A Pack Of 1981 Fleer Teams-In-Action Football Action That I Opened In 1981

Back in 1981, I bought one pack of Fleer football to see what it was like. I clearly was not impressed, since this pack never had any ‘buddies’.
1981 Fleer Football Wrapper

I saved the cards, I saved the wrapper, the gum is long gone, and the stickers are probably still somewhere, but I don’t know where.

…And at this point I want to make it absolutely clear that even though I’m featuring this pack, it’s not a newly-ripped pack.

I kinda like this Jets card… A leaping attempt to block a field goal, and you can see the football touching the lefthand border, near the ref’s head.
1981 Fleer New York jets
This is back when the Jets played at Shea; you can tell from the Expos pennant on the outfield wall. In a way, it’s unfortunate that the Jets play in New Jersey now… with the real jets flying overhead on their way to or from LaGuardia Airport, the Jets should play in Queens.

Here’s the back of the card above.
1981 Fleer New York Jets back

Back at the time, Topps had licensing from the players’ union but not the NFL, and Fleer had licensing from the league but not the union.

Topps couldn’t use team logos, although team names were apparently OK… or perhaps the names weren’t yet trademarked and copyrighted every which way ‘til Sunday.

Fleer couldn’t use player names, and I would imagine that any photos used had to include multiple players so they couldn’t be accused of featuring an individual player, even if they didn’t name him. 

If Fleer did sets like this in today’s litigious climate, they would probably have to make sure that the photos did not include any clearly recognizable faces, tattoos or any other identifiable features.  Perhaps they would photoshop in some full-face visors so that it looked like the game was between Daft Punk and the ‘Niners.

Here’s a card featuring Super Bowl XXI. Who’s that Dallas Cowboys quarterback wearing #12? Certainly not any Football Hall-Of-Famers named “Roger”. Nuh-uh.
1981 Fleer Super Bowl XII

These cards are OK in their own way, but I’ve never cared for them. A card should ideally give you a feeling of being “up close and personal”, but these cards are kind of “far away and anonymous”.


2 thoughts on “A Pack Of 1981 Fleer Teams-In-Action Football Action That I Opened In 1981

    • I probably realized it at the time, but when you said this set mimics Fleer baseball, I said “Huh? Oh, yeah, it does. How about that.”

      The back of the Jets card says “CARD 38 OF 88”, so I’m guessing there were 88 cards in the set… But you can never be sure.

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