1984 Topps Football Cards: Most Valuable (Top Picks)

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The 1984 Topps Football set is THE landmark football card set of the 1980s.

Sure, the 1981 Topps set has the Montana rookie card, and the 1982 Topps set has Lawrence Taylor’s rookie card.

But, the 1984 Topps set features one of the best collections of big-name rookies across any sports card set from the 1980s. 

In this piece, we take a closer look at the 1984 Topps set, providing PSA population data, card values, and thoughts on overall investment potential.

1984 Topps Football Card Facts

When I was collecting cards as a kid, I can recall buying packs of 1984 Topps football.

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An unopened pack of 1984 Topps Football. I unfortunately never won the Super Bowl trip as a kid. But, I did eat the gum.

I loved the cards, the bright colors and soon became quite aware of some of the big-time rookies in the 396 card set.   

Quarterbacks John Elway and Dan Marino were top prospects drafted the year prior. 

And they were soon establishing themselves as major forces in the NFL. 

Marino's 1984 Topps Rookie Card was quickly a popular card with collectors.

I remember going back to buy some more packs and they were all gone. 

It's no surprise that the set was so popular. The set featured a fresh, new design. And aside from rookie cards of Marino and Elway, it features rookie cards for another ten hall of famers. 

While I was buying wax packs, the set was also issued in cello packs, rack packs, 500 card vending boxes and also (elusive) factory sets.  

Rack packs included one of 11 blue, glossy 'NFL Stars' insert cards in every pack - one of which is Marino, as shown in the rack pack below. 

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A 1984 Topps Football Rack Pack. These feature one glossy insert card in every rack pack. Marino insert shown in this one.

1984 Topps cards are notorious for centering issues, along with other print defects. 

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An Off-Center John Elway 84 Topps Rookie Card Which Is Quite Common For The Set

Our 1984 Topps Football Card Picks

1984 Topps Football Most Valuable Cards

Here are the 16 most valuable cards in the 1984 Topps Football setwith values from the PSA SMR Price guide, using PSA 10 (Gem Mint) prices as a guide.

I've listed the cards in order of value, starting with the most valuable card in the set. 

Be aware that many of the commons in PSA 10 grade are worth a ton, only because very few have been submitted for grading.

Thus,if you have plans of trying to build a PSA 10 84 Topps set, know that it will run you a small fortune.

1984 Topps John Elway (RC) #63

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This is the rookie card for Bronco's QB great John Elway. It is also (by a slight margin) the most valuable card in the 1984 Topps Football set

Indianapolis had the first pick in the 1983 Draft, but Elway did not want to play for the struggling Colts. He even threatened to go play baseball if they drafted him. 

Indy did pick Elway at #1, and then traded him to the Broncos for offensive lineman Chris Hinton  (along with two players and a 1984 first round pick). 

Elway wasn't the same sort of statistical machine as Marino, but he is considered one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. 

The USA Today puts Elway as the sixth best QB of all time

Elway's 1984 Topps rookie card was produced in generous quantities. There are 23,000 PSA graded copies of the card. 

Of those, only 179 have earned a PSA 10 (Gem Mint) grade

Along with the rest of the vintage high end market, Elway's rookie in top grades has experienced a significant correction.

PSA 10 Elway rookies sell for around $6K today, down from over $20K at the peak. The good news is that ungraded copies are quite modestly priced.

PSA 10 Elway

PSA 10 Values of John Elway's 1984 Topps Rookie Card

1984 Topps Dan Marino (RC) #123

Dan Marino was a highly touted quarterback prospect out of Pittsburgh.

John Elway out of Stanford went #1 in the 83 Draft, but Marino wasn't selected until pick #27 by the Dolphins. 

He soon proved all doubters wrong. 

His 1984 Topps rookie card showcases the young rookie in what would soon become a season for the record books.

In 1984, Marino won the MVP and led the Dolphins to the Super Bowl. Although they fell short, losing 38-16 to the Joe Montana-led 49ers. 

