Today I wanted to take a look at some old football cards that feature multiple sports design blunders. The set was called the NFL Pro Line Portraits and was issued in 1991 by NFL Properties. The cards feature beefcake and personality poses of all of your favorite NFL stars from the era.
One notable piece of sports design history that is apparent in many of the cards in the set is the Zubaz pant. If any of you were around in the early 1990's and were buying sports related apparel, I'm sure you remember the Zubaz craze. Born out of a desire to make sports fans release their inner MC Hammer, the Zubaz line featured wildly striped and patterned pants featuring the colors of your favorite NFL team. This photo features the Buffalo Bills version, being proudly worn by Shane Conlan.
Zubaz was everywhere and you weren't a hip sports fan unless you had a pair of these fantastic pants. In addition to the pants, the company producing them also created a line of hats, just in case pants weren't enough. Now, I'm not going to deny that Zubaz were a major sales success. I spent many years as a retailer of sports licensed products, and we sold our share of these classic pants in our day. Success aside, I'm sure everyone will agree that the Zubaz pant has to be one of the greatest sports design blunders of all-time.
Now, back to the Pro Line Portraits card set for a minute. These were definitely another example of a sports design blunder. I don't know if you remember this classic set or not, but the cards did not have your normal action shots on them of your favorite NFL players. Instead, the entire set features images of shirtless photos, posed pictures, beefcake shots, and personality photos of all of your favorite players. Apparently Al Toon of the Jets liked to play golf in his underwear!
The combination of some great Zubaz clothing being modeled and some really creepy photograhy make this card set a great sports design blunder classic!