The Road to Football Card Greatness: Super Bowl XLV
Each year, one team is left standing after Super Bowl Sunday. In the world of football cards, one team's football cards are not only left standing, but receive a texas sized boost in value. Below is a look at the cards of consequence from each of the remaining four playoff teams with big dreams of winning Super Bowl XLV.
Whether it be a future Hall of Famer finally capturing their first ring (Urlacher, LT) or a young star seeking to add the first brick to a Hall of Fame foundation (Rodgers, Cutler), everyone wins with the addition of a Super Bowl ring in the world of cards.
Winning a Super Bowl would be the final feather in the legendary running back's hat. His card value fell drastically following his fall out in San Diego. Should LT finally capture a ring, his cards would recapture past glory and then some.
- 2001 Bowman Chrome #190 LaDainian Tomlinson RC($50)
- 2001 Topps Debut #103 LaDainian Tomlinson AU RC($100)
- 2001 SP Authentic #120 LaDainian Tomlinson JSY/ 500 RC($400)
- 2001 Playoff Contenders #150 LaDainian Tomlinson AU/ 600* RC($400)
Though I personally don't care for Sanchez, he has two big time hobby forces acting in his favor. First, he plays in the biggest sports market in the world. Second, he plays the greatest position in the football card world.
- 2009 Topps Chrome Rookie Autographs #TC220 Mark Sanchez B($150)
- 2009 Playoff Contenders #105 Mark Sanchez AU RC($150)
- 2009 SP Authentic #393 Mark Sanchez JSY AU/ 499 RC($300)
- 2009 Playoff National Treasures #120 Mark Sanchez JSY AU RC($300)
- 2009 Exquisite Collection #187 Mark Sanchez JSY AU RC($600)
Since his breakout season with Browns several years ago, Braylon's cards have crashed in value, which means should he make a big play or put together a big game, his cards have nowhere to go but up.
- 2005 Playoff Contenders #112 Braylon Edwards AU RC($40)
- 2005 Exquisite Collection #115 Braylon Edwards JSY AU/ 99 RC($120)
In Pittsburgh, Holmes made some of the biggest grabs in gridiron history. After character and legal issues, his cards took a major hit. If he continues to make clutch grabs and wins another Super Bowl, the value of his cards will be rewarded handsomely.
- 2006 Playoff Contenders #115 Santonio Holmes AU RC($30)
- 2006 SP Authentic #253 Santonio Holmes JSY/ 399 AU RC($100)
- 2006 Exquisite Collection #106 Santonio Holmes JSY AU/ 99 RC($150)
Coming into the 2010 season, collectors were all over Greene's cards. A combination of opportunity and a pair of breakout performances in last year's playoffs did wonders for his card value. Then LT came to town and took a bite out of his work load and his card value. All could be forgiven if Greene becomes a hero in the next two games. Greene also has the benefit of youth on his side, so even if he doesn't perform well, his cards will still have an opportunity to redeem themselves in coming years.
- 2009 Playoff Contenders #121 Shonn Greene AU RC($40)
- 2009 SP Authentic #401 Shonn Greene JSY AU/ 999 RC($60)
- 2009 Exquisite Collection #179 Shonn Greene JSY AU RC($120)
If the Jets win the Super Bowl, Revis will be the best player on the last team standing, which could lead to Polamalu-esque card value. Revis is perpetually on the cusp of becoming one of the all-time greats. When you're an all-time great, your cards will find value no matter what position you play.
- 2007 Playoff Contenders #138 Darrelle Revis AU/ 533 RC($30)
- 2007 SP Authentic #251 Darrelle Revis AU RC($60)
- 2007 Exquisite Collection #71 Darrelle Revis AU RC($135)
Even before Roethlisberger's issues, Polamalu was arguably the most popular player in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are more synonymous with Defense than any other team in history of the league. Another Super Bowl could put Polamalu's rookie cards in the same class as many of league's elite offensive stars, which says a lot.
- 2003 Finest #61 Troy Polamalu RC($20)
- 2003 SP Authentic #120 Troy Polamalu RC($40)
- 2003 Playoff Contenders #190 Troy Polamalu AU/989 RC($200)
While wide receivers like Plaxico and Santio have come and gone, Hines Ward has been the one constant. Ward has never been a top 5 WR in the league, but that's the way Steelers fans like it. Ward's cards would most definitely receive a boost in value with the addition of a third ring.
