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.