By the time of his retirement in 1999, Marino had broken nearly every single passing recordAnd, then that guy Tom Brady came around..and well the rest is history.

Marino's rookie card is the second most valuable in the set, behind the Elway RC.

There are 25,000 PSA graded copies, with only 400 (or 1.6%) that have earned a PSA 10 (Gem Mint) grade.

Marino's PSA 10 rookie does sell at a slight discount to Elway, likely because there are roughly double the amount of Marino PSA 10's. 

It also has been subject to a sizeable correction of late, although current values are still at around $5K.

Thankfully, ungraded Marino rookies are plentiful and affordable

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PSA 10 Values Of Dan Marino's 1984 Topps Rookie Card

Note that Marino has several other cards in the set, including #124 (Instant Replay), #202 (Passing Leaders), while also featured on card #355 of Instant Replay card Fred Dean. 

1984 Topps Walter Payton #228

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When this card was released, Walter Payton was 30 years old, and in the twilight of his career. 

Still, he was putting up big time rushing totals, and even finished in the Top 6 of MVP Voting from 1984 through 1986.

Payton's 1984 Topps card is the third most valuable card in the set.

A lot of the value is based on the fact that high grade copies of Payton's card are hard to come by. 

Of the 1400 PSA graded copies, only 15 have earned a PSA 10.

There's been only one sale in the past year and that number eclipsed $6000 at auction.

Crazy enough, if you want to own an ungraded Payton, you can find one for a couple of bucks on eBay

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1984 Topps Walter Payton #228 PSA 10 Values

1984 Topps Eric Dickerson (RC) #280

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Eric Dickerson's rookie card is the fourth most valuable card in the 1984 Topps Football set. 

I loved watching Dickerson run and feel that he might be a bit underrated. 

Dickerson had some massive seasons. Over 2100 rushing yards in 1985. Four years of over 2000 yards from scrimmage. 

NFL Expert Gil Brandt has Dickerson as the sixth best running back of all time, behind guys like Jim Brown and Walter Payton

I agree, which is why I chose Dickerson's rookie card as the most underrated card in the set. 

PSA has graded 7200 copies, with 120 PSA 10's. PSA 10 Dickerson rookie cards sell for around $2000, which represents solid value.

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1984 Topps Eric Dickerson RC #280 PSA 10 Values

1984 Topps Chris Hinton (RC) #15

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Chris Hinton will forever be known as the guy that was traded for John Elway.

However, Hinton was an excellent player, playing 13 seasons in the NFL at offensive tackle.

Over his career Hinton was a 7x Pro Bowl selection and a two time first team All-Pro.

Hinton's 1984 Topps rookie card on its own wouldn't be terribly valuable, however PSA 10 copies of the card have proved elusive.

Only 4 of the 200+ Hinton cards graded by PSA have earned a Gem Mint rating. 

There have been no sales on record, so if you are looking to build a PSA 10 set, you might be out of luck. 

If you would like, go grab a Hinton rookie card on eBay for a dollar

1984 Topps Joe Montana #358

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This is the fourth year card for the amazing Joe Montana. 

In 1984, Montana and the 49ers were on a mission, destroying everyone in their way and pumelling the Dolphins in the Super Bowl. Montana won Super Bowl MVP that year. 

Only 3500 copies of the #358 Montana have been graded by PSA, with only 100 or so PSA 10 copies. 

Considering the lack of supply for Gem Mint copies, I think his card offers collectors an attractive value at less than $700.

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1984 Topps Joe Montana #358 PSA 10 Values

1984 Topps Dan Marino (Instant Replay) RC #124

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Instant Replay cards were one of several subsets in the 1984 Topps set. The cards were issued after a players base card in the set. Thus, for example, the Instant Replay Marino card is #124, after his #123 rookie card. 

The Instant Replay Marino has 2500 PSA Graded copies (1/10th the graded population of his rookie card). Only 160 PSA 10's exist.

Thus, if you want a cheap Marino rookie card, this is the way to do it. You can grab a PSA 10 copy for under $300.

