A two-time All-American and Outland Trophy Winner while playing defensive tackle for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Bobby Bell was coveted by both the AFL and NFL- and ultimately was drafted by both the Minnesota Vikings and the Kansas City Chiefs in 1963.
Considered one of the most dominant defenders of his era, Bobby spent his first two years at left defensive end, earning his first Pro Bowl nomination in ’64. He then moved to left linebacker in 1965, and earned his first of 8 consecutive All-Star/Pro Bowl and 6 consecutive All AFL or All Pro nominations at the position. He earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year Honors in 1969. Bobby was also a great special teamer. He played for the Chiefs through the 1974 season, and was instrumental in Kansas City’s Super Bowl IV victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Sacks however did not become a tracked number until 1982.
Since retirement, Bobby had his number retired by the Chiefs, was named to the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team, AFL All-Time Team, the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame, and the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 2016.
Bobby has some great cards, and was an incredible player. Because of this I saw getting his autograph for a small signing fee to be a bargain. I loved both his Topps 1970 and the Upper Deck 1997 Legends card of his.
Robert Brazile is another guy who was clearly ahead of his time and warrants merit into the Hall of Fame. Brazile was the forerunner to such guys that terrorized the scene of the 80’s, like Andre Tippett. He embodied everything that a 3-4 linebacker could do, playing the pass, run, and rushing the quarterback with frightening efficiency. He’d set the NFL on fire his rookie season, earning Defensive RotY honors in 1975. A cornerstone of the Oilers defensive front, Brazile was relied heavily upon by the team to put pressure up front during the Luv Ya Blu’ heyday of the franchise. He played 10 seasons for the team, contemplating retirement, but ultimately decided to do so after the sudden passing of his wife in 1984.
Brazile had probably the longest of all the lines at Fan Fest in 2013. I am sure that surprised him that so many people remembered him, and I’m sure he enjoyed that immensely. He loved it when I called him Dr. Doom, but he also told me that he hasn’t played tennis in a few years when I asked him about it. A bit disappointing, but I could find no card of Robert with him in an action pose. Every Topps card printed during this period was either a profile shot, him standing on the sidelines or sitting on the bench.
Card: ProSet 1990, Topps 1977
Acquired: In Person 1991,1993 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp, Autograph Signing
Drafted in the 3rd round of the 1973 draft by the Dallas Cowboys Harvey Martin was a powerful member of the famed ‘Doomsday Defense’ and made 8 sacks out of the gate as a rookie that season. Nicknamed ‘Too Mean’ by his teammates to go along with ‘Too Tall’ Jones, Martin had a 20 sack season in 1977, was NFL defensive MVP, and was co-mvp of SuperBowl XII with defensive tackle Randy White. A member of the All 1970s team, Harvey was an embattled individual who dealt with drug, domestic and financial issues throughout and after his career ended in 1983. He also was named to the Pro Bowl and was first or second team AP 4 times over his career. Upon his retirement he held the team record for career sacks with 114.
I’d get his autograph in 1991 packing former players at training camp. He’d curiously sign his card with only his garbled initials. Josh and I looked at each other so disappointedly thinking that Harvey had just ruined this card with his half-assed signature. Later we’d go to an autograph signing where there was Drew, Preston, Harvey and a few other players that were just charging 5 bucks a signature and we would get his full signature this time. He’d continue to battle his inner demons post retirement, and occasionally do commentary for wrestling circuits such as the WWF and WCC but sadly in 2001, Harvey passed away from Pancreatic Cancer at the age of 51. At this time Martin is the only player who is a Super Bowl MVP who is deceased and is also of a slim minority who have won the award and not been inducted into the NFL HoF.