- 1998 Bowman Chrome #27 Hines Ward RC($15)
- 1998 Leaf Rookies and Stars #202 Hines Ward RC($25)
- 1998 Playoff Contenders Ticket #94 Hines Ward AU/ 500 ($250)
Without his off field issues, we would be talking about Big Ben possibly joining the legends of cardboard club. Unfortunately, the off field incidents will forever be linked to his card value. At the same time, this essentially means his cards can go nowhere but up after dropping drastically in 2010.
- 2004 Fleer Authentix #134 Ben Roethlisberger RC/ Bill Cowher AU($100)
- 2004 Playoff Contenders #106 Ben Roethlisberger AU/ 541 RC($250)
- 2004 SP Authentic #213 Ben Roethlisberger JSY AU RC ($600)
The second best defensive player on the Steelers is the steel curtain's muscle. Harrison has always been an intriguing player, winning another Super Bowl would give his cards a much deserved boost in value. Though Harrison was a rookie in 2002, it took card manufactures until 2008 to print the Steelers' stars first cards, which do qualify as true rookie cards.
- 2008 Stadium Club #87 James Harrison RC($8)
- 2008 Bowman Sterling #97 James Harrison JSY RC($35)
- 2008 Exquisite Collection #78 James Harrison RC ($80)
It's always felt like Mendenhallis missing the "it" factor. Despite great numbers, he never really amazes you, but this matters little should the Steelers end up celebrating on Super Bowl Sunday. If Mendenhall puts up big numbers, the value of his cards will also put up big numbers.
- 2008 Playoff Contenders #187 Rashard Mendenhall AU RC($60)
- 2008 SP Authentic #304 Rashard Mendenhall JSY AU/ 499 RC($150)
- 2008 Exquisite Collection #171 Rashard Mendenhall JSY AU RC($300)
Despite having a big season during his 2nd year in the league, Wallace's card stock has suffered from the plain name factor. Believe it or not, cool names can do wonders for card value, while the opposite is true for names like Mike Wallace. Yet, he's 60 minutes away from the Super Bowl. Also, who doesn't love a speedy deep threat?
- 2009 Playoff Contenders #124 Mike Wallace AU RC($40)
- 2009 SP Authentic #395 Mike Wallace JSY AU/ 999 RC($80)
- 2009 Exquisite Collection #177 Mike Wallace JSY AU RC($100)
Rookies and Super Bowls have always been a dynamic duo when it comes to boosting a player's card value. Should Sanders make a "Santonio Holmes-esque" play in a key situation or have a breakout big game, this would do plenty of favors for those holding his 2010 cards.
- 2010 Certified #282 Emmanuel Sanders JSY AU/ 699 RC EXCH($15)
- 2010 Epix #217 Emmanuel Sanders AU/ 210 RC($25)
- 2010 Panini Gridiron Gear #273 Emmanuel Sanders JSY AU/ 182 RC($25)
- 2010 Topps Triple Threads #126A/B Emmanuel Sanders JSY AU RC($30)
The future first ballot Hall of Famer has accomplished all that can be done outside of capturing a Super Bowl Ring. Winning the Super Bowl would reap big time rewards for those holding Urlacher's key rookie cards. Urlacher's rookie cards have been among the hobby's most under appreciated for years.
- 2000 SP Authentic #122 Brian Urlacher RC ($50)
- 2000 Playoff Contenders #103 Brian Urlacher AU RC($80)
- 2000 SPx #134 Brian Urlacher JSY AU RC ($120)
Should Cutler capture a Super Bowl Ring, it may very well signify the arrival of the next great American gunslinger, a position that recently became vacant with the retirement of the last great gunslinger (Favre). Playing for the Bears + Winning Super Bowl + Playing QB = Hobby Gold.
- 2006 Finest #154 Jay Cutler AU/ 199 RC ($60-$80)
- 2006 Playoff Contenders #152 Jay Cutler AU/ 501 RC ($100-$150)
- 2006 SP Authentic #226 Jay Cutler AU/ 99 RC ($800-$1,000)
Forte isn't the most appealing running back in terms of entertainment value, but none the less, the running back is second to only the quarterback in the world of football cards. Forte's cards crashed after his breakout 2008 rookie season, which means there's room to grow.
