One vote for the 1970s


11:22 a.m. ET

First of all, I’d like to welcome you all to the NEW Those of you who’ve been regular visitors probably already know the depth of the site. If you’re new to us, take some time to dig deep and we’re sure you’ll like what you find. Either way, I think you’re going to love our new look.

One of the new elements we’ve incorporated into is the ability for you to engage with us. Because, we’re all in the same boat in that we love the NFL! So, please be sure to share your thoughts whether it’s here on, or if you want to contribute to our football following on Facebook or Twitter.

You may have noticed our most recent fan poll on the home page. It asks which was the NFL’s best decade. Now, as a student of the game and having spent more than 20 years in the Hall’s archives reading up on the NFL’s past and present, I could make a sound argument for any one of them.

But, what really draws us to this great game is our own personal connections. I often believe, perhaps because unless you’re me and get to spend every day around football, these connections are probably the strongest in our youth. Without the clutter of everyday life, most of us could take the time to fully digest our favorite team, players, and moments.

{GALLERY}That’s what is so cool about the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Many times as I wander through the exhibit space I’ll overhear a father or mother talking with his/her child. They’ll be recounting a memory from so many years ago that has been spurned by seeing a memento on display and an accompanying video that brings it to life. Even our own Steve Young recounted once how his dad brought him to Canton on a family vacation. Steve's dad, who years later presented his son for induction into the Hall, marveled at the bust of Otto Graham. He shared with Steve just how great of a quarterback Otto was for the Browns. Decades later, on the day following his enshrinement, Steve relived the moment by posing with his wife and children on the Hall's front steps!

So, as a representative of the 40-somethings, I’m casting my vote for the ‘70s as the greatest decade in NFL history. Despite the fact I grew up in Western New York as a Bills fan and only saw them make the playoffs once, I still feel most emotionally connected to that era.

Think about it. The decade featured such great dominant teams – the Dolphins, Raiders, Cowboys, and Steelers. It all started with Miami’s amazing two-year run in the early ‘70s in which they lost just twice. Then the Steelers winning back-to-back Super Bowls with Bradshaw, Swann, Harris, Stallworth, “Mean Joe” Greene, and linebackers Jack Lambert and Jack Ham. And, how about Mel Blount – they didn’t come any better than him. Those Cowboys-Steelers Super Bowl matchups were so memorable and remain vivid today. That could, of course be, that’s because I just watched hours and hours of Super Bowl highlights as part of research for our new Lamar Hunt Super Bowl Gallery that opens next month.

How about the Cowboys? Staubach, Dorsett, Drew Pearson, Robert Newhouse, “Too Tall” Jones and Jethro Pugh all led by the stoic Tom Landry. Then, more Steelers Super Bowls. The Raiders - with not only Hall of Famers like Biletnikoff, Shell, Upshaw, Hendricks and company but others like QB Kenny “The Snake” Stabler, hard-running backs Mark van Eeghen and Pete Banaszak, and receiver Cliff Branch.
It was a day before FieldTurf. Grass fields from Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium produced dirty uniforms for Bert Jones, Lydell Mitchell, Joe Washington, and Roger Carr.

The ‘70s also brought us the Buccaneers and the Seahawks.

And, most of all, in the day before Madden Football, NFL Network, and the Internet, there were Howard Cosell’s halftime highlights on Monday Night Football.  I can still hear his voice and remember the anticipation of those brief couple minutes every Monday.

Well, enough from me right now. Let the debate begin! It’s your turn so go ahead and add your comments right now.

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