Ever since I was a very little kid, I always paid very close attention to the players’ statistics presented on the backs of my football trading cards. I was not necessarily prepared to wholly trust the gentlemen broadcasting the games on television, particularly considering the fact that, oftentimes, they used words that I flat out did not know the meaning of. I was always of the opinion that, if I studied the numbers enough, I would not need the “color commentator” guy on TV to tell me who the best running backs in the National Football League are, for example — because I would already know!
Sesame Street had already taught me to count quite well but I must say it was my older brother who soon wisely educated me on the finer points of understanding valuable information such as average yards per carry, and so forth. He also strongly cautioned me that, as is often the case in life as well as sports, statistical data by itself cannot necessarily tell the whole story. The fact that former USC Trojans tailback O.J. SIMPSON established a new NFL record of 2,003 yards while averaging an amazing six yards per carry for a Buffalo Bills team which could not even qualify for the post-season playoffs in 1973 was often cited as a Exhibit A.
Now, I never had a football trading card for former UCLA Bruins All-America left halfback KENNY WASHINGTON when the player known as “Kingfish” was carrying the pigskin professionally for the Los Angeles Rams. This was most due to the fact that, when I started collecting football trading cards, Washington’s NFL career had already been over for almost three decades. Besides, even if I could have gotten my little hands on a contemporary NFL trading card for Kenny Washington of the Los Angeles Rams from the late 1940s — I would have been so much more interested to see numbers on the Kingfish’s noteworthy collegiate career at UCLA.