Saturday, May 29, 2021

Atlanta Falcons

After compiling records of 3-10 and 1-12-1 in their first two seasons, the 1968 Falcons finished up at 2-12 in 1968. 
They replaced original head coach Norb Hecker with Norm Van Brocklin after 3 games in 1968. With a full season under his belt, The Dutchman improved the team to 6-8 in 1969, but they wouldn't have a winning record until 1971 (7-6-1).
Junior Coffey and Dan Grimm are the only two players here from the 1966 expansion draft.
Randy Johnson was the second 1st-round pick by the Falcons in the 1966 draft. (As the expansion team, Atlanta was given the 1st pick in each round, and another pick at the end of rounds 1 to 5.) He was the starting QB for 2 1/2 seasons, before giving way to Bob Berry. Johnson played 5 seasons with the Falcons, then 3 with the Giants. After playing 1974 with the WFL's Hawaiians, he returned to the NFL with the Redskins ('75) and Packers ('76). 
Ron Vander Kelen was the hero of the 1963 Rose Bowl, setting passing records that still stand today. His NFL career wasn’t as impressive. He was the Vikings' backup QB for 5 seasons (1963-67), and only started as many as 3 games once (in 1967, after the departure of Fran Tarkenton). He was traded to the Falcons in 1968, but was released before the season and ended up in the CFL that year. 
Junior Coffey was the Packers' 7th-round pick in 1965. After a year on the bench he was picked by the Falcons in the expansion draft, and started at halfback for the next 2 seasons. He missed the 1968 season, but returned in 1969, splitting his time between the Falcons and Giants. After another lost season (1970) he wrapped up his career with a few games in 1971.
Tommy McDonald was the Eagles' 3rd-round pick in 1957. He played 7 seasons for the Eagles, making the Pro Bowl 5 times, and led the NFL in TDs twice (’58, '61) and receiving yards ('61). After a year with the Cowboys, he played for the Rams ('65, '66) and Falcons ('67), then was a bench player for the Browns in 1968. He was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998. 
Jerry Simmons was a journeyman wide receiver who played for 5 teams from 1965 to 1974. After 2 seasons with the Steelers, he was selected by the Saints in the 1967 expansion draft, but was flipped to the Falcons during the season. His 1968 season with the Falcons was the only year he started all 14 games. He split the '69 season between Atlanta and Chicago, then after missing 1970 he played his final 4 seasons with the Broncos (starting most games in '71 and '73). 
Dan Grimm was the Packers' 5th-round pick in 1963. He started no games in '63 or '65, but started 13 games in 1964 in place of injured right guard Jerry Kramer. Drafted by the Falcons in 1966, he was the starting right guard that season, but was limited to 2 games in 1967. Grimm returned in 1968 as the starting center. He finished up with the Colts and Redskins in 1969. 
Tommy Nobis was the first overall pick in the 1966 NFL draft. (He was also the Oilers' 1st pick in the AFL draft.) Nobis played 11 seasons, all as the Falcons' middle linebacker. He missed most of the '69 and '71 seasons with injuries, but started every game in 7 other seasons. He made 5 Pro Bowls, and I'm surprised he's not in the Hall of Fame. 
Bob Riggle was picked a distant 20th by the Falcons in 1966, and was their starting free safety for their first 2 seasons, starting every game in '66 and starting all 11 games he played in '67. After that, his career was mysteriously over.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

New York Giants

As you may have noticed, my football card blogs have been even more neglected than my baseball card blogs. I guess there are many reasons:
- So many scans per blog entry.
- Mostly the same half-dozen or so players from one year to the next, so it's hard not to repeat myself.
- Mostly though, I’ve just lost interest in football over the years.

On the other hand, I don’t like to leave things undone. So, I’m going to attempt a reboot of my 4 football card blogs. There are 30 teams remaining to be posted across the 4 blogs. At 9 to 10 cards per team that’s about 300 scans.


So the format will change a bit for the remaining posts. The cards will be scanned in groups of 8 or 9 to minimize the number of scans. Since football season is starting soon (maybe), I will try to post 1 or 2 teams per week, which will wrap up these 4 blogs by the end of this season. Then I will retire them knowing they are complete.


In 1966 the Giants finished at 1-12-1, their lone win a result of narrowly beating the Redskins 13-10. (They couldn’t even beat the expansion Falcons, losing 27-16!)

Before the 1967 season they acquired Fran Tarkenton from the Vikings and improved to 7-7, a record they would repeat in 1968.

The Giants would not have a winning record until 1970, when they finished in 2nd place with a 9-5 record. (They would not finish that high in the standings again until 1984.)

Fran Tarkenton played for the Vikings from 1961-66, and 72-78. In between, he spent 5 seasons in the Big Apple. He started all but one game for the Giants. Four of his nine Pro Bowl selections came as a Giant.

Tucker Fredrickson was the first overall pick in the 1965 draft. He was the starting fullback as a rookie, and made the Pro Bowl. After missing 1966 with a knee injury, he was a part-time starting fullback for the rest of his career (1967-71), although starting for most of 1970.

Ernie Koy played for the Giants from 1965-70, and was their starting halfback from 1966-69. He was also the punter from 1965-69, and part of 1970.

Joe Morrison played for 14 years (1959-72), all with the Giants. He was a starter from 1960-61, and 63-69. Depending on the season, he lined up at running back or flanker. He also played safety in the 1961 post-season. Morrison is one of 12 Giants to have his number retired.

Homer Jones played for the Giants from 1964-69. After 2 seasons on the bench, he was the starting split end for 4 seasons, making the Pro Bowl in ’67 and ’68, and leading the NFL with 13 TDs in 1967. After the 1969 season he was traded to the Browns for running back Ron Johnson.

Aaron Thomas was the Giants' starting tight end from 1964-69. After playing for the 49ers in 1961, he was acquired by the Giants in mid-1962 and played through 1970. He made the Pro Bowl in 1964.

Jim Katcavage is the last player remaining from the Giants’ glory years, when they played in 6 championship games in 8 years between 1956-63 (winning in 1956). He played 13 seasons (1956-68) and was a starter every season except his rookie year. After playing right DT in 1957, he moved to left end for the next 11 seasons. He played every game from 1959-68, except for missing half the 1960 season with injuries. He made the Pro Bowl 3 times (1961-1963).

Henry Carr was a track star at Arizona State University, and won 2 gold medals at the 1964 Olympics. The Giants drafted him in 1965, ostensibly so they would have someone who could cover the Cowboys’ Bob Hayes. He was a starting safety for 2 years, then started at right cornerback in 1967. A knee injury ended his career.

Spider Lockhart was a 13th-round pick in 1965, but started almost every game during his 11-year career (1965-75). After 2 seasons at left cornerback, he moved to free safety. He also returned punts most years, and punted a few times during his first 4 seasons. He was a 2-time Pro Bowler.