 240 pounds, he was huge for a fullback at that time. Nance led the AFL is rushing yards in 1966 (1458) and 1967 (1216), and made the All-Star team in both seasons. He also led the AFL with 11 TDs in 1966.

Jim was traded to the Eagles in 1972 but chose not to play for them and retired. He came back to play for the Jets in 1973, and the WFL's Shreveport Steamer in 1974-75. Nance died in 1992 at age 49.

Ron Sellers was the Patriots' #1 pick in 1969. After an all-star rookie season, he was injured the following season, and was eventually traded to the Super Bowl champion Cowboys in 1972. He became the starter midway through the season (replacing Bob Hayes), but was traded to the Super Bowl champion Dolphins in 1973, where he rarely played.

Bake Turner was drafted by the Colts in 1962, and followed coach Weeb Ewbank to the Jets in 1963. Bake was a starting end for 2 seasons with the Jets, making the All-Star team in 1963 while collecting over 1000 receiving yards. He started 4 games in 1965, but rookie George Sauer took over the starting job for most of the season.

Turner continued as the team's top kick returner, and although he wasn't one of Joe Namath's top two targets, he was Joe's wingman for off-field shenanigans. Bake remained with the Jets through the 1969 season, then wrapped up his career in 1970 as a starting wide receiver for the Patriots.

Ron Berger played semi-pro football from 1965-67, then was with the Rams in 1968. He played for the Patriots from 1969-72 (and was a starter in 1970), and was with the Dolphins in 1973 (although he did not play).

Marty Schottenheimer was drafted by the Bills in 1965 and was a backup middle linebacker there for 4 seasons before going to the Patriots, where he was a backup linebacker for 2 seasons. Topps almost ran out of room on this card for his name! I'm sure the back of his jersey was just as crowded.

Marty began his coaching career in 1974 in the WFL, and was later the head coach for the Browns, Chiefs, Redskins, and Chargers.

John Bramlett was a starting right linebacker for 6 seasons (1965-70), two seasons each with the Broncos, Dolphins, and Patriots. He wrapped up his career in 1971 with the Falcons. Once nicknamed "The Meanest Man in Football", Bramlett is now a minister.

Tom Janik was the Broncos' 3rd-round pick in 1963, and was a backup defensive back there for 2 seasons, He also punted 10 times in 1964. Traded to the Bills in 1965, and was a starting defensive back for 4 seasons. In Buffalo's only win during the 1968 season, Janik returned an interception 100 yards for a TD. Tom moved on to the Patriots in 1969, where be began punting again, and was the team's punter for 3 seasons.

Also check out the 1968 Patriots.