NFL EXHIBITION PRE-SEASON GAMES 1960S AND 1970S

  • Tampa's 1960s-70s NFL Exhibition Games

    Displaying all 11 posts.

    Lou Garcia

    Back in the late 1960s and early 70s, Tampa was trying to nab an expansion franchise by hosting a series of NFL Exhibition Games. Remember when the Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions and later the Baltimore Colts (who almost moved down here) would play games before packed houses at Tampa Stadium filled with NFL-starved fans from the Suncoast? I was there for most of these games. The most memorable was when the NY Jets played the Lions (who were pretty good back then). Joe Willie Namath threw an interception and was injured for the season as he attemped to tackle either Paul Naumoff or Mike Lucci. These were exciting times in Tampa's growth!

    over a year ago · ·

    Ralph Owen Dennis

    I was a police officer at USF when the Colts held their summer camp there. I had been a fan of theirs when we lived in Virginia and it was a dream come true to work with the team. It was fantastic to be part of the team when off duty, I have put my shirt in storage. To be around such greats as Unitas, Mackey, Perkins and the rest was awsome. It was even nicer that they knew my name. I was working security for the team at the game when Bubba Smith tore his knee up. I was standing behind the coaches in their box.....sad night for footbal. Bubba was a gentle giant. Great for Tampa though. It proved that the area could and would support pro football.

    over a year ago · ·

    Lou Garcia

    Hey Ralph, I too was a HUGE Colts fan -- went into mourning when they lost Super Bowl III to the Jets. Years later, I met and had lunch with Joe Namath and he was a great guy. I digress-- Seeing Johnny U and all those guys come through Tampa was a dream come true. Good call on the Colts. Just read a great book -- The Greatest Game Ever about the 1958 title game between the Colts & Giants. A must-read if you were a Colts fan. Re. Bubba Smith -- I believe it was one of the Lastras from the Tampa pharmacy who was holding the chains when Smith plowed into it. Smith later tried to sue the TSA and even Lastra if I recall. Remember Mike Curtis, L.G. Dupre, Lenny Moore, Raymond Berry, et. al? The Colts were great!

    over a year ago · ·

    Mario Núñez

    Boy were the Colts great! I loved them too.. So much so, that I hand wrote Fan Letters to most of the stars from those teams of the mid-60's.. I was 9 years old... I actually got signed 8x10's from Don Shinnick, Bob Vogel, Tom Matte, Raymond Berry and Jimmy Orr... But my prized possesion was the one I got from a crew cut Johnny Unitas... I still have them today... They are treasures from my childhood... I think I wrote to just about every NFL star of the day.. Got one from Merlin Olsen and the" Kansas Comet" Gayle Sayers too... And yes Lou, you were right.. It was Bobby Lastra who was the unfortunate soul holding the sideline yard marker when Bubba Smith crash landed and tore up his knee... Maybe I should post that photo of Johnny U... What do you think?

    over a year ago · ·

    Lou Garcia

    Right with you Mario! You gave me the addresses and I wrote many of them as well......."Dear Mr. So & So, You are my favorite player. Could you please send me an autographed photo? P.S. I think you're great and the other teams suck....." And the great thing was -- the players would write back -- with autographs written in fountain pen. Don Shinnick, Ordell Brasse, Bob Vogel, Johnny U, Mike Curtis, Tom Matte, Raymond Berry, Merlin & Deacon and others all wrote back. Even have a signed photo of both Joe Namath and Weeb Ewbank (coach of the Colts when they won in '58 & '59, later Jets coach when they won SB III - the only man to win championships in both the NFL & AFL). Looking back now, being a kid back in the 60s suddenly looks a lot better than being a kid today. Wouldn't trade places with the youth of today, no sir!

