Reminiscing about Sunoco NFL ’72

A long time ago, back in ancient times, when gas cost less than 50c/gallon and service stations had employees that came out to your car, pumped your gasoline, wiped your windshield, checked your fluids and handed you a roadmap – yeah, I know, imagine something like that today.  But I digress…

I’m currently taking you back to 1972.  At that time, I was nine years old, and I loved watching football on TV.  At that time, Sunoco service stations offered a special promotion – fill your gas tank with Sunoco fuel, and in exchange Sunoco would give you an envelope filled with football trading stickers.  You could also purchase a sticker album, which came with various historical notes on every one of the 24 franchises in the National Football League.  It also had a swank watercolor cover that just screamed 1970’s sports art.

NFL Action 72
NFL Action '72

Of course we all collected the stickers.  And of course, we all pasted them into the above stampbook without question.  We discovered over the course of the season that there were actually more stamps than there were pages in the book; we also discovered that the stickers made great door decorations (at least until your mother caught you slapping an Archie Manning football sticker on your bedroom door and you caught trouble for it).

By comparison to today’s trading cards, complete with full-bleed photos, holographic stickers, and swatches of game-used jersey fabric, these football stickers are spartan at best.

It’s sorta hard to even see the players’ faces in these stickers, what with the full face masks of the time.

And since this was printed prior to the 1972-73 season, the biographies of each team were written before such words as “Immaculate Reception” or “Undefeated Season” or “Chad Ochocinco” became part of the football venacular.

On a personal note – This wasn’t my original copy of NFL ACTION ’72 that you see here.  I had a completed edition of this booklet, but I actually gave my first copy away as a gift to a second grade classmate whose family was going to move out of state.  Thinking I had done something noble and considerate, I told my parents when I got home of my charitable gift.

My stepfather, who had specifically filled up at Sunoco for the past four months just to help assemble that sticker book for me, was surprisingly NOT enamored with my act of giving.

It wasn’t until maybe 2007 when I bought this copy of NFL ACTION ’72 in an eBay auction.  Every so often I pull it off the shelf, look through the pages, reminisce about growing up – then I put it back on the shelf.