Monday, March 8, 2010

Buffalo Bills

Here are the 1968 Buffalo Bills. Eight cards, yet only one defensive player is featured. The Bills are just coming off a 4-10 season in 1967, finishing 3rd in the East Division. In 1968, they would sink to 1-12-1 (beating only the Jets) which guaranteed them the status of "Worst team in football". The prize would be #1 draft pick O. J. Simpson.

#149 Jack Kemp - Kemp was the Lions' 17th-round pick in 1957. He didn't play for the Lions, but spent 1957 with the Steelers. (Now we can add Kemp to the list of QBs who rode the bench in Pittsburgh in the late 1950s, along with Johnny Unitas and Lenny Dawson!) After not playing in 1958-59, Kemp joined the AFL's new Los Angeles Chargers in 1960. He started 26 of 28 games for the Chargers in 1960 and 1961. After missing some games in 1962 due to injuries, he was lost to the Bills in a botched-up injury waivers move. Jack was the Bills' starting QB from 1963 to 1969, except for missing the entire 1968 season (hence the 1-12-1 record). He was a 7-time Pro-bowler, and retired after the 1969 season. He then went into politics, advancing all the way to Vice-Presidential candidate in 1996.

#19 Keith Lincoln - Lincoln played with the Chargers from 1961-66. He came to the Bills for 1967, and after 4 games in 1968, he returned to San Diego, retiring after the 1968 season. Keith played in 5 Pro Bowls.

#97 Wray Carlton - Carlton was the Philadelphia Eagles' 3rd-round pick in 1959, but didn't play for them. He played his entire career (1960-67) for the Bills, making the Pro Bowl twice.

#71 Art Powell - Art was also drafted by the Eagles in 1959 (11th round), and was their starting free safety in his rookie season. From 1960-62 he was the starting split end for the New York Titans (Jets), a position he also held with the Raiders from 1963-66. In 1962 and 1963, he led the AFL in receiving yards. He played sparingly for Buffalo (1967) and Minnesota (1968) at the end of his career.

#175 Paul Costa - At 256 pounds, it's safe to assume Costa was the tight end! In 1964, he was drafted by both the Packers and the Chiefs, but played for neither. Paul played his entire career with the Bills, first as their tight end (1965-68), then as the right tackle (1969-72).

#44 Stew Barber - Stew was drafted by the Bills and Cowboys in 1961. He was the Bills' starting right linebacker during his rookie season, then started at left offensive tackle from 1962 until his retirement after the 1969 season. He made the Pro Bowl from 1963 to 1967.

#123 Mike Mercer - Mercer's career spanned 1961 to 1970, playing for 6 teams (Vikings, Raiders, Chiefs, Bills, Packers, Chargers). He also punted while with the Vikings, Raiders, and Chargers.

#201 George Saimes - Saimes was drafted by the Chiefs and Rams in 1963, but played for the Bills from 1963 to 1969, where he was their starting free safety each season. He finished his career in Denver from 1970-72, and was the Broncos' starting free safety in 1971.

Also check out the 1971 Bills.


Erik said...

If Namath is in the Hall of Fame what about Kemp?

His stats are comparable to Namath and he led Buffalo to two AFL titles, played in five AFL title games and was AFL MVP once as well.

Erik said...

If Namath is in the HOF, why not Kemp? He played in five AFL Title games, winning two, was the 1965 AFL MVP, a true field general and leader in the locker room.

His stats are comparable to Namath's as are John Hadl, Lamonica and Roman Gabriel.

Jim from Downingtown said...


I guess it's the same story as with John Hadl. Kemp did his damage in San Diego and Buffalo - not exactly media/glamour centers of the country.

Thanks for all your comments!!!

Erik said...


Two things about Jack Kemp's card.

First, I never noticed his helmet is on the ground behind him. I loved that Bills logo on their helmet.

Second, above the Buffalo logo in the circle is what appears to be a brown smudge/mark?

I picked up this card last week and saw the smudge/mark and at first thought it was just my card. Then, I looked at other 68 Kemp cards and they are all on there. It cannot be from the stadium though.

Two, random, dumb obsverations, but oh

Jim from Downingtown said...

Hmmm... could it be a low-hanging tree branch? It looks like he may be on some kind of practice field. (At least we know it isn't an XFL wire camera!)