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.”