    ....Remember the old Coca-Cola bottle caps scratch off collectors series? How Cool was that!

    over a year ago · ·

    Mario Núñez

    You know what? I forgot I had Ordell Brasse too... Tried to remember them all without looking at the photos first... Coca-Cola bottle caps scratch off collectors series??? Are you serious??? I can remember getting to the

    Kash n' Karry on Saturday, and if you were real lucky you met up with the

    Coca-Cola vending machine guy... Sometimes you could get him to give you all the bottle caps that were in the machine (a paper bag full)... Then the fun would begin when you got home... You had to peel out the cork liner to see if it was the cap you needed... If you completed the set, you could redeem it for a collection of replica NFL plastic helmets... Wow!! That was a huge deal! Yeah.. The 60's were pretty cool times to be a kid... Now...

    Do you remember the Punt, Pass & Kick Competition at Hillsborough High School???

    over a year ago · ·

    Lou Garcia

    Two things 1) Sometimes I would await my father when he'd come home from the Sheraton as a bartender, say 1 -2 a.m. He'd bring me bags full of bottlecaps, let me scratch off 2 or 3, then off to bed again. I'd pore thru the rest when I'd get back from school the next day. 2) PP&K: We went to HHS, your father took us. They briefed us and believing that we'd get a practce round, I didn't go 100 percent. Found out later that was it. Came in fourth.

    Third would have advanced me to the next round. You were on a Larry Wilson kick at the time. How's that for memory? Do you remember Larry Wilson? And if so, what was your connection with him...Do you remember? By the way Larry Wilson -- we both got his autographed pic.

    over a year ago · ·

    Mario Núñez

    Larry Wilson? Aw Man!! How could anyone forget one of the toughest men to ever play the game.. Free Safety for the St. Louis Football Cardinals, wore number 8 (very cool number for a safety back then) and was the only man in NFL history to once play a game with two (count em) two broken hands!!! Oh yeah, I remember Larry Wilson alright...

    Those were some great times... When the Raiders, Vikings, Chiefs ruled the roost in the AFL... And the Colts, Redskins and Packers had something to say from the NFL side... Young fans today don't have that... We did...

    And we were fortunate son...

    Hey... How many among the Tampa Natives received a complete football uniform (from Sears, maybe JC Penneys) for Christmas? Remember replica Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons helmets? The kind you could play outside with your friends with?

    over a year ago · ·

    Lou Garcia

    I had a college all-stars helmet, for a while, an Atlanta Falcons uniform (red helmet & black jersey) I received for Christmas, a Miami Dolphins uni (neither that I ever cared for)-- and later, I saved money and purchased the Gold Standard -- a Baltimoe Colts helmet. This was when Johnny U was just past his prime and the Colts were in transition with guys like Norm Bulaich, Sam Havrilak etc. Your Lions helmet was pretty damn cool. Always thought the Lions had a great uniiform with that Honolulu Blue (that's actually the color). Do you recall what Jack Espinosa told us last year -- of how back in the 50s the only team that Tampa would get to see televised was the Washington Redskins, again, because they were the closest team to Tampa. And dare I mention his name....you know of whom I writith --- The Tampa Torpedo -- Rick Casares -- who deserves his own Discussion Board topic.

    over a year ago · ·

    Mario Núñez

    Amen Brother!!

    Someone, lest it be you or me, need start that DBT...

    (Discussion Board Topic)

    Rick Casares - Tampa's very first NFL superstar...

    What say you start the discussion Lou, and let's see how many of

    us remember his story... And it was (is) a great one!

    Deserving of it's own E Hollywood Story...

    Lou, your move...

    over a year ago · ·

    Dan Perez

    My dad bought tickets for all these pre-expansion games. I saw Johnny Unitas and Joe Namath in those days. In 1972 Tampa had no NFL team and would not field the Bucs until 1976. In 1972, Carroll Rosenbloom owned the Baltimore Colts and Johnny Unitas was still the QB. Rosenbloom brought his Colts and Johnny U. to Tampa, to play three exhibition games at old Tampa Stadium. Tampa had to guarantee the sale of 26,000 three-game packages. Selling much more, Rosenbloom pledged to Tampa's NFL drive. Rumors of the Colts moving to Tampa circulated, and "Don't Tampa with our Colts" bumper stickers began to appear.

    about 7 months ago · Delete Post



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