Saturday, November 23, 2013

San Diego Chargers

Here are the 1972 San Diego Chargers. After finishing in 3rd place (6-8) in 1971, the team dropped to last place (4-9-1) in 1972. The free-fall continued, and they didn't see a winning record until 1978.

John Hadl was the Chargers' 3rd-round pick (and the Lions' #1 pick) in the 1962 draft. Incumbent QB Jack Kemp missed all but 2 games with injuries, so Hadl started 10 games as a rookie. The next season, he was the #2 QB behind newly-acquired veteran Tobin Rote.

Hadl regained the starting role in 1964, and remained there through the 1972 season. John led the league in passing TDs in '68 and '71. He was also the Chargers' punter during the '64 and '65 seasons. Hadl played for the Rams, Packers, and Oilers from 1973-77. He made 6 Pro Bowls, and was the last QB to wear a number higher than #19.

Mike Garrett began his career with the Chiefs in 1966, the season that culminated in the team's appearance in Super Bowl I. He rushed for over 1000 yards in his 2nd season. After 4+ seasons as the starting halfback in Kansas City, the Chiefs traded him to the Chargers 3 games into 1970. He played for the Chargers through the 1973 season, all as the starting halfback. In 1972 he had his 2nd 1000-yard season. Mike was a 2-time Pro Bowler.

Jeff Queen played for the Chargers for 3 seasons (1969-71) and was the starting fullback for the last two. He also played for the Raiders (1972-73) and the Oilers (1974).

Gary Garrison was drafted by the Eagles in 1965, but did not play for them. He joined the Chargers in 1966, and was their starting split end from 1966-1975 (while missing part of the 1973 season). He played in only 2 games for the Chargers in 1976, then finished his career in 1977 with the Oilers. Gary was a 4-time Pro Bowler.

Jerry LeVias was the Oilers' 2nd-round pick in 1969, and was a kick and punt returner, as well as a wide receiver. As a rookie, he led the AFL in punt returns and return yardage. After 2 seasons in Houston, Jerry was acquired by the Chargers. He continued in all 3 roles for San Diego in 1971, but played sparingly in '72 and '74. In 1973, he was a starting wide receiver, but did not play on special teams.

Dave Williams was the Cardinals' #1 pick in the 1967 draft. He was the starting split end from 1968-71, then played for the Chargers in 1972 and part of 1973, before finishing up with the Steelers at the end of the 1973 season.

Walt Sweeney was San Diego's #1 pick in 1963, and played for the Chargers from 1963 to 1973. He was their starting right guard for all but his rookie season, and made 9 Pro Bowls (all but '63 and '73). He finished his career as the Redskins' starting right guard in 1974 and 1975. Sweeney passed away in early 2013 from pancreatic cancer, at age 71.

Dennis Partee played 8 seasons (1968-75), all with the Chargers. He was the team's punter every season, and was also their placekicker except for the '70, '73, and '75 seasons. In 1969, he led the AFL with 44.6 yards per punt.

After 11 seasons with the Rams (1961-71), Deacon Jones played 2 seasons with the Chargers before wrapping up his career in 1974 with the Redskins. He was his team's starting left defensive end in all but his final season. (For some reason, Topps chose to airbrush him into a red jersey, seemingly unnecessary, since the Rams' and Chargers' jerseys were both blue!) Jones was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980, and passed away in June 2013 at age 74.

Bob Babich was the Chargers' #1 pick in the 1969 draft, and was the starting middle linebacker in San Diego for 3 seasons (1970-72) and in Cleveland for 4 seasons (1973-76). After 2 seasons as a Browns' backup, he retired following the 1978 season.

Also check out the 1968 and 1971 Chargers.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Oakland Raiders

In 1971, The Oakland Raiders missed the post-season for the only time between 1967 to 1977. In 1972 they bounced back, finished 1st in the west at 10-3-1, but lost to the Steelers in the first round.  We have five future Hall of Famers in this group.

After 4 seasons in Buffalo, Daryle Lamonica was the Raiders' starting QB from 1967-72, and led the AFL in TD passes in '67 and '69. He finished his career as a backup to Ken Stabler in '73 and '74.

Marv Hubbard was drafted by the Raiders in 1968, but did not make the team. He returned in 1969, and was the team's starting fullback from 1971-74, making the Pro Bowl from 1971-73. After missing the entire 1975 season with injuries, he was a backup for the Lions in his last season (1977).

Fred Biletnikoff was Oakland's #2 pick in the 1965 draft, and played his entire career (1965-77) with the Raiders. He was a starting end in all but his last season. I wonder what is written in red on the football? Maybe it's "no stickum zone".  Fred was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988.

Raymond Chester was the Raiders' #1 pick in the 1970 draft. He was their starting tight end for his first 3 seasons, making the Pro Bowl each year. After 5 seasons as the Baltimore Colts' tight end, Chester returned to Oakland for his final 4 seasons (1978-81). He was the starter in '79 and '80, and made a 4th Pro Bowl appearance in 1979.

Jim Otto was the Raiders starting center for every season in his career (1960-74), and never missed a game. He made the Pro Bowl every season except his first and his last two. He was selected as the all-time AFL center, and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980. He was one of 2 players back in the day to wear double-zero (with Houston's Ken Burrough).

Gene Upshaw was one of Oakland's Blocks of Granite back in the day, along with center Jim Otto (1960-74) and tackle Art Shell (1968-82). Upshaw was the Raiders' #1 pick in 1967, and was the starting left guard for his entire career (1967-81), although only starting 5 games in his final season. After his playing career, he led the NFL players' union.

George Blanda began his career back in NINETEEN FORTY-NINE as the Bears' 12th-round pick. He played for the Bears from 1949-58 (although spending part of 1950 with the Baltimore Colts). With the Bears, he was primarily a kicker, but also played some linebacker in 1951, and was the starting QB in 1953 and 1954 (leading the NFL in completions in '53).

George was out of football in 1959, but in 1960 the AFL came knocking, and he found a 2nd career as the Oilers' starting QB and kicker from 1960-66, while leading Houston to the AFL Championship in 1960 and 1961. He also led AFL in passing attempts and completions in '63, '64, and '65.

In 1967 Blanda moved on tho the Raiders, and was their kicker for 9 seasons. He played in Super Bowl II, but retired just before the Raiders' Super Bowl championship season of 1976. George was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981.

Phil Villapiano was Oakland's #2 pick in 1971, and was a starting outside linebacker for 9 seasons (although missing all but 2 games in 1977). He also played for the Buffalo Bills in a backup role from 1980 to 1983.

Willie Brown began his career in 1963 with the Denver Broncos, and was their starting left cornerback from 1964-66, and a Pro Bowl selection in '64 and '65. He played for the Raiders from 1967-78, and was the team's starting right cornerback every season but his last. He made the Pro Bowl in each of his first 7 seasons in Oakland. Brown was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.

Nemiah Wilson was a cornerback for the Broncos (1965-67), Raiders (1968-74), and Bears (1975). He started for Denver in '66 and 67 on the right side (with his lone Pro Bowl appearance in 1967), and was a starter in Oakland from 1969-73 (mostly on the left side) before losing his starting job in 1974 to Skip Thomas.

George Atkinson was drafted in the 7th round in 1968, and made the Pro Bowl as a punt and kick returner in his rookie season. George was the Raiders' starting strong safety from 1969-77. After missing the 1978 season, he ended his career in 1979 with the Broncos.

Also check out the 1968 and 1971 Raiders.


Monday, January 21, 2013

New York Giants

Hooray! After moving 11 months ago, I finally found my football card binders last weekend. Now I can put my '68 Browns' cards away (instead of gathering dust in the "already scanned' pile), and restart these football blogs.

After finishing 9-5 in 1970, the Giants slumped to 4-10 in 1971, signaling the end of quarterback Fran Tarkenton's 5-year stay in New York. The Giants rebounded to 8-6 in 1972, but the '70 and '72 seasons were the team's only winning seasons from 1964-1980.

After 3 seasons (1961-63) as the Redskins' starting QB, followed by 7 seasons as the Eagles' starter, Norm Snead spent the 1971 season as a backup for the Vikings. Before the 1972 season, Snead and Fran Tarkenton switched teams, and Stormin' Norman regained a starting QB job for '72 and most of '73. He began 1974 with the Giants, then backed up in San Francisco for a season and a half, before returning to the Giants for his final season (1976).

Randy Johnson was the Falcon's #1 pick in 1966, and was their starting QB for the franchise's first 2 seasons. After 3 more seasons in Atlanta as the backup, he played for the Giants from 1971-73 behind Tarkenton, then Snead. Randy played for the WFL's Hawaiians in 1974, then played 1 season each for the Redskins and Packers. He passed away in 2009 at age 65.

Ron Johnson was the Browns' #1 pick in 1969, A year later he was playing halfback for the Giants, leading the team with 1027 rushing yards. After missing most of the 1971 season, he returned in 1972, tallying 1182 yards. After rushing for 902 yards in 1973, Johnson had two off-years for the Giants before retiring.

Bobby Duhon was the Giants' 3rd-round pick in 1968, and the team's starting fullback as a rookie. After missing the 1969 season, he played 3 more seasons, mostly as a punt returner, although in 1971 he filled in for Ron Johnson as the starting halfback.

Bob Grim was a punt returner and wide receiver for the Vikings from 1967-71, then came to the Giants in the Tarkenton trade. After a season as the punt returner and #3 WR, Grim was a starting end during 1973-74. He played for the Bears in '75, followed by 2 seasons back in Minnesota.

An undrafted free agent, Bob Tucker was the Giants' starting tight end from his rookie season in 1970 through the 1976 season, usually grabbing more receptions than any of the wideouts. He split the '77 season between the Giants and Vikings, then played 3 more seasons as the Vikes' starting TE.

Pete Gogolak was the first soccer-style kicker in pro football, joining the Buffalo Bills in 1964 out of Cornell University. After 2 seasons, he became a free agent, since he had accepted a pay cut in 1965. The Giants threw a lot of money his way after enduring a bad kicker in '65, which further aggravated the NFL-AFL relationship (and hastened the merger). Pete kicked for the Giants through the 1974 season. His younger brother Charlie kicked for the Redskins and Patriots.

Jim Kanicki was the Browns' #2 pick in the 1963 draft, and played 7 seasons there (the middle 5 as the starting right defensive tackle). He was a starting defensive tackle for the Giants in 1970 and 1971, but was out of football by 1972.

Here we see Ronnie Hornsby in his college all-star game jersey (as is Lyle Alzado, John Brockington, and others in this set). Hornsby had a brief NFL career (1971-74, all with the Giants), and was the team's starting MLB only in 1972. He had 1 career interception.

Pete Athas was drafted by the Cowboys in 1970, but did not play that season. He joined the Giants in 1971, and played in New York for 4 seasons, the last 3 as the team's starting left cornerback and punt returner. He played for the Browns and Vikings in 1975, before finishing his career in 1976 with the Saints.

Carl "Spider" Lockhart was drafted by the Giants in the 13th round in 1965, and played 11 seasons (all as a Giants' starter). He was the team's starting left corner for his first two seasons, before switching to free safety. He also returned punts (mostly from 1966-71), and was the Giants' backup punter in '65, '66, and '68 (behind HB/P Ernie Koy).

Also check out the 1967 Giants.