Thursday, January 31, 2008

Classic card of the week



*Special Super Bowl edition!
Jim Bakken, 1976 Topps

I feel bad for the Cardinals right about now. Two of the NFL’s elite teams and franchises are descending upon their home field, about to battle it out for league supremacy, while the Cardinals’ most notable participation in Super Bowl activities involves Matt Leinart hosting 13 parties in the span of three days.

So in honor of this year’s Super Bowl host, I wanted to call to mind the days of yore, when the Cardinals were from St. Louis, and they boasted Pro-Bowl kickers who pensively waited on the sidelines contemplating their next field goal attempt, unconcerned with such matters as hair gel or the concept of fashionably late. Jim Bakken was old skool, a St. Louis native who kicked footballs for the hometown team for -- as you’ll see from the statistical data on the back of the card -- 36 years. It would be a cold day in hell before Jim Bakken allowed the Patriots and Giants to play football uncontested on his team’s home field. He would surely challenge these imposters to various feats of kicking ability, of which he would be victorious, ultimately refusing to be carried off the field in celebration, because it was simply something that had to be done. In fact, because of Jim Bakken, there was no Super Bowl in 1975. You can look that up.*

But Jim Bakken was just one Cardinal, albeit the best one. What about the others? Let’s get teased by the trivia on the back of the card, shall we?

Guess the mystery Cardinal
WHO AM I?
I gained 28 yards on a rushing play in 1965.


The obvious answer to this question is, “Who gives a shit?” I mean, seriously. That is the most difficult and unreasonable trivia question I could ever imagine. Even if the Internet was around in 1976, that’d be a tough one to figure out. Then again, a 28-yard play in 1965 was the equivalent of a 375-yard Devin Hester kickoff return for a touchdown while he’s not wearing a helmet in 2007, so maybe that “rushing play” came to mind more easily for some elder statesmen. Also, this is only “clue 4 of 12,” so if one were to keep acquiring the football cards of Cardinals’ players -- and who doesn't want to do that? -- then this riddle could possibly be solved. For example, clue 10 of 12 states:

WHO AM I?
I like ham.


In this respect, the answer becomes infinitely more obvious.

Did you know?

In 2006, the mystery Cardinal gained 28 yards on 17 carries. The Cardinal was Edgerrin James, and the mystery was why they paid him a bazillion dollars to do so.



*Do not look that up.

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