DISCLAIMER: I don’t like American football and know nothing about it except what I learned in researching this, so excuse the attitude and any terminology flubs.

The football poster on Hutch’s door has always baffled me. Why does he have a poster of George Andrie, #66, a defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys, on display, when most other things on his walls are neatly framed art posters and photographs?

Apparently Hutch likes football enough to own a ball (seen on the top shelf of his cupboard in ”The Fix” and in his car in ”JoJo”) and to make that drunken offer in ”Starsky’s Lady” to play it professionally, but still…

The poster is a late development: it only appears there in the latter half of S3 (03-19 ”Hutchinson for Murder One”), but then stays there until the end. Before that, the door was undecorated.

What can we learn about the poster itself? Any clues as to why it’s there?

Andrie’s football career ended in 1972 (due to bad back – does Hutch sympathize?). He was with Dallas Cowboys when they won the 1971 NFL season. The other players in the poster are wearing the American Conference’s Pro Bowl uniforms from 1971-1972. These could’ve been some guys Andrie played against in the Pro Bowl, if he played in that game. Though, if he played, he’d have been wearing a different uniform, not the Dallas Cowboys one – let me say, the content of this poster makes less and less sense the more I learn about it!

The above details date the poster to around 1972. Where has Hutch been hiding it for six years?

The most interesting detail, though, is that this poster seems to be as much about Adidas football shoes as it is about a specific football player or team. The shoes on the right bottom corner are not on anyone’s feet – they are two different left-foot shoes, placed there like in an advertisement. After some completely unnecessary research, I’d say the one on the right is a “University” football shoe, and the other one is a ”Turf Streak” football shoe. And even the American Conference players seem to be wearing Adidas shoes.

The #66 on the poster is prominent, but nothing on the poster says what it was primarily for, and I guess we’ll never know what is the main reason it appeals to Hutch: the game, the players, the team, or the shoe brand?

I’m warming to the poster’s presence now, though. It reminds me of another sports poster that doesn’t seem to have particular significance to its owner: Starsky’s Speedo poster that is seen at least in ”Gillian” and ”The Committee”. Starsky says he hates water, but still he has a swimming poster (two, in fact) prominently on display. The Speedo poster is also among the few things I’ve noticed he took with him when he moved from Ridgeway to Tree House.

All this got me thinking these posters might be gag gifts, like the ant farm and the tree (though I personally love that tree! the best gift ever!). The idea that the ugly football poster is a jokey but affectionate gift from Starsky (who was a defensive back in his high school football team) makes it a lot nicer.

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