Monthly Archives: October 2012

1987 Broncos Orange Crush Set

1987 orange crush broncos

Despite the popularity of the men who played in the AFL, there have not been an abundance of commemorative AFL trading card sets produced in recent years.  Topps put out a small (and wholly uninspired) AFL subset in 2009, and Upper Deck has featured some AFL players on occasion, but in comparison to the numerous retrospective baseball sets produced each season, the AFL gets the short shrift.

Among the few throwback sets that are available is a neat and very inexpensive nine-card set recognizing the early Denver Broncos Ring of Fame members.  This set, called the 1987 Orange Crush Broncos, was sponsored by Orange Crush and KOA Radio.  According to the annual Beckett football Card Guide, 1.35 million of the cards were distributed over a three-week period at participating 7-11 and Albertson’s stores in Denver and the surrounding areas. read more

My Memories of Al Davis – One Year Later

 The one-year anniversary of Al Davis’s death passed on Monday.  I posted the story and interview below on October 8, 2011.  It remains one of my greatest AFL experiences, and I thought it worthy to be brought up again.  If you have already read it, take another look.  I did, and enjoyed it just as much the 25th time around.  If you have not yet read it, sit back and enjoy!

davis, al - 2007

As a young Charger fan growing up in the heyday of Kellen Winslow, Dan Fouts and “Air” Coryell, I learned to hate the Raiders and Al Davis.  To everyone that bled blue and gold, Davis, clad in silver and black, embodied all that was evil in professional football. His teams were built of tough guys, rejects some called them, who played hard, sometimes dirty, and seemingly always won. read more

Dave Kocourek Discusses Sid Gillman’s Offense

Autographed 1963 Fleer Dave Kocourek

#71 – Dave Kocourek

In the summer of 1998, I was beginning the research for my master’s thesis on Sid Gillman.  One of the things that I did to acquire information was type several questions and mail them to some of Gillman’s former players.  Only a hanfdful of the players responded to my inquiries, but one that did was tight end Dave Kocourek, who played for Gillman’s Chargers from 1960-1965.  Kocourek is a wonderful person, who sadly is in the late stages of a post-football brain injury and the resulting dementia/alzheimer’s disease.  However, back in 1998, Kocourek took the time to respond to my inquiry with well-thought out answers.  I hope that you enjoy them. read more

New Trading Card Pages

1969 Tresler Comet - Ernie Wright

Ernie Wright

I have been busy on the collecting front recently, and therefore have had the opportunity to add some new trading cards pages to Tales from the American Football League.  First of all, I added the final two cards (#47 Bobby Jancik & #94 Jim Harris) to the 1967 Topps set page.  This is the first fully signed football set on the blog.

The first of the two new dedicated set pages is for the 1969 Tresler Comet Bengals set.  This page currently features 17 of the 20 cards in the set, in both autographed and unsigned versions. read more

San Diego Chargers Center Sam Gruneisen Passes Away

Longtime San Diego Chargers offensive lineman, Sam Gruneisen, passed away on Friday, September 28th.  He died due to complications from a fall that he took a month earlier.  He was 71 years old.

Sam Gruneisen came to the San Diego Chargers out of Villanova, part of the great 1962 draft class that also brought John Hadl and Lance Alworth.  Gruneisen entered professional football as an offensive guard, but was moved to center in 1965, after the release of Don Rogers.  A highly cerebral player,  Gruneisen remained with the Chargers through the 1972 season.  He spent one final season with the Houston Oilers before retiring as a player. read more