Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Freakin' Weekend (1970)

OK, so here's the deal. People (the people, yes!) have been going all Colin Kaepernick/civil disobedient and posting old NFL Films 1970-season-review stuff on YouTube because life is uncertain and because light shouldn't be hidden under bushels. But, of course, it's not like the light clobbers the darkness. The darkness could not overcome it; the score is always like 23-21, and we're forever committing penalties on third down or dropping passes that hit us between the numbers(!)--the very-soon deal is likely that all of this great stuff will be yanked back down from YouTube any moment. So--spoiler alerts--here it is now for us to enjoy while we can. 

NFL70 kicks off today 1970 (Friday, Sept. 18), and you might remember that the Kansas City Chiefs are the defending champions:

"Quarterback Gary Cuozzo was at the Super Bowl, and he remembers," says Pat Summerall. "His entire team remembers." The Vikings will be taking another shot at a championship with Cuozzo at the helm, not Joe Kapp:

Ebony isn't buying Minnesota's plan.

YouTube doesn't have the film on the 1970 Rams' and Lions' seasons, but it does have awesome playlists of the songs purportedly used in the Los Angeles and Detroit NFL Films productions (Dave Volsky, yes!).

It's easy to see why Ebony likes "able, young John Madden" and the Raiders.

The Bengals will be playing this season without their great, young quarterback, Greg Cook, who is still recovering from an arm injury, so it seems we'll have to wait another year for Cincinnati's "golden age of football prominence" to commence.

Frank Gifford wonders "if people will long remember the 1970 New York Giants?" Well, we'll see in this episode (with commercials!) of NFL Action (hooray!) ...

The AP had a story a few weeks ago that the coach of the Eagles, Jerry Williams, says they are hoping for a winning season, so that probably means Philadelphia isn't going to be any good.

Sports Illustrated chose Dick Butkus and the Bears for the cover of its season-preview issue, but they probably aren't going to be any good either.

Street and Smith's went with Joe Namath and the Jets. They were, of course, super just two seasons ago, but, ever since then, the story with the Jets has been whether Namath is going to play--because of possible suspension, because of injury, because of possible retirement, etc.

Tex Maule a few weeks ago in SI had an analysis of the choking Cowboys. Nonetheless, Boys' Life put Calvin Hill on its cover this month 1970.

You might think from this ad in the Boys' Life that Johnny Unitas is a man without a team, but that is not correct. He's back leading the Colts after missing most of the Super Bowl two seasons ago against New York, and we'll have to see how that turns out.

The Dolphins have come a long way since 1966, and now they're looking great!

As previously reported, the plan appears to be coming together pretty happily in Pittsburgh.

As for the rest, here's how they fared in the preseason (which is a bigger deal in NFL70 than it is now) ...

Despite the 5-1 preseason performance, the Redskins are reeling. 

Vince Lombardi's impact on in Washington was really huge. I didn't get this for a long time--until I actually lived in D.C. for a little while, it felt like this mostly inconsequential anecdote of NFL history. This was incorrect. Washington spent years and years being a joke of the league, and then it spent 20 years being one of the absolute best teams in the league, and Lombardi appears to me now to have been the primary catalyst in that change. 

In summer 1969, there was an AP story in the Kentucky New Era that Sam Huff "took a pay cut in snipping his rich business ties with a clothing firm," in order to come back from retirement and have a chance to play again for Lombardi. (I lost that link--sorry, AP.) The story said that Huff's mind was made to return when he saw Lombardi, who was a Giants assistant in Huff's rookie season, 1956, speak about winning determination in a sales movie, Second Effort:

I was in the Martin Luther King branch of the Washington public library this summer and discovered this fantastic, beautiful book (5 Stars, Highly Recommended) from 1974 ...

Here's its chapter about Lombardi's time ...

Actually, my favorite part of the book is a big section in the back with color pictures of the Redskins' facilities.

So, in conclusion, hooray for public libraries, football, TV, all media and affordable, universal access!


  1. Hearing the voices and music of 1960s and '70s NFL Films is about the homey equivalent of smelling pot roast for me.

  2. Week 1 of the NFL70 started on the night of Friday, Sept. 18, with the Rams beating the Cardinals, 34-13. (Good call, Ebony.) Then, on Saturday, Sept. 19, the Bears won in New York over the Giants, 24-16. (George Halas said before the season that, if he could, he'd bet on Chicago to win the NFC Central, so good call, George Halas, too.) With Sunday afternoon's game sand the new ABC Monday-Night game, How exciting it must've been to be staring down four straight days of opening-weekend NFL action on TV in 1970!

  3. The pallbearers at Vince Lombardi's funeral included three of his Packer greats: Paul Hornung, Bart Starr and Willie Wood.