The Worst Football Card Photo Ever?

Growing up in the 70s and 80s, I certainly collected my fair share of hilarious baseball card photos. All those mustaches, blue uniforms, weird hats, and funky locks are half the reason I’ve kept them around all these years.

The other day I found some of my old football cards, and they all seem to have less-than-ideal photos as well. Like the baseball cards, the photos all seem to be casual snapshots from games and practices.

Today’s cards all have perfect photos, and I imagine designers have quite a library to choose from. But not back in the day. Nope, they were just looking for a semi-decent photo that showed the player’s face and number. Whatever was found first, worked.

That’s how I imagine poor Arthur Whittington ended up huffing and puffing for his 1981 Topps Football Card. Instead of busting through the seam on a 3rd and 3, the Raider’s running back was featured sucking oxygen on a hot Oakland afternoon.

Do you think he cared? I mean, today’s players flip out if their Madden player rating dips below 90…can you imagine what would happen if their card hit the shelves with something like this? Publicists would get eaten for breakfast!

By Chad Norman

Chad is a marketing and branding strategist, proven leader, speaker, founder, and author. As COO of Catch Talent, he leads day-to-day operations including finance, human resources, marketing, and communications, as well as directs all employer brand client deliverables. Prior to Catch, Chad was VP of Marketing & Communication at SPARC, he served on the senior leadership team and lead marketing and communication strategy across all products and services. At Blackbaud, the leading provider of nonprofit technology solutions, Chad managed digital marketing and online training teams. In 2016, Chad founded DisruptHR Charleston, a bi-annual gathering of HR professionals for a night of networking and Ignite talks. His book, 101 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits: A Field Guide, was published by Wiley in February 2012. Chad has presented at dozens of industry events including SXSW, SHRM, DisruptHR, IHRIM, NTC, DMA, AFP, and BBCON and has lectured at Wake Forest University, Indiana University, University of Michigan, College of Charleston, and The Citadel.


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