The 2023 Football HOF Finalists & Their Best Rookie Cards

February 1, 2023

The 2023 HOF Candidates (1)

The Pro Football Hall of Fame recently announced its finalists for its class of 2023. The finalists included 15 modern candidates, three senior candidates, and one legendary coach.

Rookie cards of these potential hall of famers could increase in value over the next couple of weeks. The final announcement is revealed during the NFL Honors show on February 9th.

Let’s examine and break down one rookie card of each player that could be a good addition to your collection.

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Modern HOF Candidates

1. Joe Thomas - 2007 Topps Chrome PSA 10 Rookie #TC264

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Joe Thomas is the biggest lock to be inducted amongst all the finalists this year. He’s a first-year eligible player who played left tackle for the Cleveland Browns from 2007-17. Thomas played an amazing 10,363 consecutive snaps for ten straight seasons, an NFL record.

Thomas' most popular card is his 2007 Topps Chrome rookie card, of which only 79 PSA 10 graded examples exist. PSA has declared this card his Future HOF Rookie Registry card, which means it’s his most collectible and popular.

Thomas’s PSA 10 Chrome rookie card is valued at between $145 to $160 and could reach an all-time high when his name is announced as a Hall of Famer.

Joe Thomas is a no-brainer to make the Hall of Fame in 2023.

2. Darrelle Revis - 2007 Topps Chrome PSA 10 Rookie #TC249

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Darrelle Revis was known as "Revis Island" because of his shutdown abilities at cornerback. Revis is first year eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2023, and many football experts believe he could get inducted this year.

Revis was best known for his time with the New York Jets, but he won a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots. He played from 2007-17 and was one of his era's most popular defensive players.

Revis's most popular card is his 2007 Topps Chrome rookie; PSA 10 (Gem-Mint) copies are limited to only 61 examples. This card is valued at $125 but is already becoming a lot more challenging card to find. 

Your next best alternative is to buy his 2007 SP Authentic Rookie Auto, serial numbered /399, which is valued at around $50 ungraded. Revis is arguably the second-best option to make the HOF this year.

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3. Willie Anderson - 1996 Bowman's Best PSA 9 Rookie #146

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Willie Anderson played offensive tackle in the NFL from 1996-2008. He spent most of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals and played his last season with the Baltimore Ravens.

Most fans don't know about Willie Anderson but he was one of the game's best lineman during his playing days. Even Michael Strahan called him the 'greatest right tackle of his generation'.   

Anderson's most popular rookie card is his 1996 Bowman's Best rookie. The PSA Registry has declared this card Anderson's future Hall of Fame Rookie Registry card.

His Bowman's Best rookie card is limited to only two PSA 10 examples, with only one confirmed PSA 10 sale of $700. A PSA 9 is your next best alternative, limited to only 17 examples and valued between $100 to $165.

4. Torry Holt - 1999 SP Authentic PSA 9 Rookie /1999 #96

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Torry Holt was known as Big Game Torry Holt and played on "The Greatest Show on Turf," the dominant St Louis Rams teams of the 2000s. Holt has a 106.7 PFR Hall Of Fame Monitor score, which ranks 13th all-time at the position.  

Holt is the last star offensive player from the legendary Rams teams not yet elected to the Hall of Fame. 

Holt's most popular rookie card is his 1999 SP Authentic Rookie card, serial numbered out of 1999. A PSA 10 example is worth about $375, and a PSA 9 example sells for around $100. 

Both cards have limited graded copies, with only 81 PSA 9s and 55 PSA 10s. Holt has a great chance to get inducted into the Hall of Fame this year, and his rookie card makes for a solid investment.

1999 Upper Deck SPx Torry Holt Rookie Auto Autograph RC #0318/1999 St Louis Rams

$2.25  (2 bids)
End Date: Sunday Feb-05-2023 21:02:18 EST

Bid

1999 Bowman Chrome Torry Holt Refractor RC #174 PSA MINT 9

$12.29  (4 bids)
End Date: Saturday Feb-04-2023 21:56:27 EST

Bid

TORRY HOLT 1999 Topps Football Rookie Card RC #343 St Louis Rams

$0.99  
End Date: Sunday Feb-05-2023 15:19:13 EST
Buy It Now for only: $0.99
Buy It Now

5. Reggie Wayne - 2001 Topps Chrome Rookie Refractor #250 /999

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Reggie Wayne played wide receiver from 2001-2015 and spent his entire career with the Indianapolis Colts. He is 10th all-time in receiving yards, and his connection with Peyton Manning was one of the best QB/WR connections in the history of football. 

