Saturday, January 31, 2009

1980 Fleer NFL Team Action Football Cards and Stickers

For the fourth consecutive year, the Fleer Team Action Cards and Stickers had a very similar look to the previous sets from 1977 - 1979.

The sticker set was once again 56 stickers (2 per team) with an additional 9 blue border variations for a total master set of 65 stickers. 1980 was the last year that Fleer would use this sticker desgin that started with the 1977 set.

The 1980 stickers are almost identical to the set that is fully pictured in my 1977 review except for the Jets helmet and logo changes from the 1978 set, the Seahawks backgound change in the 1979 set, and the following changes in the 1980 set:

Buffalo Bills Logo (1977-1979 on the left / 1980 on the right)

Denver Broncos Logo (1977-1979 on the left / 1980 on the right)

Houston Oilers Logo (1977-1979 on the left / 1980 on the right)

Philadelphia Eagles Helmet (1977-1979 on the top / 1980 on the bottom)

The 1980 stickers have blank backs, so there was no puzzle this time around like with the 1978 and 1979 sets.

The team action cards are also similar in design to the 3 previous sets, with the main change in 1980 being the red, white, and blue border this time around. As was the case with earlier sets, another card was added to the set (bringing the size to 70 cards) for Super Bowl XIV to continue expanding the Super Bowl subset each year in order to include the most recent game:

The backs once again describe the picture on the front:

Finally, here is the 1980 wrapper:

The 1980 wrappers no longer offer the team sticker Collectors Poster that were available in 1978 & 1979, but rather player posters through a company called Marketcom. Its interesting that while Fleer was not allowed to use player names on the cards (as they did not have a license with the NFL Players Association), apparently they were not restricted from offering these player posters on the wrappers, presumably because they were not a Fleer product (hence the verbiage "OFFER BY MARKETCOM").

Thursday, January 29, 2009

1979 Fleer NFL Team Action Sticker Puzzle Uncut Sheet

To show what the 1979 puzzle on the back of the Fleer Team Action stickers looks like, its hard to beat an uncut sheet:

(Thanks to Fleer Sticker Project contributor Steve for this picture as well as the next one that follows)

Here is a look at the other side with the stickers:

As this uncut puzzle sheet occasionally comes up for auction, I have seen it with other stickers on the back as well:

I'm not sure how many of these puzzles would constitute a full uncut sheet. Given that these 3 partial sheets comprise 49 out of the 65 possible stickers, I'm guessing that there would be one more partial sheet with the remaining 16 stickers, so perhaps a full uncut sheet consisted of 4 complete puzzles.

In taking a look at the 16 remaining stickers that are not represented in the pictures above, a pattern appears. 9 of the remaining stickers have yellow borders (Colts Helmet, Browns Helmet, Broncos Helmet, Rams Helmet, Vikings Helmet, Saints Helmet, Giants Helmet, Raiders Helmet, and Seahawks Helmet) and 6 have green borders (Bengals Helmet, Eagles Helmet, Steelers Helmet, Chargers Helmet, 49ers Helmet, Buccaneers Helmet). This pattern matches the sheet directly above with the first 3 columns having 9 yellow and 6 green bordered stickers which then repeat themselves as you go across the sheet.

The one sticker unaccounted for is the blue bordered Falcons Helmet. Perhaps the sheet that I have not yet found a picture of has one column that has 2 blue bordered stickers, one of which is the Falcons, and another which is simply an extra printing of one of the other blue bordered stickers.

One of the interesting things about looking at these sheets is that they help explain why there are the 9 less common blue border variations. The 9 blue border variations are the Falcons helmet, Colts helmet, Bears helmet, Rams logo, Patriots helmet, Jets logo, Raiders logo, Eagles helmet, Steelers logo.

As you can see in the first sheet, the blue bordered Jets, Rams, Raiders and Steelers only appear once while the other stickers on the sheet appear 2 or 3 times. The same is true on the next sheet, where the Colts, Eagles, Bears, and Patriots only appear once.

I've always wondered why those blue border variations were harder to track down, and now its clear why.

The other thing that this helps explain is why most stickers can be found with a couple of different puzzle back variations. Since most of the stickers are repeated 2 or 3 times times on these sheets, we can see why a given sticker may have 2 or 3 different puzzle back variations.

Just like we saw with the 1979 Fleer Grand Slam Baseball Sticker Uncut Puzzle

it appears that Fleer either made these available at some point (since they show up for auction from time to time and are both from 1979), or some one from Fleer or the company that did the printing for Fleer had some of these puzzles cut from the sheets and over time they have made their way into the hobby.

Regardless of how they've come about, its nice to have uncut versions of these 1979 puzzles. Now if I could only find some 1978 uncut puzzles....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

1979 Fleer NFL Team Action Football Cards and Stickers

The 1979 Fleer NFL Team Action Stickers are nearly identical to the 1977 & 1978 stickers on the front:

The only sticker change was on the Seahawks sticker with the red border, where the background changed from white (1977 & 1978) to blue:

The other Seahawks sticker in the set with the yellow border retained the white background. Presumably Fleer figured out that since they weren't publishing a logo sticker for the Seahawks they needed to do something else besides a different colored border to differentiate the stickers so that there were 2 different Seahawks stickers in the set to be consistent with the other teams.

