Tag Archives: topps 1979

Dean, Fred (DE/LB)

Cards: Upper Deck Legends 1997, Topps 1979
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Home
Sent:  7/11   Received:  7/18   (7 days)*
* Donation enclosed

Fred Dean was a rangy linebacker from Louisiana Tech (392 tackles) that was drafted in the second round of the 1975 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers. He was converted to defensive end and set his sights on terrorizing quarterbacks in the AFC West. His best season for the Chargers occurred in 1978 when he recorded an unoffical 15.5 sacks. A core member of the ‘Bruise Brothers’, Fred played for the Chargers through the 1981 season, where he was traded during the season to the San Fransisco 49ers.  He served notice to the league by helping the 49ers win Superbowl XVI as the final cornerstone to San Fransisco’s defensive front. To top things off he also was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year. During 1983, Dean single-handedly humiliated the New Orleans Saints to the tune of 6 sacks, en route to a season high 17 sack season.  He retired after the 1985 season and returned to his native Louisiana.

The awards have slowly but steadily trickled in for Fred since then, with LA Tech honoring him in 1990, the Pro Football Hall of Fame honoring him in 2008, and finally the College Football Hall of Fame in 2019. A fearsome force, one must wonder if the accolades as a premiere defender would have come quicker to Dean if sacks were recognized earlier as a statistic in the annals of NFL history.  He redefined the role of a pass rusher, helped modernize defenses, and be among the first situational pass rushers late in his career. Fred is also one of the rare players who has been recognized by two different teams as part of their anniversary teams. Such as the case it is hard to decide if Dean is represented better as a member of the Chargers or 49ers.

G/GS 141/82        TAC         SAC   93.0      FUM 13
INT 1         YDS 22         AVG 22.0         LG 22T        TD 1

Bingham, Gregg ‘Devil’

to83 gbinghamto79 gbingham
Cards:  Topps 1983, Topps, 1978, Topps 1979
Acquired: 2016, C/o Home
Failure: TTM 2012, C/o Home

Little known fact about Gregg Bingham is that he is the Houston Oilers career leading tackler with nearly 2,000 tackles. Surrounded by talent like Elvin Bethea, Robert Brazile and Curley Culp, during the Luv Ya’ Blue era of the 70s- it was easy for Bingham to be overlooked in the star studded defensive lineup, even if he led the league 11 straight seasons. Also tackles were an unofficial statistic for the league until the late 80s/ early 90s.

After toiling away his rookie season in a 4-3 at MLB in 1973, and earning all-rookie honors, Gregg slid over to LILB, as the Oilers converted to a 3-4 under new defensive coordinator Bum Phillips. Bingham had earned the nickname ‘Devil’ for his strong motor and style of play, and he punished ball carriers on every tackle.  Bum Phillips was once quoted as saying that, “You’d have to cut off his head and hide it, in order to keep Bingham off the field.” He’d start the next 5 seasons for the team, recording 10 interceptions and 5 fumble recoveries, returning one 34 yards for a TD.  Gregg was also counted on by the team for special teams as well.  The following season he switched to RILB, playing the position for the majority of the rest of his career. Considerably durable, Bingham would have challenged Bethea’s consecutive games started record if not for a hip injury suffered in 1982 at 135. He topped the 200 tackle mark 4 times and led the league in tackles consistently over his career.

to78 gbinghamAn interesting character, Gregg made every penny count, investing into a series of coin operated car washes and oil changes around the Houston area. He even had the business foresight to have an assistant sort the change that came out of the machines for valuable coins.

Years later in 2008, Bingham’s heir at linebacker, John Grimsely committed suicide. It was later linked to CTE- caused by concussions. Gregg became a concussion flashpoint himself in 2009 when he was working in one of his car washes, and blacked out. When he next woke up, Bingham was in the hospital and learned he had been in a coma for the past 3 weeks, due to a swollen brain. It took him well over a year to rehab, but Gregg connected the dots to his time in the NFL and concussions, -something that at the time was to be ‘shaken off’.  He later rejected an NFL concussion settlement, because it would have not covered his expenses.

He continues to live in the Houston area, and after failing on a request back in… 2012- he kindly signed two cards for me and tossed in a third.

G/Gs   173/173       TAC   1,985         SAC    n/a        FUM   14
INT  21     YDS   279     AVG 13.3       TD   0         LG  54

Kunz, George

Card: Notre Dame Collegiate Collection 1990, Topps 1977
Acquired: Canton Acquisition, 2012

One of the best offensive linemen to be produced during this period, George Kunz was an All American at Notre Dame before being drafted with the second overall pick of the 1969 draft. Co-captain of the 1968 Irish team, Kunz struggled through injuries his first two years for the Golden Domers, before finally finding him niche on the offensive line at Tackle. He quickly established himself in the upper echelon of linemen in the NFL, playing for the Falcons from 1969-1974. After the 1974 season, George was traded with a draft choice to the Baltimore Colts for 2 picks in the 1975 draft. He amassed 5 AP selections and appeared in 6 Pro Bowls for the Falcons. He continued earning Pro Bowl and All Pro nominations with the Colts, from 1975-1977. A back injury limited his playing time to only 1 game in 1978 and 1979, but he returned for one final season in 1980 before he finally retired. Over 11 seasons in the NFL George Kunz appeared in 129 games.

Based in part because Kunz played for some very, very bad Falcons teams, along with guys like Tommy Nobis, he’s been largely ignored by the NFL HoF selection committee. It also doesn’t help that he played at the unglamorous position of offensive tackle. George has lived in Nevada for quite a few years since retirement from the limelight, dabbling briefly in coaching and color commentary for NBC. He is an avid TTM signer and boasts a remarkable response rate for the amount of cards he signs.

G/Gs  129/126