The 1969 season was a low point in the illustrious history of the Chicago Bears franchise, as the team finished in last place with a 1-13 record, despite Gale Sayers leading the NFL in rushing for the second time. Most of the members of the great “Monsters of the Midway” defense had retired, as the team closed the book on the 1960’s, and moved on to a new era. Although they did improve in 1970, posting a 6-8 record, darker days would befall the franchise. Brian Piccolo, the subject of the poignant movie Brian’s Song, suffered his untimely death due to cancer, while Gale Sayers suffered the second season-ending injury of his career. Sayers would appear in only two more games in 1971 before retiring.
This transitional year is captured in the distinctive 1970 football cards, with their oval photos, flag-like labels and off-brown bordering. While few players from the brutal 60’s era remain, many younger players, joining the annals of the Bears franchise, now get their due. Holdovers from the mighty Bears era include Ed O’Bradovich, Ronnie Bull, Joe Taylor and Bobby Joe Green. Future stalwarts of the gridiron include Bobby Douglass, Cecil Turner and Linzy Cole. Even some players who achieved notoriety with other franchises stopped by to say “Hello” in this set, such as Ray Ogden, Craig Baynham, Bob Hyland and Mike Hull.
Some may find the highlight of the set to be the several players never before depicted on a card, such as Dave Hale, Jeff Curchin, Dan Pride, Wayne Mass, and others. Although this set was designed with the Bears fan in mind, this colorful set provides an excellent addition to the 1970 set in general. Moreover, the discriminating collector will enjoy a yet more meticulous view into football history, recognizing many of the forgotten players who also played the game.