The 1980 Topps set represents the first year of my fantasy football league. And that's why I bought it. That, and the fact it was cheap. It is a Topps-without-a-license set but that doesn't bug me as much as it does with baseball sets. Probably because I'm used to seeing football cards with portrait shots taken on the sidelines. Would it be better with a team logo in the design? Absolutely. But sets can work just fine without them.
The set kicks off with a 'Record Breakers' subset as shown in the Harold Carmichael card up top. Unlike the '86 and '87 sets I've posted recently, this one is not grouped by team. It's done in the usual random player checklist pattern.
I'd like to think I'm the only person alive who can say he had Matt Robinson (who?) on his fantasy team. On a side note... this is supposed to be out 41st season. I think the odds of it coming off as less than 50/50 right now.
My QB that year ended up being my pal Tommy Kramer.
The card design is pretty simple as you can see. That football with the name inserted reminds me of this:
All Pro players with the appropriate banner.
At first glance, I thought Allan Ellis' pic was taken at Memorial Stadium but looking closer (and factoring in his uniform color) I'm thinking that it's Soldier Field.
The backs had stats, vitals, and a random fact related to the featured players' team.
Some helmet airbrushing made the player look like The Great Gazoo.
The Cleveland 'No Logo' Browns didn't have to concern themselves with airbrush nonsense.
Photos from some angles make the lack of logos irrelevant.
The highest cost card of the set is Phil Simms' rookie card.
Sweetness's card is cool no matter what.
Sideline capes, the football version od bat rack shots.
There were some helmetless shots which showed off that's 80s hair look.
BTW...Doug Kotar...or Waylon Jennings? You make the call.
There were a few scattered game action shots. Like this one of Mike Phipps.
And that card brings up one of the mysteries of this set. Check out DE Fred Dryer in that photo. The Rams' helmets were not tinkered with. Their iconic horn graphics were allowed on the cards. Like so:
I tried to find out why that was done but came up dry. Perhaps the 'horn' graphic was OK because it wasn't considered the team's official logo. The team used a ram's head for that. But that doesn't explain why the Vikings helmets' were airbrushed. The Viking horn on the helmet wasn't their official logo either, the Viking profile was. Who knows?
The Chargers had their 'bolts' obscured. It doesn't look as bad on the white unis as it does on the blue.
Scattered through the set were team cards that featured stat leaders. The Giants have always been my 'second team' and even I don't really remember Billy Taylor. He led the team in rushing yards in 1979 while starting nine games. The '79 Giants were terrible.
And the playoff subset covered the conference finals and the Super Bowl.
Dan Pastorini as a Raider, My drinking buddy Kenny Stabler as an Oiler. We're living in the Upside Down, people.
At first, I wondered if the black armband was an airbrush attempt to obscure the Cardinal unique sleeve stripe pattern. then I remembered.
The black armband covering their multiple sleeve stripes were worn during the 1979 season following the training camp death of TE J.V. Cain on his 28th birthday. Cain had been the 8th overall pick in the 1974 draft.
Joe Lavender was as cool as the other side of the pillow.
I showed this Paul Coffman card to my wife and she burst out laughing. She said 'You were playing pro football and I didn't even know it!".
Yes, he's my long lost twin. At least he's doing what I'd be doing on a pro football sideline, sitting it out.
I've decided that since I have the set from the first year of our fantasy league that a fun little project would be to nab a set from each of the five years I won the league. I'm working on that right now.
I also found the 30 card Super Football set. Topps loved 5x7 cards back then. They were pretty nice, truth be told.
Good stuff. And 30 cards for just a few dollars made it easy for me to pick it up and include it in the binder.
I won't burden everyone with the sets I pick up for my championship years, or maybe I will!