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1984 Topps Dan Marino Instant Replay #124 PSA 10 Values

1984 Dwight Stephenson (RC) #129

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Dwight Stephenson anchored the offensive line of the Dolphins for his entire eight year career. 

Stephenson was drafted in 1980 NFL Draft, but for unknown reasons, Topps left him out of the previous year's sets. 

Thus, his 1984 Topps #129 card is his true rookie card. Stephenson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 1998.

Stephenson's rookie card is hard to find in high grades. Of the near 700 PSA graded copies, only 27 PSA 10 copies exist.  Still, somewhat affordable at around $500.

You could also buy an ungraded copy for a $1 or $2 on eBay

Truth be told, offensive lineman don't get much cardboard love.

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1984 Topps Curt Warner (RC) #198

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Curt Warner was a big time prospect when he was playing for Penn State, where he was a two time All-American.

Selected with the third pick in the 83 NFL Draft, behind other phenoms John Elway and Eric Dickerson, most figured Warner was a can't miss prospect.

His first season showed that the scouts were right. Warner finished the 1983 season with over 1400 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns. 

But, a devastating knee injury only a year later derailed what might have been a HOF career.

Warner was still a solid player, but he was never the same after tearing an ACL in the 1984 season opener. 

His 1984 Topps rookie card carries most of its value due to the scarcity of his card in high grade. Only 4 PSA 10 copies exist, making it a relative unicorn in the set. The last copy sold for over $2000 in 2019

You could also snag an ungraded Warner rookie card on eBay for a $1 or $2.

1984 Topps Howie Long (RC) #111

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Most youngins might be only familiar with Howie Long as an NFL broadcaster.

But, before his time as a studio analyst, Howie Long was a feared defender with the Oakland Raiders. 

Long spent his entire 13 year career with the Oakland (later LA) Raiders. 

Long's 1984 Topps card #111 is his rookie card, even despite the fact that he was drafted in 1981.

Only 100 PSA 10 copies of Long's rookie exist, which helps make it one of the more valuable rookie cards in the set.  Values on the card have ranged from $500 to $700 over the past year.

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1984 Topps Howie Long Rookie Card #111 PSA 10 Values

1984 Topps Joe DeLamielleure #51

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Values of PSA 10 1984 Topps cards are quite dependent on the graded population. Several commons in the set are actually quite valuable in high grade, only because many haven't been graded. 

The #51 card of Browns HOF lineman Joe DeLamielleure is one example.

DeLamielleure was one hell of a player, the main cog in the 'Electric Company' line for the Bills that paved the way for OJ Simpson to run wild in Buffalo.

Only ten PSA 10 copies of Joe DeLamielleure's 84 Topps card exist, making it a very high priced common card. PSA 10 copies sell for between $400 to $500.

1984 Topps Joe Washington #393

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Another high priced common due to a low PSA population. Only ten PSA 10 copies of Joe Washington's 1984 Topps card exist. Sales have ranged from between $200 to $300 for Gem Mint copies

1984 Topps Darrell Green (RC) #380

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HOFer Darrell Green's 1984 Topps rookie card is considered one of the top rookie cards in the set. 

Of over 2000 PSA graded copies, only 125 have earned a prestigious PSA 10 grade. 

Sales of the PSA 10 Green have averaged from between $500 to $600. 

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1984 Topps Darrell Green RC PSA 10 Values

1984 Topps Rickey Jackson (RC) #303

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Rickey Jackson was a warrior and one of the most feared defenders during his playing days with the Saints.

I'll never forget the 1989 season, when Jackson got in a car accident and finished the season with his jaw wired shut. That's the kind of player he was.

Of the 800 PSA graded Jackson rookie cards, 44 have earned a PSA 10 grade.

Expect to pay near $500 for a PSA 10 Jackson or like most cards in the set,only a few bucks for an ungraded copy on eBay

1984 Topps Rickey Jackson Rookie Card PSA 10 Values

1984 Topps Roger Craig (RC) #353

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I was a 49ers fan as a kid, and loved Roger Craig. To this day, I still feel he's a bit underrated as a running back.

