Next Replay – 1985 NFL Season

Upon completion of my current project, I will replay the 1985 NFL season. The replay will consist of 224 regular season games, 8 playoff games and Super Bowl XX for a total of 233 games.

This season has always been one of my favorite seasons for a multitude of reasons. First, I was 22 years old and was transferred to Ramstein Air Base, Germany a few weeks prior to the season beginning. I had no idea at the time that I wouldn’t see American soil again for 8 years but enjoyed every second of living abroad. I can remember standing guard in front of storage igloos hiding my small transistor radio while I listened to my beloved Jets on the Armed Forces Network (AFN). I can still hear the commentator say “Freeman McNeil can cut on a dime and leave you 9-cents change”!   As a devout Jets fan, I truly believe that next to the 1968 Jets, this was the best squad “Gang Green” ever fielded. They had the 4th ranked offense, highlighted by Ken O’Brien, the league’s top-rated passer, Freeman McNeil the AFC’s second leading rusher and a rookie wide receiver named Al Toon. On the other side of the ball, Bud Carson’s defense was 3rd in points allowed, 8th in yardage and had the 3rd best rush defense in the league. I can still see consensus All-Pro, Joe Klecko, manning the nose at a slant and perennially Pro-Bowler, Mark Gastineau, posting another double digit sack total.

Several years ago, I replayed the 1985 Jets season and although the statistics were not bad, I was not overly impressed with the set. For one they beat the Bears and that should NEVER have happened. Truth be told, I’ve never cared for the APBA sets of the early and mid”80s” and have since sold all of mine.

So that begs the question, how can I replay this fine season if I no longer have the cards? Well to borrow a classic quote from John F. Kennedy, “I have an ace in the hole”. That ace is my APBA Football Brother and very dear friend, Mr. Mark Zarb. After our visit this past March, he began carding this season for me. Being a perfectionist, he has implemented “Lessons Learned” from his past sets to create what I believe will be his “signature set”. Now, I’m in no way implying the he is back in the card business because he is not. With that said, here is an excerpt from an email that I received from him:

“Brother, I’m just putting the finishing touches on the 1985 set we talked about when I was down in Huntsville. I think you will find this set a significant upgrade from the original APBA set and even an upgrade from some of my previous sets. I’ve always appreciated the thoughtful way you have used those sets giving me a testing ground that few other card makers have. So, please accept this 1985 set as a token of my appreciation for your efforts and more importantly for your friendship. The set will be the one and only of its kind and I look forward to following along when you get around to playing with it.”



9 thoughts on “Next Replay – 1985 NFL Season

  1. Greg, I have to agree with you. The Jets shouldn’t have been able to beat the Bears since if memory serves, along with a quick check at, the Jets didn’t even win the division. The ‘Fins also took care of business ensuring they would remain the only franchise with an undefeated team in the Super Bowl era! Go Miami!!!

  2. Since I have some of these 1980 teams and especially the all-time Franchise all-stars which I am currently playing also came out in early 1980. Could you summarize what ‘short-comings’ are in these cards that made you throw them away? that way I will know what errors to expect. Thanks.

    • Mel,

      It’s just a matter of opinion is all…I much prefer the quality of the 90s and up…a lot of times these card sets were released without access to certain stats (primarily sacks)…I didn’t throw them away but sold them to interested parties.

  3. Yeah, I saw that you sold them after re-reading your comment. So the main problem in your opinion is the sacks. Of course I saved some teams from the 1970s/1960s and I am aware of their short comings with the updated game. I was concerned that my 1980 cards had some major flaws. I guess I can live with the sack issue. Not sure when the NFL started keeping track of sacks, but was probably around 1980. Thans once agin for your prompt response.

  4. Looking forward to seeing this replay Greg. When do you think you’ll begin? Any way for us to weigh in on the games in a fun way? Such as – you give us the slate of games and list the Indexes; we then pipe in with who we think is favored; who might have a big game, etc. That would be a great way to get some more involvement? I could see it now:

    Week 1
    Chicago @ Tampa Bay (I’m making the rest of this up since I don’t have the cards, but you get the idea)

    Chicago is 41 on Offense
    Chicago is 48 on Defense
    Tampa is 35 on Offense
    Tampa is 37 on Defense

    Chicago opens the season on the road in Tampa and comes in as a 4 point road favorite. Walter Payton is the key, but look for Willie Gault to make a big play too.

    I don’t know; something like that?

    Just an idea!

    • During my 1981 season replay I generated “Vegas-style” betting lines and players could wager “funny money”…I might do that again, we’ll see, generating the line was alot of additoinal effort but i would do it if I knew there was an interest…I estimate this replay beginning around mid to late August.

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