Before the expansion Seahawks ever fielded a team, 10 of their players were featured in the ever-expanding Topps’ football-card craze.
That’s right, the Seahawks were represented in the 1976 NFL set by safety Lyle Blackwood, linebacker Ed Bradley, center Joe Demarie, linebacker Ken Geddes, tight end Ron Howard, tackle Gordon Jolley, tight end John McMakin, cornerback Eddie McMillan, defensive end Joe Owens and guard Bob Penchion.
Each player was acquired in the Expansion Draft that was held March 30-31, 1976, and helped stock the rosters of the Seahawks and fellow expansion team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There’s also a “team” card in the Seahawks’ Topps collection that lists the entire 39-player class from that Expansion Draft where the Seahawks and Buccaneers were allowed to select up to three players from the league’s other 26 teams.
The Seahawks didn’t just select these players, they played most of them.
Bradley finished third on the team in tackles in 1976 with 101, while Geddes also started at linebacker. Demarie and Penchion were the starting guards for at least part of that expansion season. Howard finished second on the team with 37 receptions in ’76 behind a wide receiver named Steve Largent, and also was the starting tight end in 1977 and 1978. Jolley started at guard in 1977. McMillan started at left cornerback in ’76.
But the folks at Topps missed out on the players who were the real stories on that ’76 team – and beyond: Largent, who would be the team’s leading receiver for 12 consecutive seasons and retire after the 1989 season as the NFL’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches before being elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame; Jim Zorn, the left-handed quarterback who along with Largent became synonymous with the Seahawks during the franchise’s infancy; Dave Brown, who also came in the Expansion Draft and led the team in tackles in ’76 before becoming the franchise’s all-time leader in interceptions; and wide receiver Sam McCullum, another Expansion Draft addition who would start opposite Largent for six seasons.
“I found these and said to myself, ‘Who is as into the history of this team as I am?’ ” Huston said. He then smiled and added, “You. So here you go. Enjoy.”
From Mike Huston’s personal collection of Seahawks’ memorabilia to the website, for all to enjoy.