Once again there was a puzzle on the back of the stickers, this time of the Super Bowl XIII between the Steelers and the Cowboys:

The card design is nearly identical to the 1977 white border set, except for the addition of a colored frame around the picture:

The backs once again describe the action that is taking place on the card:

Of course, since Fleer didn't have a license from the NFL Players Association, instead of the card mentioning that Bert Jones (# 7) is on the front of the card, the text simply says the offense is led by "one of the NFL's premier quarterbacks."

Once again there are 2 cards for each team - 1 offensive play and 1 defensive play. The Super Bowl subset is once again included, meaning the card set increased yet again to 69 cards to include a card for Super Bowl XIII.

The wrapper included an offer for the Collectors Posters just like the 1978 wrapper

and has a drawing of Joe Theisman on the front.

Packs retailed for $.20 as shown on the box:

Ah, the good old days. For about $5, you could have had a full box of this to enjoy opening:

Friday, January 23, 2009

1978 Fleer Team Action Sticker Collectors Posters

One last followup regarding the 1978 Fleer NFL Team Action set that I wanted to cover - the Football Sticker Collectors Posters:

There were 2 posters (one for the AFC and another for the NFC) which were available from Fleer as a mail in offer on the wrappers:

Here's a closer look at the offer:

The interesting thing about the posters is that the picture on the wrapper shows the old Jets logo and helmet, which were used in the 1977 set, but not the 1978 set.

The picture I've posted of the poster with the stickers on it above shows the 1978 version of the new logo. The ad would seem to indicate that maybe this poster had been available in 1977 as well given the old Jets logos, although I've never seen a 1977 wrapper with an offer for these posters.

But even more odd is that the Buccaneers are shown on the AFC poster in the ad as well as the picture I've posted. The Buccaneers were in the AFC in their first year (1976), but switched to the NFC in 1977 (as they swapped conferences with the Seahawks). That would seem to indicate that this poster could therefore have possibly been first available in 1976.

However, that can't be the case since Fleer didn't start producing these type of stickers until 1977. The 1976 Cloth Patch & Hi-Gloss Stickers are not the same size as the 1977 - 1980 stickers, so they would not have fit correctly on the poster.

Here is a comparison between the 1976 Hi-Gloss Sticker on the left and the 1977 Team Action sticker on the right:

The 1977 - 1980 sticker is the same width, but it is taller than the 1976 sticker.

Perhaps the poster was first available in 1977, and Fleer failed to account for the expansion teams switching leagues and incorrectly kept the Buccaneers on the AFC poster.

This might even tie in with The Mystery 1977 Fleer NFL Football Patches Collector's Book that was the mail in offer on the 1977 wrapper:

Since that offer appeared to be for the 1975 Sunbeam Saver Book that did not have places for the 1976 expansion teams:

perhaps Fleer addressed the issue by coming up with the Collectors Posters so that they could include the Buccaneers and Seahawks and sent those instead of the Saver Books to collectors who responded to the ad on the wrappers.

One final observation - the offer contains a bit of false advertising. The offer says "Display all 56 designs"

but the posters only hold 55 stickers. How come?

The answer is the Seahawks. Since Fleer didn't create a logo sticker for the team, but simply double printed the helmet with 2 different colored borders

there was no need to have 2 spots on the posters for the same sticker.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

1978 Fleer NFL Team Action Sticker Puzzle

As a followup to the previous post on the 1978 Fleer NFL Team Action set, here is a picture of the complete puzzle on the back of the stickers showing a shot from inside the Louisiana Superdome of Super Bowl XII between the Cowboys and Broncos:

This was the first Super Bowl played in a dome, which this puzzle clearly shows given that the top 3 rows of the puzzle just show the lights inside the dome. I'd like to say thanks to Craig for helping me track down the pieces I needed to finish off this puzzle!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

1978 Fleer NFL Team Action Football Cards and Stickers

The 1978 NFL Team Action Football Cards and Stickers are in many ways nearly identical to the 1977 set.

The 1978 stickers are identical to the 1977 stickers except for the backs which feature a puzzle of Super Bowl XII between the Cowboys and Broncos (instead of instructions on how to peel the sticker):

The only changes on the fronts of the stickers occurred for the Jets, who changed their logo from 1977 (top) to 1978 (bottom):

All the other stickers in the set are identical to the full set of stickers I posted in the review of the 1977 set.

The card designs are even the same, except Fleer replaced the white borders on the 1977 set with yellow borders for the 1978 set. The cards once again feature 1 card highlighting an offensive play and another card featuring a defensive play for each team:

The set once again had a subset of Super Bowl cards, which meant that the set grew by one to a total of 68 cards with the addition of a card for Super Bowl XII.

Take a closer look at these cards. Can you find any pictures like the Vikings card with Chuck Foreman rushing through the snow or any of these other great actions shots in your 1978 Topps set? I don't think so.

This is what we got in our packs of 1978 Topps Football cards - closely cropped pictures with airbrushed helmets and lots of players without helmets:

I don't mean to trash the 1978 Topps Football set as I had fun putting it together back in the day, but there really is no comparison in terms of which cards are more interesting to look at.

The backs are almost identical to the 1977 backs as well. As was the case with the entire run of the series from 1976 through 1988, Fleer didn't have an agreement with the NFL Players Association, so players are not identified by name, as the back of the Super Bowl XII card clearly shows:

Unlike the 1977 set however, the 1978 wrapper promores the "Action Photos" as the main focus of the set (whereas the 1977 wrapper promoted the Patches):

Finally, here is a look at the wax box:

as well as a look at a full box of packs: