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Fantasy Football Flashback: Lost Blogs of 1971

Joe Namath - Fantasy Football Flashback

The following fake journal was discovered by a team of fake archaeologists earlier this month. You thought Tom Brady’s knee injury made 2008 your worst Fantasy season ever? You got nothing on this guy. Welcome to a 1971 Fantasy Football Flashback!


January 1, 1970

I’m ready to put last season behind me. Heck, I’m ready to put the ’60s behind me. While 1969 was the “Summer of Love,” for many, it was the year I came in dead last for the first — and last — time.

This year will be different, I can feel it. The NFL is taking its cue from us Fantasy leaguers. After the AFL champs have beaten the NFL champs two seasons in a row in the Super Bowl (Can you believe we’ve already had four Super Bowls!?!), the two leagues have officially merged. We’ve been using both leagues in our mixed fantasy drafts anyway, selecting both the AFL and NFL players. (Granted, the purists that have been playing AFL-only and NFL-only leagues are quite upset. But they’re also just trying to get over the fact that the Oilers play their home games in a dome. As long as they don’t move the goalpost back from the goal line to the back of the end zone, I’m fine. That rumored rule change is kooky talk. Why don’t we just make it a 120-yard football field and put walkie-talkies in their helmets?)


July 3, 1970

My theme for 1970 — This year will be different. In ‘69, Richard Millhouse Nixon took over in the White House to much applause. Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon (we’ll be living up there by the turn of the century!) And The Beatles played together for the last time (Yeah, right! I bet they do like 12 reunion tours in the ’80s and ’90s.)

Last season, I made some big mistakes with my Fantasy Football draft. With Johnny Unitas missing much of 1968 with a sore elbow, I figured his career was over. Plus, his replacement Earl Morrall went on to lead the NFL with 26 touchdown passes. So the first-round pick for my team, Damned Dirty Apes, was wasted on a quarterback — a backup QB at that.

Trust me, it went downhill from there. I grabbed rookie RB O.J. Simpson as my second-round pick. Juice wasn’t horrible in his rookie season with Buffalo, but still, just two rushing touchdowns and not even 700 yards on the ground? Sure, O.J.’s a good guy and all, but I doubt I’ll ever draft him again. Two rushing touchdowns? That guy’s a Fantasy killer.


September 12, 1970

Just got back from my draft. I REALLY like my team and so did the other 11 owners in the room. Can you say worst-to-first!?!

Joe Namath - Fantasy Football Flashback After much debate, I chose to go with Gale Sayers as the overall No. 1 pick. He proved last season that the knee injury is behind him, and while it has slowed him a bit, he still has the ability to score double-digit touchdowns, play all 14 games and dominate like a No. 1 pick should.

I was hoping to pair him up with another RB like Denver’s Floyd Little, but he went just before my pick, so I grabbed my top wide receiver — Lance Rentzel from Dallas. This guy led the league with 12 TD catches and I foresee 10-plus TDs for several seasons in a row.

I then followed up with my wraparound pick of Joseph William Namath. Joe Willie! My man’s coming off his third Pro Bowl in a row, after he finished ‘69 second to top-five pick Raider QB Daryle Lamonica in passing yards and touchdowns.

Even though I got burned on picking a Heisman-winning Trojans RB last season — but I couldn’t help myself again. In the fourth round, I took rookie Steve Owens, who won the trophy in 1969 before getting picked 19th overall by Detroit. Supposedly, he’s a slow runner. They should have some sort of pre-NFL Draft scouting convention that could measure stuff like that. Apparently, DT Alex Karras isn’t a big fan of Owens. “I saw the kid on television in the Hula Bowl,” said Karras.”The only thing is there was something wrong with my set. It looked like they were playing the game in slow motion. Look, maybe they’ll make him a defensive tackle.” OK, OK, he might be a reach.


Damned Dirty Apes — 1970 Starting Lineup

  • QB – Joe Namath, NYJ – Nothing can stop “Broadway Joe!”
  • RB – Gale Sayers, CHI – The Kansas Comet led both leagues in rushing in ’69.
  • RB – Steve Owens, DET – Heisman winner picked in first round by Lions.
  • WR – Lance Rentzel, DAL – Led the NFL with 12 touchdown catches from Craig Morton.
  • WR – Danny Abramowicz, NO – Seventy-three catches led NFL in ‘69!
  • TE – Bob Trumpy, CIN – Led the position with nine TDs and 835 yards last year!
  • K – Tom Dempsey, NO – Entering second season after finishing fifth in scoring in ’69.
  • DST – Oakland Raiders – Second in total defense in the AFC last year.


September 21, 1970

Week 1 is all but in the books. There’s a stupid Monday night game on ABC (N.Y. Jets at Cleveland). Football just doesn’t make any sense at night, but whatever. This extra game on Monday night is going to wreak havoc on our stats. That means it will likely not be over in time to make it into Tuesday morning newspapers. So the final stats and standings won’t be mailed out until Wednesday, which means I won’t get it until Friday at the earliest. We need a faster way of communicating.

I need Namath to come up big for me tonight, since I’m getting killed. My pet rock won’t even talk to me if I start the season with another loss. My starting lineup already took a huge hit when Steve Owens suffered a separated shoulder in the exhibition games. I bet they stop playing exhibition games because of injuries like this.


September 28, 1970

This is going to be a very long season. Sayers went down with what looks like a left knee injury this time. Rumors are he’s likely done for the season.


October 19, 1970

Namath hadn’t missed an NFL game in his first five years in the NFL, but the knee injury he suffered at Alabama has reared its head again. He could also be done for the season.


November 4, 1970

At 0-7, the Damned Dirty Apes have been officially eliminated from playoff contention.


December 6, 1970

For the first time in the “Make TDs, Not War Fantasy Football League’s” history, a team has gone winless in 12 contests.

1970 Damned Dirty Apes: 0-12Gale Sayers - Fantasy Football Flashback

  • QB -Joe Namath, NYJ – Five games played, five touchdowns thrown.
  • RB – Gale Sayers, CHI – After leading NFL in rushing in’69, finishes with just 52 yards total.
  • RB – Steve Owens, DET – Rookie season ends with just two touchdowns in six games.
  • WR – Lance Rentzel, DAL – Only 28 catches this season, with Roger Staubach as the backup QB.
  • WR – Danny Abramowicz, NO – Scored just two touchdowns from Weeks 1-11.
  • TE – Bob Trumpy, CIN – From nine TDs in ‘69 to just two this year.
  • K – Tom Dempsey, NO – Saints’ O came apart, only 16 extra points, compared to 33 in ‘69.
  • DST – Oakland Raiders – Went from second in AFL down to 19th in combined NFL.


January 1, 1971

This year is going to be different.


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