1981 Topps Football Cards

1981 Topps Football Cards


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Once again, Topps issued a 528-card football set in 1981, with airbrush work obscuring the team logos. At the same time, the company used most of the same subsets and gimmick they'd been using for years. However, there was a return to In Action cards that had been last issued as part of the 1972 set, and a very iconic rookie card that has given the entire set a lift over the years.

Card fronts feature a player photo, with a banner-shaped icon below. The part of the banner stretching out from the flagpole names the player's team, and his name appears after the fold. His position is listed in the space below the team name. For the first time ever, Topps used its logo on the front of a football card; it appears in the upper right corner. The banner theme is continued on the back, with the player's name and position as well as the card number inside various folds across the top. A list of vital stats, year-by-year career statistics (for most players) and a biography fill out most of the back, with a cartoon about the player off to the left.

Players who were named to the previous year's All-Pro team are given a black stripe across the bottom of their photos. For the third straight year, each team checklist card features offensive and defensive statistical leaders from the previous season on the front. The team checklists and five regular checklist cards are seeded throughout the set. Cards #1-6 feature the 1980 conference leaders in several statistical categories, cards #331-336 feature individual highlights from the season and cards #492-494 recap the conference championships and the Super Bowl. One new subset called Super Action appears that shows several top players in game-action shots. Oddly, the Super Action cards are seeded throughout the set, rather than following that player's base card numerically.

The key card is Joe Montana's rookie card. His presence gives the entire set a boost that the 1978-'80 football sets were lacking. Other notable rookies include Art Monk, Dwight Clark, Dan Hampton, Billy Sims and Kellen Winslow.

Key 1981 Topps Football Cards:

