In 1961, Fleer and Topps both issued sets that included players from the NFL as well as the new AFL. It would be the only year that happened, as each company returned to featuring a single league in '62.
Card fronts featured a player picture, most of which were captured on the sideline before games. There are crowds in the stadium seats behind the players, and many are still wearing their warm-up jackets. The card is framed with a white border that includes the area below the player's photo. His name, position and team are listed, as well as a team logo that extends into the picture. Backs begin with a light green stripe that includes the player's name, position and team, with a return of the team logo used on the front. Three lines of vital stats follow, along with a player biography. A green-colored card number appears in the bottom right corner.
The 1961 Fleer set was issued in two series. The first was #1-132 and featured the NFL players, while #133-220 included AFL players. The players were arranged by team and the teams alphabetically by their nickname (Bears, Browns, etc.). AFL players are more common than the NFL players. There are first-year cards of the Minnesota Vikings in the set, and Chargers are correctly shown in San Diego after spending their first year in Los Angeles.
There is one very noticeable mistake on the cards. All the cards of Green Bay Packers show a logo that has the state of Wisconsin backwards. His error shows on the backs as well. Since it was never corrected, there is no additional value given to them other than being Packers from the Lombardi era.
Key rookies include Jim Otto, Don Maynard, Don Meredith, Tom Flores and John Brodie.