Cards From “The Unholy Mess”, Part 3: Love At First Sight

Today I’m continuing the trip through “The Unholy Mess”:  A cheap box of semi-vintage football and baseball commons in complete and utter disarray.

It took me many, many hours to sort through all of the cards of Jerry Dybzinkski, John Zook and others…
Unholy Mess_0003
…but I was having a good enough time going through the commons. At one point, I’d spent numerous hours going through this box, mindlessly sorting and essentially re-creating the childhood ritual of “Got him, need him, got him”…

…And then…

I pulled a handful of cards out of the box and revealed a larger-than-expected face staring back at me.

A face belonging to Fran Tarkenton.
1970 Topps Super Football Fran Tarkenton
For the first time since starting on this box, I excitedly went “Oooooh!”

Fran came from the 1970 Topps “Super Football” set – not to be confused with 1970 Topps Super Glossy Football.  These cards are the thickness of several cards and 3.125″ x 5.25″ in size.  I’m not much of a football collector, but I am a sucker for oversized cards, and this one was a beauty.

1970 was during Tarkenton’s five-year run with the Giants;  he started out with the 1961 expansion Vikings, got traded to New York and then back to Minnesota 5 years later.

The back was (as I would later find out) the same as the 1970 Topps set, only larger and with a different card number.  The player’s name on the front of the card, which I initially took to be a lame attempt at a “signature”, is in the same font as the back of the card.
1970 Topps Super Football Fran Tarkenton back

Shortly afterwards I found out that Fran had brought some friends with him, all but one a Football Hall-Of-Famer…

Dick Butkus, a middle linebacker, was the Bears’ first round pick in 1965 and played in 8 straight Pro Bowls before a knee injury ended his career.
1970 Topps Super Football Dick Butkus

Lance Alworth, a wide receiver, was the first AFL player to get into the Hall.
1970 Topps Super Football Lance Alworth

Tommy Nobis is the sole player I got who wasn’t a HOFer, but that gets balanced out by the fact that this card is a short print. Nobis was a linebacker who was the #1 overall draft pick and the first-ever Atlanta Falcon. He was a 5-time Pro Bowler and his #60 was retired by the Falcons.
1970 Topps Super Football Tommy Nobis

Johnny Unitas… is, well, Johnny Unitas. The part that always gets me about his bio is that he was drafted by the Steelers in the 9th round but cut before throwing a pass in a game.
1970 Topps Super Football Johnny Unitas

I was instantly smitten with these oversized and completely unexpected cards, and didn’t hesitate for a second in deciding that these cards were going to be part of my collection… although I honestly don’t see myself working too hard to complete the set. I’d rather work on the Super Baseball sets… And I did get two Super Baseball cards during the COMC Black Friday sale.  I’ll have more about those before too long.

Just to fill in the details before we go, the 1970 Topps Super Football set consists of 35 cards, 7 of which are SP’s. All 26 NFL teams of the day are represented… obviously some have two cards.

3 thoughts on “Cards From “The Unholy Mess”, Part 3: Love At First Sight

  1. The Topps Supers are, well…super. I just bought the Tom Matte at the show last week and I planned to post it this week. sadly the guy didn’t have the Unitas..

  2. 1970 TOPPS SUPER FOOTBALL was one of the best small sets TOPPS ever produced with all nicely shot photos … You have some real winners there.

  3. Pingback: Hope Everyone’s Having A (Topps) Super Weekend! | The Shlabotnik Report

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