With the passing of Doug Buffone this past week, I've taken on the task of filling in the many holes in his football card collection. These are from his final 3 years on the Bears. I have created cards from 1967, 1968, 1968, 1972 and 1973 for my previous 3 posts.
I can almost understand the lack of a 1977 card for Buffone. He played only 2 games in 1976 when he was sidelined with a ruptured achilles tendon. Now he would be 33 years old, heading into his 12th season, and coming off of a serious injury. But Buffone did play in 13 of the 14 games as the Bears made it to the post-season for the first time in his career.
In 1978, like '77 Buffone missed only a single game but started the other 15 games. Jack Pardee who led the Bears to the playoffs in 1977 was now with the Redskins. The Bears under new head coach, Neil Armstrong, went 7-9 but Buffone, solid as ever, had 3 interceptions and a fumble recovery.
In his final season, the 35 year old veteran played in all 16 games but started only 2. At the end of his career he was the longest tenured player in Bears history with 14 season. And he was the last active Bear to have played under the legendary George Halas. His final game in a Bears uniform was the Wild Card game after the 1979 season. The Bears lost to the Eagles 27-17.