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More preseason ... Po who? ... Football cards

Did the NFL ever play more than four preseason games before the regular season? Unbeknown to many, they did back in the 1970s.

There is a twist, and many may have forgotten the season back then.

This week’s version of my Yesterday column a - trip back in time to the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s - will look back at some of the standards of the football preseason as well as notable events and situations.

Six-Pack ... From 1961-77, the NFL played 14 regular season games and six preseason games. It wasn’t until 1978 that the league changed its format to 16 regular games and four preseason contests.

The six preseason games weren’t always at the team’s home sites. For example, the Eagles played the Giants during the preseason for several seasons during the early 1970s at Princeton’s Palmer Stadium, and they then played them twice during the regular season.

Other sites that were common back in the 70s for preseason games for many teams were the Yale Bowl, Memphis, Tampa, and Tennessee. Another common trait back then was the small numbIn fact, it was common for a club to usually have only four to six assistant coaches on the sidelines.

Vet Opener ... The Eagles’ first game at Veterans Stadium was against Buffalo in a preseason game Aug. 16, 1971. Philly posted a 34-28 victory and managed to handle Bills’ stud back O.J. Simpson.

PSU Quarterback ... Fans may have forgotten that Penn State alum Pete Liske quarterbacked the team to an overall 6-7-1 mark during the 1971 season. Liske, who came over from Denver the previous season, had a 5-5-1 mark as a starter, sharing time with Rick Arrington at the position.

Liske and the Eagles struggled to a 2-11-1 mark the following season. That year he shared the signal-caller position with top pick John Reaves.

Po Knows ... Who was the Eagles’ leading rusher in 1972? Try Po James, a fourth-round pick who accumulated 525 yards and played three more seasons in Green and White.

No More OT ... Another interesting point back in the 70s was the number of tie games each season. The league finally moved to add an overtime period in 1974.

Those Cards and a Giant: ... I have a scrap book with many pages of 1969, ‘70, ‘71, ‘72, and ‘73 Topps football cards that were classics.

Some versions had the team in bold letters at the top of the card, and other years had the player’s name in the lower left hand corner with his team and position on the other side. Some years had the player’s name at the top.

It was always a treat to see the cards finally on sale during the early part of the summer. Then, it was a challenge to collect as many favorite players as we could, taking a gamble every time we bought a pack. And who could forget the single stick of pink chewing gum that had the light white powder on it.

In 1970, the New York Giants signed tight end Bob Tucker from Bloomsburg State as an unrestricted free agent. Tucker was the fourth Huskie in the NFL, and the first since 1950. Tucker, a Hazleton High grad, played for the Giants from 1970-77, and the Vikings from 1977-80.

Life’s A Beach: Growing up, many of us seemed to spend some time at the Jersey Shore in August before our next elementary or high school year started. For those who played football in high school, this was the time before practice began. There weren’t workouts months before the season started in our high school years.

In terms of preseason games and football cards, it was a custom for me to get the Street and Smith Pro and College Football Yearbook. This was our “internet” back in the day.

To me, and hopefully for others, there wasn’t anything better than laying on a blanket on the beach peeling through my Street and Smith yearbooks to get a feel for the upcoming season. It had previews, rosters, stats, and full schedules.

A real bonus back then in the pro yearbook was a section on the Canadian Football League, and some of the former NFL players in the league.

As far as the college yearbook, does anyone remember Sonny Sixkiller? The former University of Washington player was on the cover of the college yearbook, and set 15 records between 1971 and ‘72. Sixkiller, an American Indian, was undrafted in 1973, but saw time with the WFL Philadelphia Bell and The Hawaiians.

New Football Game ... Long before Nintendo released the Game Boy, Mattel had one of the first successful portable gaming devices. Mattel Classic Football, released in 1977, had a simple concept of navigating a running back around defenders (red LED blips) to score.

Even though it may have gotten boring after a while, it was the inaugural football video game on the market. For those who got bored, they could always revert back to Tudor’s Electric Football Game, which was another option.

Meet George Jetson ... Did anyone know that cartoon character George Jetson “was born” on July 31. In the cartoon, Jetson said he was 40 years old and born on that day. The cartoon series was set in the 2060s, 100 years after it debuted in 1962.

“The Jetsons” was a long-running favorite with its futuristic theme, and we all believed back then that we would have space cars sometime past the year 2000. The series’ theme song is one that we don’t forget.

Laughs and Chuckles ... With the recent passing of Bill Russell, I can recall the days when he teamed with Chris Schankel and Keith Jackson on the ABC pro basketball telecasts in the early 70s.

Russell became noted for his laughs and chuckles during the broadcasts, as well as his fast-speaking comments about players and plays. Russell also was a commentator for CBS and TNT golf in the late 70s and the 80s.

Do You Remember? ... Every week, I’ll mention a possible forgotten player or manager from yesterday. Who remembers Eagles’ kicker Horst Muhlmann? The German-born kicker spent the 1975-77 seasons with the Birds after spending the previous six seasons with the Bengals.

With the Eagles, Mulhmann connected on 34-of-53 field goal attempts. In a controversial move at the time, Muhlmann was placed on waivers after he missed a 31-yard field goal in the final seconds of a 17-14 loss to Washington on Nov. 14. Head coach Dick Vermeil stated that he was “fired,” and the team signed Ove Johansson. The Eagles later signed kicker Nick Mike-Mayer.