He was a four time pro bowler, and named to the 1980s all decade team but could never crack the Hall of Fame. 

His 1984 Topps Rookie card is one of the more underrated cards in the set. PSA 10 copies sell on average for between $300 to $400, or grab a mid to high grade copy for under $50

1984 Topps Andre Tippett (RC) #143

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As a New Englander, the struggling Patriots of the early 80s were hard to watch at times. But there was always one highlight and that defensive stalwart Andre Tippett.

His 84 Topps Rookie card is definitely another underrated card in the set. Tippett is a HOF player and one of the most well recognized Patriots of all time. Only 77 PSA 10 copies of Tippett's rookie card exist and they sell for $200. I like that as a value play in the set

Investment Potential Of The 1984 Topps Football Set

Overall Investment Rating: 7.5 out of 10

For vintage football cards, the 1984 Topps issue is one the most well-recognized sets of the 1980s. 

Chock full of star rookie cards from Marino, Elway, and Dickerson, the set holds a soft spot for adults that ripped packs as a kid.

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The cards were well distributed, meaning all cards are easy to find.

For investment potential, I recommend finding PSA 9 or PSA 10 copies of the big players in the set.

Sealed, unopened wax boxes, now selling for under $3000 also offer good longer term investment potential.

1984 Topps Football Cards For Sale On eBay

How Much Is An Unopened 1984 Topps Football Wax Box Worth?

BBCE Wrapped 1984 Topps Football wax boxes have averaged bewteen $2500 and $3000 at auction. If you can find a clean, BBCE wrapped box for under $3000, go for it. I like the longer term investment potential for wrapped wax boxes on this set. 

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1984 Topps Unopened Wax Boxes have sold for close to $2500

