Wayne Gretzky, Herschel Walker and Rick Barry
Star in Strat-O Seasons Coming This Summer
Bobby Hull, John Brodie and Bob McAdoo will be Huge, too
By Glenn Guzzo
In addition to its special new set of all-time great National Basketball Association players, Strat-O-Matic is issuing a pair of classic seasons this summer for each of its pro football, hockey and basketball games, including the game company’s first United States Football League set.
Here are highlights from the seasons soon arriving in card and computer formats:
1970 NFL (carded teams: Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, Minnesota, San Francisco)
· The first Super Bowl after the NFL-AFL merger, won by Baltimore over Dallas
· Baltimore (11-2-1) joined the old AFL teams in the new AFC and led the conference in scoring (321 points) with old-warrior QBs John Unitas and Earl Morrall. The Colts also were second in the AFC in defense, led by Bubba Smith, Ted Hendricks and Mike Curtis.
· Dallas (10-4) had a strong defense led by Bob Lilly and Lee Roy Jordan and an often-electric offense with rookie RB Duane Thomas (5.3/carry) WR Bob Hayes (26 ypc, 10 TDs) and QB Craig Morton (8.8 yards per pass, 3% INTs)
· Minnesota (12-2) had the best record in football, with a Purple People Eater defense that allowed only 143 points, 59 fewer than next-best Detroit. The Vikings allowed only 3.4 yards per rush, 4.9 yards per pass and 9.2 yards per completion.
· San Francisco (10-3-1) had football’s highest-scoring offense (352 points) led by No. 1 ranked passer John Brodie, who led in completions and TDs (24) while suffering the fewest sacks and lowest interception rate.
· Detroit (10-4) had the NFL’s second highest-scoring offense (347 points) and second lowest-scoring defense (202 points). QB Greg Landry, RB Mel Farr and TE Charlie Sanders led the attack, while CBs Lem Barney and Dick LeBeau stifled opposing offenses.
· Miami (10-4) had the AFC’s second-best defense, FB Larry Csonka (4.5 yards/carry) and WR Paul Warfield (25 ypc).
1984 USFL (carded teams: Philadelphia, Arizona, Birmingham, Houston, New Jersey, Tampa Bay)
· The second of three USFL seasons had a repeat champion, the 16-2 Philadelphia Stars, whose defense led by LB Sam Mills allowed 20 points only three times. Future Redskin RB Kelvin Bryant gained 1,406 yards, scored 13 TDs and was All-USFL, as were three of the Stars’ offensive linemen.
· The man who gave the USFL instant recognition, Heisman Trophy-winning RB Herschel Walker, was one of two 1,000-yard rushers for the New Jersey Generals (14-4). The other was FB Maurice Carthon.
· Former Buffalo Bills RB Joe Cribbs held out for two games mid-season and still led the USFL in rushing with 1,467 yards for the Birmingham Stallions (14-4). Future Steeler WR Jim Smith set the USFL receiving yardage record with 1,481.
· Rookie QB Jim Kelly was All-USFL (5,219 yards, 44 TDs) after directing the novel run-and-shoot offense of the aptly named Houston Gamblers (13-5). The offense produced the USFL’s top two receivers in Richard Johnson and Ricky Sanders, but it also produced 82 sacks.
· The Tampa Bay Bandits (14-4) scored nearly 500 points with less star power, but productive QB John Reaves (4,092 yards, 28 TDs) and rookie OL Nate Newton.
· The Arizona Wranglers outscored season foes 502-284 yet were only 10-8 before putting it together for a playoff run that got them to the championship game. Coach George Allen had one of the USFL’s top defenses, a ferocious pass rush and a pair of 1,000-yard, TD-crazy running backs, Tim Spencer (1,212 yards, 17 TDs) and Kevin Long (1,010 yards, 15 TDs). QB Greg Landry hit 65 percent of his passes for 26 TDs and favorite target Trumaine Johnson caught 90 for 1,268 yards and 13 TDs.
· Other big names on computer-only teams: QBs Steve Young and Doug Williams, WR Anthony Carter and OL Gary Zimmerman.
1961-62 NHL (all six teams carded)
· The first of three straight Stanley Cups for the Toronto Maple Leafs
· Montreal won the regular season, leading the league in goals and goals allowed
· Chicago’s Bobby Hull became the NHL’s third-ever 50-goal scorer and second in two years (equaling Bernie Geoffrion’s 50 in 1960-61). On the basis of more goals, he won the scoring title after tying New York’s Andy Bathgate with 84 points.
· Detroit’s Gordie Howe, Toronto’s Frank Mahovlich and Montreal’s Claude Provost also were big scorers (33 goals each).
· With Bathgate and superstar defenseman Doug Harvey (who won his seventh and final Norris Trophy after coming from Montreal to be New York’s player coach), the Rangers made the playoffs for the only time between 1958 and 1967.
· Montreal Goalie Jacques Plante not only won the Vezina Trophy, but also was league MVP. Montreal winger Bobby Rousseau was the rookie of the year.
· With this release, Strat-O-Matic completes its run of Original Six seasons from the 1960s.
1985-86 NHL (carded teams: Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Philadelphia, Quebec, Washington)
· Montreal beat Calgary for the Stanley Cup after winning only 40 regular-season games. The Canadiens (87) and Flames (89) had the fewest points of the six carded teams in this release.
· But in the playoffs, Montreal was led by two rookies – playoff MVP goalie Patrick Roy and forward Claude Lemieux. After scoring only one goal in 10 regular-season games, Lemieux netted 10 goals in 20 playoff contests, including three overtime goals.
· Edmonton (119 points, 426 goals), by far the best season team, lost its chance for a third straight Stanley Cup on a fluke Game 7 goal against Calgary – Oiler defenseman Steve Smith’s clearing pass banked into his own net off goalie Grant Fuhr.
· Wayne Gretzky did not need any of his 52 goals to win the scoring title – his record-shattering 163 assists gave him 22 more points than runner-up Mario Lemieux (48-93-141). Gretzky’s 215 points are still the all-time record.
· Edmonton defenseman Paul Coffey scored 48 goals, breaking Bobby Orr’s record for a defenseman (46), and added 90 assists. Teammate Jari Kurri led the NHL with 68 goals.
· Half the league’s top 10 scorers – led by Mario Lemieux and 61-goal man Mike Bossy – were on teams that won’t be in Strat-O-Matic’s six-pack of carded teams, but will be on the print utility and in the computer game.
· Also carded: Division winners Philadelphia (110 points) and Quebec (92 points) and Washington (107 points)
1974-75 NBA (computer only)
· Golden State wins its only NBA title, shocking 60-win Washington with finals sweep.
· Warriors’ Rick Barry: 30.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 6.2 apg
· Buffalo’s Bob McAdoo leads in scoring (34.5 ppg), total rebounds
· Two 60-game winners: Washington, with Elvin Hayes, rebound-average leader Wes Unseld and assists leader Kevin Porter; and Boston, with Dave Cowens, John Havlicek and Jo Jo White
· First season for New Orleans, led by Pete Maravich (21.5 ppg)
1970-71 ABA (computer only)
· The champs: Utah (57 wins), led by Zelmo Beatty (22.9 ppg, 15.7 rpg) wins seven-game finals against Kentucky, led by rookie and scoring leader Dan Issel (29.9 ppg)
· Indiana, with Mel Daniels (21 ppg, 18 rpg), led the league in wins (58)
· Rookie Charlie Scott (27.1 ppg) leads Virginia (55 wins) to the best record in the East
· NBA defectors Rick Barry (29.4 ppg for New York) and Joe Caldwell (23.3 ppg for Carolina) also star