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Set Checklist

1981 Topps Football Card Checklist

Card #Player Name
1Ron Jaworski / B.Sipe League Leaders
2K.Winslo With Cooper League Leaders
3Sack Leaders
4Scoring Leaders
5Interception Leaders
6Punting Leaders
7Don Calhoun
8Jack Tatum
9Reggie Rucker
10Mike Webster
11Vince Evans RC
12Ottis Anderson
13Leroy Harris
14Gordon King
15Harvey Martin
16Johnny Lam Jones RC
17Ken Greene
18Frank Lewis
19Seahawks Team Leaders / Largent
20Lester Hayes
21Uwe Von Schamann
22Joe Washington
23Louie Kelcher
24Willie Miller
25Steve Grogan
26John Hill
27Stan White
28William Andrews
29Clarence Scott
30Leon Gray
31Craig Colquitt
32Doug Williams
33Bob Breunig
34Billy Taylor
35Harold Carmichael
36Ray Wersching
37Dennis Johnson RC
38Archie Griffin
39Los Angeles Rams Team Leaders
40Gary Fencik
41Lynn Dickey
42Steve Bartkowski
43Art Shell
44Wilbur Jackson
45Frank Corral
46Ted McKnight
47Joe Klecko
48Dan Doornink
49Doug Dieken
50Jerry Robinson RC
51Wallace Francis
52Dave Preston RC
54Rush Brown
55Phil Simms
56Nick Mike-Mayer
57Redskins Team Leaders / A.Monk
58Mike Renfro
59Ted Brown
60Steve Nelson
61Sidney Thornton
62Kent Hill
63Don Bessillieu
64Fred Cook
65Raymond Chester
66Rick Kane
67Mike Fuller
68Dewey Selmon
69Charles White RC
70Jeff Van Note
71Robert Newhouse
72Roynell Young RC
73Lynn Cain
74Mike Friede
75Earl Cooper RC
76New Orleansints Team Leaders
77Rick Danmeier
78Darrol Ray
79Gregg Bingham
80John Hannah
81Jack Thompson
82Rick Upchurch
83Mike Butler
84Don Warren
85Mark Van Eeghen
86J.T.Smith RC
87Herman Weaver
88Terry Bradshaw
89Charlie Hall
90Donnie Shell
91Ike Harris
92Charlie Johnson NT
93Rickey Watts
94New England Patriots Team Leaders
95Drew Pearson
96Neil O'Donoghue
97Conrad Dobler
98Jewerl Thomas RC
99Mike Barber
100Billy Sims RC
101Vern Den Herder
102Greg Landry
103Joe Cribbs
104Mark Murphy S RC
105Chuck Muncie
106Alfred Jackson
107Chris Bahr
108Gordon Jones
109Willie Harper RC
110Dave Jennings
111Bennie Cunningham
112Jerry Sisemore
113Cleveland Browns Team Leaders
114Rickey Young
115Ken Anderson
116Randy Gradishar
117Eddie Lee Ivery RC
118Wesley Walker
119Chuck Foreman
120Nolan Cromwell Error
121Curtis Dickey
122Wayne Morris
123Greg Stemrick
124Coy Bacon
125Jim Zorn
126Henry Childs
127Checklist 1-132
128Len Walterscheid
129Johnny Evans
130Gary Barbaro
131Jim Smith
132New York Jets Team Leaders
133Curtis Brown
134D.D. Lewis
135Jim Plunkett
136Nat Moore
137Don McCauley
138Tony Dorsett
139Julius Adams
140Ahmad Rashad
142Ken Fantetti
143Kenny Johnson
144Clark Gaines
145Mark Moseley
146Vernon Perry RC
147Jerry Eckwood
148Freddie Solomon
149Jerry Sherk
150Kellen Winslow RC
151Packers Team Leaders / Lofton
152Ross Browner
153Dan Fouts
154Woody Peoples
155Jack Lambert
156Mike Dennis
157Rafael Septien
158Archie Manning
159Don Hasselbeck
160Alan Page
161Arthur Whittington
162Billy Waddy
163Horace Belton
164Luke Prestridge
165Joe Theismann
166Morris Towns
167Dave Brown DB
168Ezra Johnson
169Tampa Bay Bucs Team Leaders
170Joe DeLamielleure
171Earnest Gray
172Mike Thomas
173Jim Haslett RC
174David Woodley RC
175AlBubba Baker
176Nesby Glasgow RC
177Pat Leahy
178Tom Brahaney
179Herman Edwards
180Junior Miller RC
181Richard Wood RC
182Lenvil Elliott
183Sammie White
184Russell Erxleben
185Ed Too Tall Jones
186Ray Guy
187Haven Moses
188New York Giants Team Leaders
189David Whitehurst
190John Jefferson
191Terry Beeson
192Dan Ross RC
193Dave Williams RB RC
194Art Monk RC
195Roger Wehrli
196Ricky Feacher
197Miami Dolphins Team Leaders
198Carl Roaches RC
199Billy Campfield
200Ted Hendricks
201Fred Smerlas RC
202Walter Payton
203Luther Bradley
204Herb Scott
205Jack Youngblood
206Danny Pittman
207Houston Oilers Team Leaders
208Vagas Ferguson RC
209Mark Dennard
210Lemar Parrish
211Bruce Harper
212Ed Simonini
213Nick Lowery RC
214Kevin House RC
215Mike Kenn RC
216Joe Montana RC
217Joe Senser
218Lester Hayes
219Gene Upshaw
220Franco Harris
221Ron Bolton
222Charles Alexander RC
223Matt Robinson
224Ray Oldham
225George Martin
226Buffalo Bills Team Leaders
227Tony Franklin
228George Cumby
229Butch Johnson
230Mike Haynes
231Rob Carpenter
232Steve Fuller
234Kenny King
235Jack Ham
236Jimmy Rogers
237Bob Parsons
238Marty Lyons RC
239Pat Tilley
240Dennis Harrah
241Thom Darden
242Rolf Benirschke
243Gerald Small
244Atlanta Falcons Team Leaders
245Roger Carr
246Sherman White
247Ted Brown
248Matt Cavanaugh
249John Dutton
250Bill Bergey
251Jim Allen
252Mike Nelms
253Tom Blanchard
254Ricky Thompson
255John Matuszak
256Randy Grossman
257Ray Griffin RC
258Lynn Cain
259Checklist 133-264
260Mike Pruitt
261Chris Ward RC
262Fred Steinfort
263James Owens
264Bears Team Leaders / Payton / Hampton
265Dan Fouts
266Arnold Morgado
267John Jefferson
268Bill Lenkaitis
269James JonesW
