Monday, March 8, 2010

Philadelphia Eagles

Here are the 1972 Philadelphia Eagles. Although the orange and black borders don't really match their jersey colors (a green/yellow combo would have been better), they are the colors of the neighboring Philadelphia Flyers hockey organ-i-zation. Topps also made some curious choices with player selection: two offensive linemen and two safeties, but no running backs, defensive linemen, or linebackers?

The Eagles also didn't do much right in the early 1970s. For some specific examples, see Pete Liske and Leroy Keyes below.

#228 Pete Liske - After using QB Norm Snead from 1964 to 1970 with little success, the Eagles dumped him after the 1970 season, before another starting QB was acquired. Their brilliant plan was to acquire Greg Barton, the Lions' 3rd-string taxi-squad QB, whose entire NFL career consisted of 1 attempt in 1969. If you think that's laughable, get this: After the Eagles acquired him for 3 draft picks ( two 2nds and a 3rd), Barton (a taxi-squadder, mind you) chose to play in Canada rather than accept a starting NFL QB opportunity with the Eagles!

The Eagles' Plan C turned out to be a hastily-arranged deal with the Broncos for Pete Liske, the former Penn State and CFL quarterback. Liske would last for a year and a half, before being replaced midway through the 1972 season by rookie John Reaves. In 1973, the Eagles finally put an end to their QB shenanigans by acquiring Roman Gabriel from the Rams.

#146 Harold Jackson - Jackson was one of the few bright spots on the Eagles' roster. A rookie with the Rams in 1968, Harold was a star for the Eagles from 1969-1972, leading the NFL in receiving yards in 1969 and 1972. Jackson returned to the Rams for the 1973-77 seasons. He also started for the Patriots from 1978-81, before finishing his career as a backup with the Vikings (1982) and Seahawks (1983).

#21 Steve Zabel - Zabel was the Eagles' #1 pick (6th overall) in the 1970 draft. After a rookie season at tight end, he switched to outside linebacker during 1971 and remained there for the rest of his career. After 5 seasons with the Eagles and 4 with the Patriots, Steve finished his career with the Colts in 1979. Nice stache!

#102 Mark Nordquist - Just like with Zabel's card, Topps has the wrong position on this card. Nordquist was primarily a guard, although he filled in at center from time-to-time due to injuries. This is an older picture, showing Mark in a late-1960's Eagles jersey. He played for the Eagles from 1968-74, and the Bears from 1975-76.

#73 Henry Allison - Allison was the Eagles' 2nd-round pick in the 1971 draft, and was generally a bust. He played all of 1971 and part of 1972 with the Eagles, then was with the Cardinals from 1975-77.

#175 Tom Dempsey - Dempsey joined the Eagles midway through the 1971 season, and stayed through the 1974 season. He also kicked for the Saints, Rams, Oilers, and Bills in a career that lasted from 1969-1979.

#201 Leroy Keyes - In 1968, the Eagles ran their record to 0-11 before foolishly winning 2 of their last 3 games, to finish at 2-12. Since this was slightly better than the Buffalo Bills' 1-12-1 record, Buffalo got the #1 draft pick (O J Simpson) and the Eagles (tied with Atlanta at 2-12) settled for the #3 pick. For some reason they chose Leroy Keyes, a running back from Purdue. (Immediately following this pick, the Steelers chose DT Joe Greene at #4, followed by the Bengals taking QB Greg Cook at #5.) For 2 seasons, Keyes was a bust at running back, then switched to strong safety in 1971, where he was marginally better. After 1972, he was shipped off to Kansas City for his final season.

Since the early 1970s, anytime I hear Leroy Keyes name mentioned, I immediately have the same 2 thoughts:
1) The Eagles had Leroy KEYES, not Leroy KELLY!
2) The Eagles had Leroy Keyes, not O J Simpson!

#45 Bill Bradley - Bradley was the Eagles' 3rd-round pick in 1969, and was their starting free safety from 1971 to 1976. One of the Eagles' few stars on defense, he was also their punter from 1969-70 and 1972-73, and returned punts every season. He finished his career in 1977 with the Cardinals.

#314 Tom McNeill - Here we see Tom in an airbrushed jersey. McNeill was the Eagles' full-time punter in 1971 and 1973, and appeared in a few games in 1972. He also punted for the Saints and Vikings from 1967-70.

#286 Bill Bradley All-Pro - Here is an All-Pro card for the Eagles. Each team's All-Pro cards were issued as part of the rare 3rd series.

Also check out the 1967 and 1971 Eagles.

Coming March 20th: Cleveland Browns

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