Category Archives: AFL

Granger, Hoyle

Card: Topps 1970
Acquired: TTM 2019, C/o Home
Sent: 2/4 Received: 2/9 (5 days)

Over his college career Cajun Hoyle Granger ran for 1534 yards and 350 carries (7 TDs) for Mississippi State. He’d be selected by the Houston Oilers in the 5th round of the AFL draft, and the 4th round of the competing NFL draft in 1966. Opting to sign with the Oilers, Hoyle became more or less a fullback for Houston as not only was he a strong North/South runner but also an impressive blocker. After a subpar rookie season, when he rushed for 388 yards on 56 carries, Hoyle burst onto the scene for the first of two consecutive ProBowl appearances in 67 and 68. He’d run for a career high 1,194 yards (6 TDs) in 1967 and 848 yards in 1968 (7 TDs). His 1,494 combined yards in 1967 led the AFL. Although his numbers were in decline after that, Hoyle became the franchise’s all-time leading rusher (since surpassed) during the 1970 season. Afterwards he’d be traded to the New Orleans Saints along with a bevy of players and draft choices. (The Oilers in return received notably WR Ken Burrough whom they had wanted but NO had selected the pick before them.) After just one season in The Big Easy, Hoyle returned to Houston for his final swan song in 1972.

I was not familiar with Hoyle outside of his statistics and the fact he was #3 on the HOUSTON Oilers all-time rushing list, but after reading the book ‘Oiler Blues’ he was one of the more recognizable players from the brief silver Houston Oilers helmet era, and a few photos of him rumbling along really stuck out in my head. I decided to take a shot at him and was pleased to see a response in 5 days flat on his classic Topps 1970 card.

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Maynard, Don

Cards: Topps 1970, Upper Deck Legends 1997
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Home*
Sent:  8/4   Received: 8/20    (16 days)
* Donation enclosed of $10 per flat

Don Maynard is considered the best receiver in Jets history, one of the best receivers in AFL history, and one of the best receivers in NFL history.  At the time of Maynard’s retirement he held the NFL record for career receptions and yards. He was the first player to crack the 10k barrier in receiving yards. An amazing feat considering it was still during an era where the passing game had not fully developed yet. Don epitomized consistency and longevity. (Oddly enough he never led the league in catches at any time but his sheer numbers made up for it en force.) 

Maynard was originally drafted by the New York Giants in 1957, but only played one lone season for them before bolting North to play for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL. He’d return shortly thereafter to the fledgling AFL in 1960- becoming the first signee of the then New York Titans (later Jets). Over the next 10 seasons in the AFL he’d be named to the All-AFL team 4 times. In the final season before the AFL NFL merger, he’d help the Jets win Super Bowl III and notably graced the cover of the big game’s program guide as well. 

Don joined the Rams in 73, but ultimately ended up on the St. Louis Cardinals for a lone season, retiring after a bout with the WFL playing for the Shreveport Steamer/ Houston Texans. 

Maynard played college ball for Rice, and later Texas Western (UTEP). He was a proven runningback and defensive back, but was unpolished gold at receiver. His number has been retired by the Jets,  got his gold jacket along the way, and has been a Grand Marshall for UTEP at one of their parades. He lives outside of the El Paso area, in relative anonymity. 

I had been wanting Don for sometime but I thought he was out of reach. I really liked these cards of his and always wanted to get them signed so I went ahead and took a shot with a small donation. In the end I also had a Pro Set Super Bowl III card that I opted to send to Matt Snell instead (because he should’ve been MVP). Still the Topps 1970 is iconic, while the Upper Deck Legends 1997 hits all the marks for perfection. 

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Snell, Matt

Cards: Topps 1970, Pro Set SuperBowl III
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Work
Sent: 7/16 Received: 7/24 (8 days)

Matt Snell played for the New York Jets from 1964 to 1972 during the wildcatting days of the AFL NFL rivalry, when the leagues used to poach each other’s talent. Matt was drafted out of Ohio State where he had a prestigious career playing fullback, halfback, and defensive end.

The quandary was, who to play for, as both the New York Jets (AFL) and the New York Giants (NFL) had selected Matt. Matt in the end was offered substantially more to play fullback for the Jets than the Giants so he joined the AFL, where he literally ran away with Rookie of the Year Honors in the young league and captured a Pro Bowl berth. In 14 contests he’d rush for 948 yards and 5 TDs on 215 carries. He’d also be a threat out of the backfield catching 56 passes for 393 yards and a TD, and lead the league in touches that year with a combined 278. Snell had equally impressive campaigns in 1965 (763 yards rushing, 1027 yards from scrimmage) and 1966 (644 yards rushing, 48 receptions, 990 yards from scrimmage, 8 total touchdowns), earning a Pro Bowl nomination in the latter. In 1967, Matt played in only 7 games due to a knee injury, but he quickly returned to form in 1968 with 747 yards on the ground and a career high 6 TDs rushing. He’d have another exemplary season in 69 with 695 yards rushing as well, earning both Pro Bowl and All-AFL Honors.

His crowning moment came in the final game before the AFL-NFL merger-Super Bowl III. After Joe Namath made his ‘guarantee’, the Jets had to figure out a way to come through on it against the vaunted Baltimore Colts. Snell ran for 121 yards on 30 carries, and the Jets only TD- good enough to help the Jets win the Super Bowl 16-7. Despite Snell’s record setting performance the MVP honor would be bestowed upon Namath. 

Matt played for the Jets for 3 more injury riddled seasons, retiring after the 1972 season. Since his playing days, Snell shrewdly invested his money in different ventures. He has been named into the Jets’ Ring of Honor and Ohio State All-Century Team.

I almost went for Don Maynard on this Super Bowl III card strictly because he’s on the image, but then I remembered how Snell didn’t get the MVP and would make a better selection for the card. I really like Snell’s Topps 1970 card. It is a bit funny because you can see his watch clearly in the snapshot. Matt is great to the TTM community and responded in no time flat to my request.

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