270Brad Van Pelt
271Steve Largent
272Elvin Bethea
273Cullen Bryant
274Gary Danielson
275Tony Galbreath
276Dave Butz
277Steve Mike-Mayer
278Ron Johnson DB
279Tom DeLeone
280Ron Jaworski
281Mel Gray
282San Diego Chargers Team Leaders
283Mark Brammer RC
284Alfred Jenkins
285Greg Buttle
286Randy Hughes
287Delvin Williams
288Brian Baschnagel
289Gary Jeter
290Stanley Morgan
291Gerry Ellis
292Al Richardson
293Jimmie Giles
294Dave Jennings
295Wilbert Montgomery
296Dave Pureifory
297Greg Hawthorne
298Dick Ambrose
299Terry Hermeling
300Danny White
301Ken Burrough
302Paul Hofer
303Denver Broncos Team Leaders
304Eddie Payton
305Isaac Curtis
306Benny Ricardo
307Riley Odoms
308Bob Chandler
309Larry Heater
310Art Still RC
311Harold Jackson
312Charlie Joiner
313Jeff Nixon
314Aundra Thompson
315Richard Todd
316Dan Hampton RC
317Doug Marsh
318Louie Giammona
31949ers Team Leaders / Dwight Clark
320Manu Tuiasosopo
321Rich Milot
322Mike Guman RC
323Bob Kuechenberg
324Tom Skladany
325Dave Logan
326Bruce Laird
327James JonesW
328Joe Danelo
329Kenny King RC
330Pat Donovan
331Earl Cooper RB
332John Jefferson RB
333Kenny King RB
334Rod Martin RB
335Jim Plunkett RB
336Bill Thompson RB
337John Hatpelletti
338Lions Team Leaders / Billy Sims
339Don Smith
340Rod Perry
341David Lewis
342Mark Gastineau RC
343Steve Largent
344Charle Young
345Toni Fritsch
346Matt Blair
347Don Bass
348Jim Jensen RC
349Karl Lorch
350Brian Sipe
351Theo Bell
352Sam Adams OL
353Paul Coffman
354Eric Harris
355Tony Hill
356J.T. Turner
357Frank LeMaster
358Jim Jodat
359Raiders Team Leaders / Hendricks
360Joe Cribbs RC
361James Lofton
362Dexter Bussey
363Bobby Jackson
364Steve DeBerg
365Ottis Anderson
366Tom Myers
367John James
368Reese McCall
369Jack Reynolds
370Gary Johnson
371Jimmy Cefalo
372Horace Ivory
373Garo Yepremian
374Brian Kelley
375Terry Bradshaw
376Cowboys Team Leaders / Tony Dorsett
377Randy Logan
378Tim Wilson
379Archie Manning
380Revie Sorey
381Randy Holloway
382Henry Lawrence
383Pat McInally
384Kevin Long
385Louis Wright
386Leonard Thompson
387Jan Stenerud
388Raymond Butler RC
389Checklist 265-396
390Steve Bartkowski
391Clarence Harmon
392Wilbert Montgomery
393Billy Joe DuPree
394Kansas City Chiefs Team Leaders
395Earnest Gray
396Ray Hamilton
397Brenard Wilson
398Calvin Hill
399Robin Cole
400Walter Payton
401Jim Hart
402Ron Yary
403Cliff Branch
404Roland Hooks
405Ken Stabler
406Chuck Ramsey
407Mike Nelms RC
408Ron Jaworski
409James Hunter
410Lee Roy Selmon
411Baltimore Colts Team Leaders
412Henry Marshall
413Preston Pearson
414Richard Bishop
415Greg Pruitt
416Matt Bahr
417Tom Mullady
418Glen Edwards
419Sam McCullum
420Stan Walters
421George Roberts
422Dwight Clark RC
423Pat Thomas RC
424Bruce Harper
425Craig Morton
426Derrick Gaffney
427Pete Johnson
428Wes Chandler
429Burgess Owens
430James Lofton
431Tony Reed
432Vikings Team Leaders / A.Rashad
433Ron Springs RC
434Tim Fox
435Ozzie Newsome
436Steve Furness
437Will Lewis
438Mike Hartenstine
439John Bunting
440Eddie Murray RC
441Mike Pruitt
442Larry Swider
443Steve Freeman
444Bruce Hardy RC
445Pat Haden
446Curtis Dickey RC
447Doug Wilkerson
448Alfred Jenkins
449Dave Dalby
450Robert Brazile
451Bobby Hammond
452Raymond Clayborn
453Jim Miller P RC
454Roy Simmons
455Charlie Waters
456Ricky Bell
457Ahmad Rashad
458Don Cockroft
459Keith Krepfle
460Marvin Powell
461Tommy Kramer
462Jim LeClair
463Freddie Scott
464Rob Lytle
465Johnnie Gray
466Doug France RC
467Carlos Carson RC
468Cardinals Team Leaders / O.Anderson
469Efren Herrera
470Randy White
471Richard Caster
472Andy Johnson
473Billy Sims
474Joe Lavender
475Harry Carson
476John Stallworth
477Bob Thomas
478Keith Wright RC
479Ken Stone
480Carl Hairston
481Reggie McKenzie
482Bob Griese
483Mike Bragg
484Scott Dierking
485David Hill
486Brian Sipe
487Rod Martin RC
488Cincinnati Bengals Team Leaders
489Preston Dennard
490John Smith
491Mike Reinfeldt
492NFC Champs / Jaworski
493AFC Champs / Plunkett
494Super Bowl XV / J.Plunkett
495Joe Greene
496Charlie Joiner
497Rolland Lawrence
498AlBubba Baker
499Brad Dusek
500Tony Dorsett
501Robin Earl
502Theotis Brown RC
503Joe Ferguson
504Beasley Reece
505Lyle Alzado
506Tony Nathan RC
507Philadelphia Eagles Team Leaders
508Herb Orvis
509Clarence Williams RB
510Ray Guy
511Jeff Komlo
512Freddie Solomon
513Tim Mazzetti
514Elvis Peacock RC
515Russ Francis
516Roland Harper
517Checklist 397-528
518Billy Johnson
519Dan Dierdorf
520Fred Dean
521Jerry Butler
523Charlie Smith WR
524Kellen Winslow
525Bert Jones
526Steelers Team Leaders / Fr.Harris
527Duriel Harris
528William Andrews

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Chris is an avid vintage sports card collector who is The Cardboard Connection's resident expert of all things vintage.

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