With Super Bowl in town, New York museum highlights old-time football cards


Kenny Washington’s 1948 Leaf Gum Company football trading card will be on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York from January 24 through February 10. (Kathy Willens/Associated Press)
January 16

Football has come to the Met. Not MetLife Stadium, where the Super Bowl will be held next month. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

The museum is presenting a pop-up exhibit celebrating football with old-time trading cards.

The 150 cards, beginning with a series from 1894, are part of approximately 600 football cards from the museum’s vast collection of 300,000 trading cards donated by the late card collector Jefferson Burdick. All predate the founding of a National Football League in 1920.

The cards — which feature football greats, lesser-known college players, owners and teams — were inserted into candy and gum.

With the Super Bowl being played February 2 in nearby East Rutherford, New Jersey, organizing the “Gridiron Greats” exhibit was a natural fit, said Freyda Spira, a Met assistant curator.

The collection features Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne, whose career included six national college championships. Another notable player is Kenny Washington, the first black player in the modern NFL.

There’s also a 1936 set of black-and-white photos that includes University of Illinois running back Harold “Red” Grange, whose speed earned him the nickname “The Galloping Ghost.”

The exhibit opens January 24 and runs through February 10.

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