His most popular rookie is his Topps Chrome Refractor rookie. Topps created short-printed rare refractor rookie cards in 2001. There were no base chrome versions of this card; the only other version was the base Topps issue.

Wayne's Topps Chrome Rookie Refractor is worth between $125 to $200 ungraded. PSA 9's and PSA 10's are highly sought after and are rarely available for sale as
less than 50 PSA graded copies exist.

Wayne has Hall of Fame numbers and could have just as good of a chance to get elected as Holt, but both players are unlikely to get into the Hall this year.

6. Andre Johnson - 2003 Topps Chrome Andre Johnson PSA 10 Rookie #235

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Andre Johnson played wide receiver from 2003-16 and primarily with the Houston Texans. Johnson was one of his era's best receivers and arguably the best Texans player in franchise history.

Johnson's Topps Chrome rookie card is very limited in both a PSA 9 and PSA 10 example. There are only 63 PSA 9 examples, valued at under $100, and only 40 PSA 10 examples valued at close to $300. 

Johnson will likely be a Hall of Famer someday, but it may be a long shot this year, as Wayne and Holt have a better shot. Still, his Chrome rookie cards in higher grades look like a good investment. 

7. Jared Allen - 2004 SP Authentic Rookie /1199 #101

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 Jared Allen was the premier defensive end during the era he played from 2004-2015. He was best known for his tenure with the Minnesota Vikings and is already a member of their Ring of Honor

Allen has 136 career sacks, good for 12th of all-time, and should eventually be a Hall of Famer. His most popular rookie card is his 2004 SP Authentic card, serial numbered/1199. This isn't easy to find in higher grades, while ungraded copies sell for between $60 and $75.

Allen is another longshot to make the Hall of Fame this year but should get inducted in the coming years.

9. Dwight Freeney - 2002 Topps Chrome PSA 9 Rookie Refractor #171

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Dwight Freeney is a first-year Hall of Fame eligible player this year. Freeney played defensive end in the NFL from 2002-2017. He was primarily known for his tenure with the Indianapolis Colts, where he would win a Super Bowl, finishing with 125.5 sacks in his career.

His most popular card is his
2002 Topps Chrome Rookie Refractor. Topps created only the refractor version in 2002, and there is no Chrome base version. Freeney's Topps Chrome is undervalued, considering how limited it is.

There are only 78 PSA 9s and just 21 PSA 10 examples. PSA 9s are worth between $70 to $100, and PSA 10s are valued at around $250. Freeney will likely get into the Hall of Fame, which could be this year or in the coming years.

10. Albert Lewis - 1986 Topps PSA 9 Rookie #312

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Albert Lewis played cornerback in the NFL from 1983-1998; he was best known for his time with the Kansas City Chiefs. Lewis had 42 interceptions and was a two-time first-team All-Pro. Lewis is the career leader in punt blocks in the history of the NFL. Jerry Rice called Lewis the best corner he ever faced; doesn't get much better than that! 

His most popular card is his 1986 Topps rookie card, which is very limited in a high-grade example. Only 45 PSA 9 copies exist, and just six PSA 10 examples. The most recent sale on a PSA 9 was for $55 at eBay.

Lewis was a great player, but consider him a big long shot at getting elected to the Hall of Fame this year.

11. Ronde Barber - 1997 SP Authentic Rookie #186

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Ronde Barber played cornerback in the NFL from 1997-2012 and spent his entire career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His identical twin brother Tiki Barber was also a very succesful running back for the New York Giants.  

Ronde Barber holds an NFL record for most consecutive starts by a defensive back with 224, including playoff games. He was a three-time first-team All-Pro and had 47 interceptions.

Barber's most popular card is his 1997 SP Authentic rookie; the PSA Registry has already declared this card on the Future Hall of Fame Rookie card list.

A challenging card to find in a high-grade PSA example, so ungraded is your best bet. Raw copies are valued at $25 to $40.

Barber has an outside chance to get inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year and should eventually get inducted.

12. Darren Woodson - 1992 Stadium Club PSA 10 Rookie #654

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Darren Woodson played safety in the NFL and spent his entire career with the Dallas Cowboys. He was a part of the Cowboys dynasty teams during the 1990s and played in the NFL from 1992-2004. Woodson won three Super Bowls in his career and is already a Cowboys Ring of Honor member.

Woodson's most valuable rookie card is his 1992 Stadium Club rookie card, which is limited to only 46 copies in a PSA 10 example. A PSA 10 is worth about $275. Woodson is a long shot at getting inducted into the Hall of Fame this year but should eventually get in.

