Monday, January 2, 2012

Pittsburgh Steelers

Here are the 1967 Steelers. Although in the NFL since 1933, they wouldn't become a factor until the 1970s. Prior to 1972, the Steelers won as many as 8 games only twice. Beginning in '72, they would win 8 straight division titles and 4 Super Bowls. I had the misfortune of living in the Pittsburgh area in the mid-1970s. I recognized that they were a great team, but I didn't need to hear about it 24/7.

Among the players below, only Ben McGee would remain into the 1970s, and he retired before the team's Super Bowl years. I had all these cards in 1967 except for Willie Asbury, Roy Jefferson, and Gary Ballman.

Steelers Team - The team finished 5-8-1 in 1966, and further slid to 4-9-1 in 1967. They continued to regress for 2 more seasons until Chuck Noll turned it around in his 2nd season as coach.

Bill Nelsen - Nelsen was drafted by the Steelers in 1963, and played 5 seasons with the team, but was only the fulltime starter in 1965. He moved on the the Browns in 1968, playing 4 seasons as the starting QB before wrapping up his career in 1973 as the backup to Mike Phipps.

Willie Asbury - Asbury had a 3-year career with the Steelers from 1966-68, and was the starting fullback for his first 2 seasons.

Roy Jefferson - Roy was a 2nd-round pick for the Steelers and Chargers in 1965. He played 5 seasons in Pittsburgh and 1 with the Colts, then played 6 seasons with the Redskins from 1971-76. He was a 3-time Pro Bowler.

Gary Ballman - Ballman was drafted in 1962, and was the Steelers' starting split end from 1963-66. A last-minute note on the back of this card says he was traded to the Eagles in March 1967 (for fullback Earl Gros). After 2 seasons as the Eagles' starting split end, he moved to tight end in 1969 (after Mike Ditka's departure) and was the starter through the 1971 season. He was an Eagles' reserve in 1972 and finished his career in 1973 with the Giants and Vikings.

John Hilton - A 6th-round pick for the Lions in 1964, John didn't play that season, but was the Steelers' starting tight end every season from 1965-69. He was also the Packers' starting tight end in 1970, and played with the Vikings and Lions from 1971-73.

Mike Clark - Clark kicked for the Eagles (1963), Steelers (1964-67), and Cowboys (1968-71, 73). He led the NFL in extra points in 1968 and 1971.

John Baker - Baker was the Rams' 5th-round pick in 1958. After 4 seasons in Los Angeles, he was the Eagles' starting left defensive end in 1962, and joined the Steelers in 1963. Starting at right defensive end from 1963-65, he was a backup for the Steelers from 1966-67 before ending his career in 1968 with the Lions.

Ben McGee - Ben was drafted by the Steelers in 1964 and was a starting defensive end for his first 7 seasons - 4 on the left side, before moving to right end in 1968. In 1971 he moved to right tackle to make room for rookie Dwight White. McGee retired after the 1972 season, and was replaced by Ernie Holmes.

Riley Gunnels - Riley was drafted by the Steelers in 1959, but didn't play that season. He spent the next 5 seasons with the Eagles, starting at left defensive tackle in '62 and '63, before returning to the Steelers for 1965 and 1966. He retired after the 1966 season.

Brady Keys - Keys was the Steelers' starting right cornerback and return man for his 1st 6 seasons (1961-66). He split the 1967 season between the Steelers and Vikings, and ended his career in 1968 with the Cardinals.

Steelers Logo - Yes, the Steelers were in a rebuilding program, but apparently the wrong builders were hired. Once Chuck Noll arrived in 1969, the serious rebuilding started, and they were winning division championships starting in Noll's 4th season.

Also check out the 1968 and 1972 Steelers.

Next time: St. Louis Cardinals

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