Saturday, December 5, 2009

Green Bay Packers

Here are the world champion Green Bay Packers. In the 1968 card set, the cards for Super Bowl participants Packers and Raiders are horizontal, and have a special background. The cards for all the other teams are vertical, without a super-imposed background.

There are 9 Packers in this set. Topps seems to have gone overboard with the running backs (3) at the expense of having no offensive or defensive linemen represented.

#1 Bart Starr - I guess at this time Bart was the top player in the NFL. He had just been named as MVP for both Super Bowls I & II, and now Topps has bestowed card #1 status on him!

#79 Elijah Pitts - In 1967, halfbacks Elijah Pitts and Donny Anderson were tied for the team lead in rushing touchdowns with 6. Pitts is a holdover from the pre-super bowl days when Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor ruled the backfield for the Packers. Both of those backs were lost to the Saints in the 1967 expansion draft. This was of little consequence, as they were both up in years, and the Packers had youngsters Donny Anderson and Jim Grabowski to replace them. (Notice that back in the day, I had a tendency to pencil in a more specific position for some players.)

#209 Donny Anderson - As a rookie in 1966, Anderson was mainly used to return kicks. In 1967 he and Elijah Pitts led the team with 6 rushing TDs.

#183 Jim Grabowski - This fullback led the Packers in rushing in 1967 with 466 yards. He was Green Bay's #1 pick in 1965.

#27 Carroll Dale - During the Packers' Super Bowl years, Dale was the team's flanker. (For anyone under age 50, that's the wideout on the tight end side.) ;) Here we see him in an old photo from his 1960-1964 LA Rams days.

#105 Boyd Dowler - Dowler was the Packers' long-time split end. He was the rookie of the year in 1959, and led the Packers in receiving 7 times since then. You may recall (from watching the NFL Films Super Bowl I highlights, shown every January on ESPN) that Dowler's early-game injury in Super Bowl I paved the way for his replacement (Max McGee) to have a career day.

#157 Ray Nitschke - The Packers' middle linebacker was one tough, mean SOB. (I think that's a compliment, when referring to middle linebackers!) Outside of Dick Butkus, there was no better MLB during this era. Nitschke later appeared in the movie The Longest Yard, as a prison guard/middle linebacker who had a rough game against Burt Reynolds!

#131 Herb Adderley - Herb was the Packers' starting left cornerback, and was a fierce hitter. After winning 2 Super Bowls with the Packers, Adderley was traded to the Cowboys, where he participated in Super Bowls V and VI as the Cowboys' left cornerback.

#52 Bob Jeter - The back of this card tells us that Bob played in the Canadian Football League in 1961 and 1962, before joining the Packers in 1963. Normally the starting right cornerback, Jeter was also used as a backup receiver.

Also check out the 1967 and 1971 Packers.

Next time: Kansas City Chiefs

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