One of the last sellers I visited had a nice big box of 60s-70s-80s Topps football cards, all in pretty nice condition. Jackpot! I had a twenty spot in my wallet at the time, and I spent a pretty good amount of time hovering over said box trying to get the greatest amount of cool cards within that threshold. I wound up with seven cards total. I had a tough time making the final cuts. Lots of hemming and hawing. But, in the end, I think I made the right picks. Plus, you know, there's always next time!
In this first of five parts, I decided to showcase a pair of Buffalo Bills running backs from days of old. After all, my guys notched a solid victory in Cleveland on Sunday, so I'm in a Bills kind of mood.
I'll begin with arguably the greatest Bills player of all time:
|1976 Topps, #300|
I know, I know. Before you get all crazy and start screaming, just know that I think O.J. was guilty as sin. But, there are plenty of other places to vent about O.J. and the injustices involved in that circus of a trial. I'd rather focus on O.J.'s place in football history. Back when Simpson was only known for his heroics on the field, not the bad intent in his heart. And on the field, there weren't many better than O.J. He ran for 1,800+ yards and scored 16 TDs in the '75 season -- just a couple seasons removed from his 2,000-yard campaign. And that's back when NFL teams played a 14-game schedule, folks.
As for the card itself, mid-70s Topps football is totally fabulous, and the '76 design is one of the best.
We now fast forward five years for a rookie card of another Bills tailback, this one without the notoriety of a certain Orenthal James:
|1981 Topps, #360|
Cribbs burst onto the scene in 1980, leading the Bills with 1,185 yards and 11 scores. He was not only the AFC R.O.Y., but also a Pro Bowler. He made the Pro Bowl twice more over the next three years, but was out of the NFL shortly thereafter. He only scored 16 touchdowns over the final seven years of his career. Safe to say, the man with the helmet-dented forehead pictured in the above card was at the pinnacle of his career when that photo was snapped.
The 1981 Topps design is the epitome of Plain Jane, is it not? Not a whole lot to fall in love with. The addition of the All-Pro banner adds a little spice, but the flavor is still akin to sucking on a marble.
In my next installment of Vintage Football, a former Super Bowl hero who starred for a team that I absolutely despise...