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1962 Post Cereal Football Cards
The Greatest Set Ever!

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The Baltimore Colts and New York Giants squared off in a nationally televised National Football League championship game on December 28, 1958 at Yankee Stadium that has come to be known as "the greatest football game ever played." The thriller was the NFL's first sudden death overtime game and launched professional football's television popularity. The Colts kicked a late field goal in regulation time and prevailed on an Alan Ameche one yard plunge, 23-17. The game story is filled with intrigue and mystery as players didn't know how overtime worked and NBC created an intentional delay of game in order to fix a loose cable.

In 1962 Post Cereal created what could arguably be called "the greatest sports card set ever." If you were a kid when Post's football card promotion arrived in late summer, maybe you were able to visit the grocery store and see the brightly colored cardboard promotional displays with characters of players, referees and cheerleaders highlighting the cereal aisle. You might see a poster of Paul Hornung Hornung grocery store posteror dazzling oversized cards of Johnny Unitas — star of that 1958 championship game, Bill Kilmer and Hornung attached to Grocery store displaythe top of a display board inviting you to collect "trading cards on Post cereals." And they were "FREE!"

The main event was selecting a box or two that had football cards on the back. Imagine actually getting to see which cards you were getting before you had to pay! There's Bart Starr on Alpha-Bits and Johnny U on Sugar Coated Corn Flakes, but Mom says it has to be the big Post Toasties box, so would you choose Raymond Berry and Dan Currie on one box or Alex Karras and some new guy named Tarkenton on the other?

Just on down the aisle a bit, why...there's Paul Hornung again, this time on a display for Tang breakfast drink urging you to send off for pictures of all 14 NFL teams. In the other aisles there were other football setups encouraging Mom to pick up a Swans Down cake mix and some Gravy Train dog food for Fido. Maybe, at the checkout, there might be some free football booklets featuring Hornung (gee, that guy was everywhere!), Sam Huff, Sonny Jurgensen and the Rams' Jon Arnett. Man! What a fun time it was to go to the grocery store in Fall 1962!Tang grocery store display

After the cereal was all gone, kids cut the cards from the back of the box. Most figured the border lines were also cutting guides and that resulted in the majority of cards today with cuts inside the lines. But some kids were either smarter or lazier and cut down the middle between the lines on most of the boxes. There were even kids that wanted the player on the front of the box and those were sometimes cut and saved, too. Somehow a few backs, fronts and even whole boxes escaped without scissors being used to dismantle them.

On every box, Post reminded kids that there were "200 TOP STARS" and to "Collect Them on Post Cereals!" It is quite doubtful that very many youngsters were able to achieve the 200 goal during the time Post football cards were actually available on grocery store shelves. With an average of around five and a half cards per box and a perfect distribution scheme, it would have required a minimum of around 40 boxes of cereal to reach the number of a full set. GN11_box_74But there were distribution factors, too, as some cards were not as plentiful as others and who really knew what box to find card numbers 74 and 93 on, much less which players were on those cards—this wasn't Topps with a checklist in every other pack. And a couple of players were only on one box!

Then there were those photos on each card! Some of these guys were in positions that could never have happened in a real football game. Who would photograph players that way?

Keep reading if you want to know why 1962 Post cereal football cards are The Greatest Set Ever. If you want to figure it out for yourself, a word of warning and a word of encouragement. The warning is that it will take a long time to find out why this is The Greatest Set Ever. The encouragement is that if you want to do it yourself and enjoy working through an amazing puzzle, you will have an absolute blast putting all the pieces together.

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