More on DAMAC NFL Football Posters (1978-83) – San Diego Chargers, New York Jets
Further to yesterday’s post on the classic DAMAC NFL Football theme art posters (1978-83) and the Dallas Cowboys variations, here’s a look at two more entries in the series. First, the San Diego Chargers release we call “Classic Lightning”:
Because these posters were licensed only by the NFL, and not by the player’s association, the men depicted could not directly represent an actual player. But Charger fans will recognize a strong, strong resemblance to the star QB of the day, Dan Fouts, and either one of his favorite targets of the late 1970s – John Jefferson and Charlie Joiner. (Anyone have an opinion on which one this receiver more resembles?) The artist for this one is the great Chuck Ren, who produced the art for most (but not all) the initial 1978-79 posters, and this is one of his finest. The other artists’ work simply pales in comparison. His dramatic, ultra-realistic recreations of football action moments clearly elevated his work above that of most other sports artists of the day – or, truly, of any era.
We’ve yet to come across any variations on the Chargers poster, so as far as we can tell, this was the only Chargers entry published in the series.
Next, here’s the New York Jets entry in the series, which we call “Manhattan Green” – also a fine Chuck Ren design:
This beautiful poster features the Jets uniform of the era, a spectacular representation of the Manhattan skyline after dark, and some groovy graphics topping it off. The player the running back most likely resembles? I’d say Kevin Long, the star back of 1978, and one of the greatest South Carolina Gamecocks of all-time.
We’ve also never seen different variations on the Jets poster, so as far as we know, this one was in print throughout the run of DAMAC until 1983.
Now here’s a nugget of information on the DAMAC series that was forwarded to us by someone currently still in the sports poster business. A Tennessee-based company called Sports Enterprises of America – SEA (who published, among others, the Official Poster of Super Bowl XXVII) wrestled control of the NFL’s theme art license in 1983, and essentially ran it into the ground. New posters in the same format – 23″x25″ size and white-border with team-colored piping – were produced in 1984, but the artwork was not nearly as good, and after a few years of little success pushing the new designs on retailers, the line was abandoned for good. While these 1984 releases likely don’t have the artistic merit of the original DAMAC releases (it’s hard to tell; we’ve only ever seen one, a mediocre Indianapolis Colts design), they are likely extremely rare – truly a unique find.
Did you have one of these posters on your wall when you were a kid? Are you a collector of the DAMAC posters with more information to share? Please join the conversation in the comments below.