1984 Topps Football

1984 Topps football has a good argument as the best football set of the 1980’s.

The set has 396 cards, 17 of which are Hall of Fame rookies, with 12 different Hall of Famers among those 17.

This set is also partially responsible for the boom in quarterback prices that you see to this day.

At the time of release, John Elway was as big of a prospect that the league had seen in some time, and Dan Marino was a Pro Bowler as a rookie despite only starting come week six.

Helping to bolster hype was Eric Dickerson and his 1,808 rushing yards as a rookie.

The set is condition sensitive as centering is an issue.

As of writing, PSA has 106,877 total cards graded in the set with only 11,005 in gem mint.

SGC is considerably worse as only 165 gem mint slabs exist out of 9,463 total graded.

The most common grade is either NM-MT or Mint with the non-QB Hall of Fame rookies needing to be mint to gain value from grading over the grading fee.

Most Valuable 1984 Football Cards

Eric Dickerson

#1 Record Breaker

#204 Rushing Leaders

#276 Rams team leaders

#280

#281 Instant Replay

Five-time first team All-Pro and four-time league rushing leader, Dickerson was Adrian Peterson of the 1980s.

You ran the offense around him, and he was good enough to score from anywhere on the field.

A running back who could run around you and over you all on one play, Dickerson was simply unstoppable during his prime.

John Elway #63

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Elway was a generational talent at quarterback and knew it. Forced his way out of Baltimore Colts having the first pick by essentially saying he wouldn’t play for such an unstable organization., to which hindsight says he was correct.

Won an MVP, nine-time Pro Bowler, 1990’s All-Decade team, and member of NFL All-Time 100th anniversary season team, he was a guaranteed Hall of Famer when his career was over.

Won two Super Bowls at the end of his career to really put to rest any doubt of his greatness.

Howie Long #111

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The Future FOX pregame broadcast personality was a dominant end for a decade.

Eight-time Pro Bowler and five-time All Pro he could win with speed or power on any given play.

Some may point to his 84 sacks as a low number for a Hall of Famer, but Long was good against the run and could play inside when asked.

He credits fellow Hall of Famer Ted Hendricks for learning the game to an expert level.

Dan Marino

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123

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124 Instant Replay

Marino passing leaders

202 Passing Leaders

Marino was another guaranteed Hall of Famer by the midway point of his career.

The 1980’s version of Patrick Mahomes eclipsed 5,000 passing yards in 1984 and averaged three touchdown passes per game that season.

Six-time All-Pro, nine-time Pro Bowler, MVP, and five time passing yardage leader, Marino was a special talent.

Never won a championship, but ran into Montana’s 49ers in the Super Bowl, and later in career just did not have a good roster around him.

Also has a non-Topps rookie card in the 1984 Miami police set.

Dwight Stephenson #129

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Only a six-year starter in the league but earned All Pro honors five times.

Dolphins had the fewest number of sacks allowed during every year he was a full-time starter (1982-1987).

Pro Football Focus annually gives out the ‘Dwight Stephenson Award’ awarded to the best player regardless of position.

This is a way of acknowledging that the best player may not play a position that gets much media coverage.

Career was ended early due to injury, but no one disputes how good of a player Stephenson was. Like Marino, also has a Miami Police rookie card in 1984.

Andre Tippett #143

Andre Tippett

Tippett was a member of the 1980’s All Decade Team, co-Defensive Player of the Year in 1985, four-time All-Pro, and five-time Pro-Bowler.

Had both a dominant stretch along with consistency, Tippett was either highest, or second highest, among Patriots in sacks for ten years in a row.

Kenny Easley #192

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Easley had a seven-year career due to illness but was dominant when he played.

Five time All-Pro and a Defensive Player of the Year, Easley could do it all.

The 1980’s version of Ed Reed where he could blitz and tackle, but was truly feared in coverage with the ability to return an interception for a touchdown.

Would have gotten into Canton earlier than 2017 had he not had a career ending illness, or the committee changing their stance on greatness vs longevity.

Jim Covert #222

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Covert was an imposing tackle for a decade. Does not possess top tier Hall of Fame numbers, but he was a senior committee selection in 2020.

1980’s All-Decade team member was a two-time All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowl selection. More solid for a longer time than elite for a shorter stretch type player.

Jackie Slater #286

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Slater was essentially the slightly better version of Covert.

Four-time All Pro and seven-time Pro Bowler was inducted in 2001 because he simply played longer at the same borderline Pro Bowl level.

Played in college with Walter Payton and has a tie to today’s game with his son Matthew Slater being likely the best special teams player for a long time.

Morten Andersen #300

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This is the paragraph where half the readers gloss over because Andersen played kicker and doesn’t have a drunken bar moment like Sebastian Janikowski.

Six-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowl selection, Andersen was just consistent. One of the few players in league history to be named to the All-Decade team twice (1980’s and 1990’s).

Rickey Jackson #303

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Jackson was a second team All-Pro five times and Seven-time Pro Bowler.

He was a simply a menace to quarterbacks alongside fellow Hall of Fame player Sam Mills and just outside Hall consideration Pat Swilling.

Joined the 49ers in 1994 to win a Super Bowl at the end of his career. Side note, go take a look at that 1994 49ers roster. As the kids say, sheesh. The number of Hall of Famers, solid players entering their prime, and quality backups is nuts.

Darrell Green #380

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Green had speed in spades. Rumored to run a 4.09 40 time in 1986 and ran 4.43 at age 50, he could cover anyone.

Was used as a punt returner when asked, and was good doing that as well.

Likely would have been used more at returner, but teams were starting to realize players only had so many elite snaps before a lack of production started to show.

Green was a four-time first team All Pro, seven-time Pro Bowl selection, and two-time Super Bowl Champion. No brainer Hall of Famer was still playing effectively two decades into his long career.

Russ Grimm #381

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Grimm was one of Washington’s ‘Hogs’ and a key member of their three Super Bowl titles in the 1980’s.

Four times a Pro Bowl selection and first team All Pro. Won a fourth Super Bowl ring as a coaching member of the Steelers 2005.

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1984 Topps does suffer from the non-quarterbacks not being the most collectable hobby players. However, this is the set that defines the 1980’s.

124 of the 396 cards feature a Hall of Famer on them and a good number do not show up later in 1989 Score. That set will be covered in the future, and just feels like a different era of the game, despite being only five years apart. In conclusion, 1984 Topps is a destination set for football.

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