1984 Topps Football Checklist

Card#Player
1Eric Dickerson
2Ali Haji-Sheikh
3Franco Harris
4Mark Moseley
5John Riggins
6Jan Stenerud
7AFC Championship
8NFC Championship
9Super Bowl XVIII
Marcus Allen
10Colts Team Leaders
Curtis Dickey
11Raul Allegre
12Curtis Dickey
13Ray Donaldson
14Nesby Glasgow
15Chris Hinton
16Vernon Maxwell
17Randy McMillan
18Mike Pagel
19Rohn Stark
20Leo Wisniewski
21Bills Team Leaders
Joe Cribbs
22Jerry Butler
23Joe Danelo
24Joe Ferguson
25Steve Freeman
26Roosevelt Leaks
27Frank Lewis
28Eugene Marve
29Booker Moore
30Fred Smerlas
31Ben Williams
32Bengals Team Ldrs.
Cris Collinsworth
33Charles Alexander
34Ken Anderson
35Ken Anderson
36Jim Breech
37Cris Collinsworth
38Cris Collinsworth
39Isaac Curtis
40Eddie Edwards
41Ray Horton
42Pete Johnson
43Steve Kreider
44Max Montoya
45Anthony Munoz
46Reggie Williams
47Browns Team Leaders
Mike Pruitt
48Matt Bahr
49Chip Banks
50Tom Cousineau
51Joe DeLamielleure
52Doug Dieken
53Bob Golic
54Bobby Jones
55Dave Logan
56Clay Matthews
57Paul McDonald
58Ozzie Newsome
59Ozzie Newsome
60Mike Pruitt
61Broncos Team Ldrs.
Steve Watson
62Barney Chavous
63John Elway
64Steve Foley
65Tom Jackson
66Rick Karlis
67Luke Prestridge
68Zack Thomas
69Rick Upchurch
70Steve Watson
71Sammy Winder
72Louis Wright
73Oilers Team Leaders
Tim Smith
74Jesse Baker
75Gregg Bingham
76Robert Brazile
77Steve Brown
78Chris Dressel
79Doug France
80Florian Kempf
81Carl Roaches
82Tim Smith
83Willie Tullis
84Chiefs Team Leaders
Carlos Carson
85Mike Bell
86Theotis Brown
87Carlos Carson
88Carlos Carson
89Deron Cherry
90Gary Green
91Billy Jackson
92Bill Kenney
93Bill Kenney
94Nick Lowery
95Henry Marshall
96Art Still
97Raiders Team Ldrs.
Todd Christensen
98Marcus Allen
99Marcus Allen
100Lyle Alzado
101Lyle Alzado
102Chris Bahr
103Malcolm Barnwell
104Cliff Branch
105Todd Christensen
106Todd Christensen
107Ray Guy
108Frank Hawkins
109Lester Hayes
110Ted Hendricks
111Howie Long
112Rod Martin
113Vann McElroy
114Jim Plunkett
115Greg Pruitt
116Dolphins Team Ldrs.
Mark Duper
117Bob Baumhower
118Doug Betters
119A.J. Duhe
120Mark Duper
121Andra Franklin
122William Judson
123Dan Marino
124Dan Marino
125Nat Moore
126Ed Newman
127Reggie Roby
128Gerald Small
129Dwight Stephenson
130Uwe Von Schamann
131Patriots Team Ldrs.
Tony Collins
132Rich Camarillo
133Tony Collins
134Tony Collins
135Bob Cryder
136Steve Grogan
137John Hannah
138Brian Holloway
139Roland James
140Stanley Morgan
141Rick Sanford
142Mosi Tatupu
143Andre Tippett
144Jets Team Leaders
Wesley Walker
145Jerome Barkum
146Mark Gastineau
147Mark Gastineau
148Bruce Harper
149Johnny Lam Jones
150Joe Klecko
151Pat Leahy
152Freeman McNeil
153Lance Mehl
154Marvin Powell
155Darrol Ray
156Pat Ryan
157Kirk Springs
158Wesley Walker
159Steelers Team Ldrs.
Franco Harris
160Walter Abercrombie
161Gary Anderson
162Terry Bradshaw
163Craig Colquitt
164Bennie Cunningham
165Franco Harris
166Franco Harris
167Jack Lambert
168Jack Lambert
169Frank Pollard
170Donnie Shell
171Mike Webster
172Keith Willis
173Rick Woods
174Chargers Team Ldrs.
Kellen Winslow
175Rolf Benirschke
176James Brooks
177Maury Buford
178Wes Chandler
179Dan Fouts
180Dan Fouts
181Charlie Joiner
182Linden King
183Chuck Muncie
184Billy Ray Smith
185Danny Walters
186Kellen Winslow
187Kellen Winslow
188Seahawks Team Ldrs.
Curt Warner
189Steve August
190Dave Brown
191Zachary Dixon
192Kenny Easley
193Jacob Green
194Norm Johnson
195Dave Krieg
196Steve Largent
197Steve Largent
198Curt Warner
199Curt Warner
200Jeff West
201Charlie Young
202Passing Leaders
D.Marino/S.Bartkowski
203Receiving Leaders
Chrstnsn/Brown/Gray/Green
