Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dallas Cowboys

Here are the 1968 Dallas Cowboys. They finished at 9-5 in 1967, and lost their 2nd straight NFL Championship game to the Green Bay Packers (thereby missing both Super Bowls I and II by one game). In 1968, they improved their record to 12-2, but lost to the Browns in the first playoff round.

Don Meredith played his entire career (1960-68) with the Cowboys, and was the starting QB from 1963-68, as well as half of the 1962 season. Don made the Pro Bowl in his final 3 seasons. He started 13 of 14 games in his final season.

Craig Morton was the Cowboys' 1st-round pick (5th overall) in the 1965 draft. He was the #3 quarterback behind Meredith and Jerry Rhome for 2 seasons, moved ahead of Rhome in 1967, and inherited the starting job in 1969 after Meredith's retirement. In 1970, he piloted the team to Super Bowl V against the Colts, but lost on a last-second field goal. The Cowboys won the Supe in '71, but Roger Staubach was the starting QB that season. Morton was again the starter in 1972, but after that, it was Staubach's team.

Morton was traded to the Giants during the 1974 season, and started there through 1976. He moved on to Denver in 1977, and faced Staubach's Cowboys in the Super Bowl after his first season with the Broncos. Morton was the team's starting QB from '77 to '81, and finished as a backup in 1982.

Dan Reeves played 8 seasons in the NFL (1965-72), all with the Cowboys. He was the team's starting halfback from 1966-67, before giving way to Calvin Hill. After his playing career, he was an assistant coach with the Cowboys, then a head coach every year from 1981-2003, with the Broncos, Giants, and Falcons.

Don Perkins was one of the Cowboys' stars in the early 1960s. He was the starting fullback for his entire career (1961-68), and made the Pro Bowl 6 times (including his first 3 seasons).

Bob Hayes joined the Cowboys in 1965, after winning 2 gold medals in the 1964 Olympics. He was the starting split end from 1965 - 1973 (except for part of 1972), and was a top punt returner during his first 6 seasons. Bob led the NFL in touchdowns during his first 2 seasons, and made the Pro Bowl in each of his first 4 seasons. He was a backup during his final 2 seasons with Dallas (1974) and San Francisco (1975). Hayes was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009, 7 years after his death at age 59.

Bob Lilly was the Cowboys' #1 pick in 1961, and started every game in his 14-year career with Dallas (1961-74). After playing defensive end for his first 3 seasons, he moved to tackle for the remainder of his career. The 11-time Pro Bowler was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980.

Lee Roy Jordan was the Cowboys' #1 pick in 1963, and started immediately at right linebacker. He moved to middle linebacker in 1966, and remained the starter there until his retirement after the 1976 season. Jordan was a 5-time Pro Bowl selection.

Here we see Cornell Green in his early-1960s Cowboys jersey (the same as Meredith, Perkins, and Lilly). Green joined the Cowboys in 1962, and was their starting left cornerback from 1963-69. When Herb Adderley joined the team in 1970, Green moved to strong safety, becoming the regular there for his final 5 seasons. Cornell was a Cowboy for all of his 13 seasons, and was a 5-time Pro Bowler. His brother Pumpsie Green played major-league baseball.

Mel Renfro was a 2nd-round pick in 1964, and was immediately thrust into the starting lineup. He was the free safety from 1964-69, then the starting right cornerback from 1970-76. He finished his career in 1977 as a backup DB. Renfro made the pro Bowl in each of his first 10 seasons, and returned punts and kicks for his first 3 seasons. As a rookie, he led the NFL in returns and return yardage for both kicks and punts. Mel was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996.

Also check out the 1967, 1971, and 1972 Cowboys.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pittsburgh Steelers

Here are the 1968 Pittsburgh Steelers. Most teams had 8 or 9 cards in the '68 set, but the Steelers only have 7 cards. Quarterback Bill Nelsen was traded to the Browns in May 1968, so Topps updated Nelsen's card, giving the Browns 10 cards, while leaving the Steelers without a QB card.

Four of the players appear in the so-called "Batman" jerseys worn during the '66 and '67 seasons.

Of the players below, only Andy Russell was still with the team when they reached the Super Bowl in the early 1970s. 

Like many of the NFL players in this set, Gros is pictured in an older photo, wearing his Packers' jersey from his 1962-63 stint in Green Bay. (Topps didn't issue NFL cards from 1964-67, so recent pics weren't available.) Gros was the Eagles' starting fullback from 1964-66, and was traded to Pittsburgh before the '67 season. He was their starting FB in '68 and '69, then ended his career with the 1970 Saints.

J. R. Wilburn played his entire career (1966-70) with the Steelers. He was the team's starting flanker from 1967-69, but lost his starting job to rookie Ron Shanklin in 1970.

Roy Jefferson may have been the best player in this group. He led the NFL with 1074 receiving yards in 1968, and had 1079 yards in 1969. After 5 seasons in Pittsburgh, he played for the Colts in 1970, and the last 6 seasons of his career with the Redskins. He also returned punts in '65, '66, and '68.

Bill Saul was the Colts' 2nd-round pick (out of Linebacker U.) in 1962. After 2 seasons as a reserve, he moved to Pittsburgh in 1964. He played behind Myron Pottios for a year, then missed the entire 1965 season. He returned as the team's starting MLB in '66 and '67. He lost the starting job in 1968 to future Baltimore Colt Ray May. Saul finished up as a backup in New Orleans (1969) and Detroit (1970).

Andy Russell was the Steelers' SIXTEENTH-round pick in 1963. He was their starting right linebacker for his entire career (1963-76), except for missing all of 1964-65 while in the US Army. Russell was a 7-time Pro Bowler, including every season from 1970-75.

Marv Woodson played 5 1/2 seasons with the Steelers (1964-69), before finishing the 1969 season (and his career) with the Saints. He was Pittsburgh's starting left cornerback from 1965-68.

Paul Martha was the Steelers' #1 pick in the 1964 draft. He was a split end for his first 2 seasons, then moved to defense, becoming the starting free safety from 1966 to 1969. He finished his career in 1970 as the Bronco's starting free safety. After football he became an attorney, and was an executive with the 49ers and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Also check out the 1967 and 1972 Steelers.