Thursday, November 9, 2017

1965: Adding To An Already Great Set

Topps football, custom cards that never were, NFL, AFL

By 1965 the NFL had begun to fully realize the product they had.  Unlike baseball, football was the perfect sport for television.  Seeing the broadcast ratings increasing for both the NFL and AFL, the NFL approved expansion for a team in Atlanta for 1966.  A merger with the AFL began to make sense, if only to drive down the out-of-control salaries that had escalated in the war between the two leagues.

Two NFL league founders, Jack Mira (Giants) and Curly Lambeau (Packers) had passed away during 1965 but an exciting crop of rookies like Gale Sayers, Bob Hayes, and Dick Butkus pointed the league in new and exciting directions. The Packers were still the class of the NFL and recent expansion teams like the Cowboys and Vikings began filling stadiums, while the AFL made football even more compelling with their pass-first philosophy.

As most collectors know, in the mid 60s two different companies handled the release of football cards and for a short period, the Philadelphia Gum Company made classy looking cards exclusively for the NFL.  RetroCards plans for seven series (24 cards each) that will add to the already sharp-looking 1965 set that originally had a mere 198 cards.  Series on fills in the gaps with great players like:

Sonny Randle, Gale Sayers, Lenny Lyles, Leroy Kelly, Dave Wilcox, Ordell Braase, Paul Martha, Del Shofner, Pat Richter, King Hill, Dick "Night Train" Lane, Bucky Pope, John Mackey, Dick Butkus, Ernie McMillan, Milt Plum, R.C. Owens, Tommy Wade, Ron Vander Kellen, commissioner Pete Rozelle, plus card featuring the NFL Championship, Pro Bowl, and Playoff Bowl games, and a wrapper card.

Series two will feature another 24 NFL stars and fan favorites, while series three and four will feature AFL All-stars. Coming soon!

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