204Rushing Leaders
C.Warner/E.Dickerson
205Scoring Leaders
G.Anderson/M.Moseley
206Interception Ldrs.
McElroy/Riley/Murphy
207Punting Leaders
R.Camarillo/G.Coleman
208Falcons Team Ldrs.
William Andrews
209William Andrews
210William Andrews
211Stacey Bailey
212Steve Bartkowski
213Steve Bartkowski
214Ralph Giacomarro
215Billy Johnson
216Mike Kenn
217Mick Luckhurst
218Gerald Riggs
219R.C. Thielemann
220Jeff Van Note
221Bears Team Leaders
Walter Payton
222Jim Covert
223Leslie Frazier
224Willie Gault
225Mike Hartenstine
226Noah Jackson
227Jim McMahon
228Walter Payton
229Walter Payton
230Mike Richardson
231Terry Schmidt
232Mike Singletary
233Matt Suhey
234Bob Thomas
235Cowboys Team Ldrs.
Tony Dorsett
236Bob Breunig
237Doug Cosbie
238Tony Dorsett
239Tony Dorsett
240John Dutton
241Tony Hill
242Ed "Too Tall" Jones
243Drew Pearson
244Rafael Septien
245Ron Springs
246Dennis Thurman
247Everson Walls
248Danny White
249Randy White
250Lions Team Leaders
Billy Sims
251Jeff Chadwick
252Garry Cobb
253Doug English
254William Gay
255Eric Hipple
256James Jones
257Bruce McNorton
258Ed Murray
259Ulysses Norris
260Billy Sims
261Billy Sims
262Leonard Thompson
263Packers Team Ldrs.
James Lofton
264John Anderson
265Paul Coffman
266Lynn Dickey
267Gerry Ellis
268John Jefferson
269John Jefferson
270Ezra Johnson
271Tim Lewis
272James Lofton
273James Lofton
274Larry McCarren
275Jan Stenerud
276Rams Team Leaders
Eric Dickerson
277Mike Barber
278Jim Collins
279Nolan Cromwell
280Eric Dickerson
281Eric Dickerson
282George Farmer
283Vince Ferragamo
284Kent Hill
285John Misko
286Jackie Slater
287Jack Youngblood
288Vikings Team Ldrs.
Darrin Nelson
289Ted Brown
290Greg Coleman
291Steve Dils
292Tony Galbreath
293Tommy Kramer
294Doug Martin
295Darrin Nelson
296Benny Ricardo
297John Swain
298John Turner
299Saints Team Leaders
George Rogers
300Morten Andersen
301Russell Erxleben
302Jeff Groth
303Rickey Jackson
304Johnnie Poe
305George Rogers
306Richard Todd
307Jim Wilks
308Dave Wilson
309Wayne Wilson
310Giants Team Leaders
Earnest Gray
311Leon Bright
312Scott Brunner
313Rob Carpenter
314Harry Carson
315Earnest Gray
316Ali Haji-Sheikh
317Mark Haynes
318Dave Jennings
319Brian Kelley
320Phil Simms
321Lawrence Taylor
322Lawrence Taylor
323Brad Van Pelt
324Butch Woolfolk
325Eagles Team Leaders
Mike Quick
326Harold Carmichael
327Herman Edwards
328Michael Haddix
329Dennis Harrison
330Ron Jaworski
331Wilbert Montgomery
332Hubert Oliver
333Mike Quick
334Jerry Robinson
335Max Runager
336Michael Williams
337Cardinals Team Ldrs
Ottis Anderson
338Ottis Anderson
339Al Baker
340Carl Birdsong
341David Galloway
342Roy Green
343Roy Green
344Curtis Greer
345Neil Lomax
346Doug Marsh
347Stump Mitchell
348Lionel Washington
34949ers Team Leaders
Dwight Clark
350Dwaine Board
351Dwight Clark
352Dwight Clark
353Roger Craig
354Fred Dean
355Fred Dean
356Dwight Hicks
357Ronnie Lott
358Joe Montana
359Joe Montana
360Freddie Solomon
361Wendell Tyler
362Ray Wersching
363Eric Wright
364Bucs Team Leaders
Kevin House
365Gerald Carter
366Hugh Green
367Kevin House
368Michael Morton
369James Owens
370Booker Reese
371Lee Roy Selmon
372Jack Thompson
373James Wilder
374Steve Wilson
375Redskins Team Ldrs.
John Riggins
376Jeff Bostic
377Charlie Brown
378Charlie Brown
379Dave Butz
380Darrell Green
381Russ Grimm
382Joe Jacoby
383Dexter Manley
384Art Monk
385Mark Moseley
386Mark Murphy
387Mike Nelms
388John Riggins
389John Riggins
390Joe Theismann
391Joe Theismann
392Don Warren
393Joe Washington
394Checklist 1-132
395Checklist 133-264
396Checklist 265-396
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