13. Zach Thomas - 1996 SP PSA 9 Rookie #91

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Zach Thomas played middle linebacker in the NFL from 1996-2009 and was best known for his playing days with the Miami Dolphins. Thomas was a five-time First-Team All-Pro and one of the best linebackers of his era. Many football experts believe he should be a Hall of Famer.

Thomas's most popular rookie card is his 1996 SP Rookie card. There are less than 130 PSA 9 copies and less than 50 Gem-Mint PSA 10 copies. In terms of value, PSA 9's are worth around $150.

Thomas will likely have to wait a few more years to get in the HOF, but he has an outside shot at making it this year. Apparently, Peyton Manning is a big supporter of Thomas's induction.

14. Patrick Willis - 2007 Topps Chrome PSA 10 Rookie #TC240

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Patrick Willis played middle linebacker in the NFL from 2007-2014 and spent his entire career with the San Francisco 49ers. Willis was a five-team First-Team All-Pro and one of the best defensive players of his era. If Willis had played a few more seasons in the NFL, he would have already been named a Hall of Famer.

His most popular card is his 2007 Topps Chrome rookie, graded PSA 10 examples limited to only 63. This is a tough card to find and only one confirmed sale of $250 at recent eBay auctions. A great alternative option is buying Willis's Topps Chrome Auto Rookie. Willis should get into the Hall of Fame, but it remains to be seen if this will be the year he does.

15. Devin Hester - 2006 Topps Chrome PSA 9 Rookie #252

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Devin Hester is regarded as the best special teams kickoff/punt returner player of all time. He holds the record for 20 total return touchdowns. Hester played in the NFL from 2006-16 and is best known for his time with the Chicago Bears. He even returned the opening kickoff in a Super Bowl for a touchdown.

Hester's most popular rookie card is his 2006 Topps Chrome Rookie.
This one has a Special Edition version, but the base version example is the rarer and more sought-after card. Hester's Topps Chrome PSA 9 rookie is valued in the $40-50 range at recent eBay auctions. Only 47 have been graded a PSA 9, and just 41 PSA 10s. Hester should be a future Hall of Famer, but he may have to wait a few more years.

Senior HOF Candidates

1. Chuck Howley - 1966 Philadelphia PSA 7 Rookie #59

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Chuck Howley played linebacker from 1958 to 1973, best known for his time with the Dallas Cowboys. He won a Super Bowl with the Cowboys and was a five-time First-Team All-Pro.

Howley's most popular card is his 1966 Philadelphia rookie card. This set features many highly sought-after cards, which are becoming a lot more challenging to find. A PSA 7 Howley rookie card is valued at around $150. Howley's PSA 7 rookie card has seen a significant increase in value since being named a senior candidate finalist to the HOF. 

Howley is considered a lock to be elected to the Hall of Fame this year.

2. Joe Klecko - 1978 Topps PSA 8 Rookie #287

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Joe Klecko played defensive end and defensive tackle in the NFL from 1977-1988. He was a popular player on the New York Jets and won DPOY (Defensive Player of The Year) in 1981.

Klecko was a member of the "New York Sack Exchange", a nickname given to the dominant four defensive lineman on the NY Jets, which included Mark Gastineau. The popularity of the Jets defensive group was a big resason for why the NFL started counting sacks as a statistic.

Klecko's most popular card is his 1978 Topps rookie, a graded PSA 8 example is valued at $120 at recent eBay auctions. Only 83 straight PSA 8's exist on this card. Klecko should be getting elected to the Hall of Fame this year.

3. Ken Riley - 1973 Topps PSA 8 Rookie #171

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Ken Riley played cornerback in the NFL from 1969-1983 and spent his entire career with the Cincinnati Bengals. He had 65 interceptions in his career.

Riley's most popular rookie card is his 1973 Topps Rookie card. PSA 8's are valued at $275 at recent eBay auctions. There are only 56 straight PSA 8's, and this card is already becoming more challenging to find. 

Riley has never made it this far in the Hall of Fame selection process, but there is a good chance he is elected to the Hall of Fame this year.

So, who will get into the HOF?

Joe Thomas and Darelle Revis are locks to get in, then DeMarcus Ware, Torry Holt, and Willie Anderson have the next best chance for the modern finalists. As for the senior players, most get elected once they are named a finalist, and I would expect Howley, Klecko, and Riley to get inducted. Don Coryell was named a finalist for a legendary coach and could have a good chance to get in as well.

Be sure to also check out our list of the hobby's most valuable football cards

Vinnie Rullo

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