Monday, January 5, 2009

1976 Fleer Football NFL Team Action Sticker Cards

Its a card....no, its a sticker....wait, its both!

What is it? Its a 1976 Fleer Football NFL Team Action Sticker Card!


In 1976 Fleer returned to producing cards picturing Pro Football players after a 13 year absence, as their last Football card set featuring players had been 1963 featuring AFL teams:


This time however, the cards were actually stickers.

The fronts feature a game action shot:


while the backs have a writeup about the picture on the front of the card.


The interesting thing about this set is that Fleer did not have a license with the NFL Players Association so the cards never mention any of the players by name. Apparently coaches are a different matter though, since as in the case of the Redskins, they actually mention George Allen (although they are careful not to mention the "Over-The-Hill Gang" but rather describe the linemen as "very mature").

The one license that Fleer did have though, was a license with NFL Properties to use the team logos, so these cards put the pictures on Topps cards from this era to shame.

I mean really, which card would you rather have from 1976? A Jets Team Action Card with Joe Namath (gee, can't find him in my 1976 Topps set) handing off to John Riggins:


or the Jets backup quarterback with white-out applied to all the players' helmets?


I don't mean to knock the 1976 Topps Football set as I do like the set, but airbrushed helmets are just plain ugly:


It really is a shame that Topps didn't feel that it was necessary to pay to license the NFL logos during the 1970s as it really makes the pictures on their cards look cheap.

Turning our attention back to the 1976 Fleer set, each team had 2 stickers/cards - one for an offensive play:


and one for a defensive play:


As 1976 was an expansion year, we also get our first look at the 2 new team's uniforms and their stadiums (instead of an offensive and defensive picture):



The one other thing the set included were cards commemorating the previous Super Bowls (I - X):



The cards are relatively hard to find, which is why I don't have many from my own collection to share. I do however, have some pictures from an ebay auction from a while back that included almost all the stickers in the 66 card set:







Here's the box for the 1976 Fleer Team Action Stickers:


As well as a look at the inside with some unopened packs:


And finally a look at the wrapper:


I've never seen the poster mentioned on the wrapper that held all 66 stickers - that is something I'd like to track down some day.

The Team Action Stickers would become cards in 1977, and would continue as an annual release up through 1988.

1976 was the only year that team helmet and logo stickers were not inserted in the Team Action packs, presumably because 1) the helmets were already pictured on the Team Action stickers themselves, and 2) Fleer had also released their final Cloth Patch set at the same time in 1976 along with "New Super Hi-Gloss" stickers which marked the end of the Cloth Patches and the beginning of glossy stickers:



I previously covered the 1976 Cloth Patches & Hi Gloss Stickers in September through November of last year taking a look at each team's cloth patches from 1972 - 1976:


One final item to note - Fleer paid tribute to the set design a few years ago when they included a subset of Team Action cards in their 2003 Platinum set complete with the team's helmet inside a shield in the corner of the card just like the 1976 set:

2 comments:

toppcat said...

Jon:

I never knew about the 76 Stickers-great job!

Scott said...

I had a bunch of those JJ Jones cards. I always felt cheated somehow when I looked at them.