- 2008 Playoff Contenders #178 Matt Forte AU RC($50)
- 2008 SP Authentic #298 Matt Forte JSY AU RC($60)
- 2008 Exquisite Collection #152 Matt Forte JSY AU RC($100-$150)
Chicago fans are notorious for supporting Super Bowl winning Bears Defenders. Winning a Super Bowl would also solidify Peppers status as one of his generations finest defensive ends. Julius' 2002 Playoff Contenders RC is already one of the hobby's legendary cards due to it's finite print run of just 40. If you ever see this card in person, buy it, as it's the last time you'll ever see it.
- 2002 SP Authentic #222 Julius Peppers JSY RC ($30)
- 2002 Sweet Spot #163 Julius Peppers AU/ 125 ($100-$150)
- 2002 Playoff Contenders #142 Julius Peppers AU/ 40 RC ($500-$600)
Knox put together a solid 2010 campaign in just his second season in the league. If he were to make a big play or have a big game in either the NFC Championship Game or Super Bowl, his cards would see a substantial boost in value.
- 2009 SP Authentic #315 Johnny Knox AU RC($20-$25)
- 2009 Playoff Contenders #175 Johnny Knox AU RC($20-$25)
- 2009 Playoff National Treasures #160 Johnny Knox AU RC($40)
- 2009 Exquisite Collection #130 Johnny Knox AU RC($50-$60)
Hester is already heralded as the greatest kick returner of all-time, should he return a kick for a touchdown in either the NFC Championship Game or Super Bowl, his cards would definitely see a big time boost in value. Desmond Howard's once did and Hester is a far better player.
- 2006 Playoff Contenders #165 Devin Hester AU RC($40)
- 2006 Bowman Sterling #DHE Devin Hester AU RC($60)
- 2006 Playoff National Treasures #144 Devin Hester JSY AU RC($80)
It seems like just yesterday that Coach McCarthy made the boldest move in NFL history by cutting ties with Favre for the sake of his young pupil. Fast forward to Rodgers third full season as a starting QB and the Cal alum is on the cusp of joining the Brady, Brees, Manning conversation. Out of all the players on the 4 remaining teams, Rodgers cards have the most to gain with a Super Bowl victory.
- 2005 Topps Chrome #190 Aaron Rodgers RC ($30)
- 2005 Finest #151 Aaron Rodgers AU/ 299 RC($200)
- 2005 Playoff Contenders #101 Aaron Rodgers AU/ 530* RC ($400-$450)
- 2005 SP Authentic #252 Aaron Rodgers JSY/ 99/ AU RC ($1,000)
From physically unable to perform to fantastic in a little over a month! With a big performance and a Super Bowl win, Starks cards could wind up in the same class as Mathews, Best and a certain Beastly Buccaneer. Even if the Packers don't capture a ring, Starks cards will be among the hobby's hottest leading up to 2011 NFL Season.
- 2010 Epix Signatures #138 James Starks/ 499($20)
- 2010 Topps Magic Autographs #24 James Starks($25)
- 2010 Topps Platinum Rookie Autographs #8 James Starks($25)
- 2010 Topps Prime Rookie Autographs #PARJST James Starks/ 599($25)
- 2010 Topps Unrivaled Autographed Patch #UAPJS James Starks/ 249($35)
- 2010 Certified Mirror Red Signatures #215 James Starks/ 250($40)
Jennings cards have always struggled to find an identity in the secondary market. Winning a Super Bowl would shine some light on his more than solid career numbers, which would also shine some light on his 2006 rookie cards.
- 2006 SP Authentic #201 Greg Jennings AU RC($30)
- 2006 Playoff Contenders #168 Greg Jennings AU RC($40)
- 2006 Exquisite Collection #79 Greg Jennings AU RC($100)
Matthews is viewed by many as the next great linebacker. A Super Bowl victory could escalate Matthews into the Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher conversation. Matthews cards have already seen a steady boost in value over the course of the 2010 NFL season, winning the big one would turn silver into gold.
- 2009 Playoff Contenders #156 Clay Matthews AU RC($80)
- 2009 SP Authentic #357 Clay Matthews AU/ 299 RC($80)
- 2009 Exquisite Collection #109 Clay Matthews AU RC ($130)
No matter what Woodson does, he will always be viewed as a player who never reached his potential in the pros. Despite winning the 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award, Woodson was one of the 5-10 best defensive players to ever step foot on a college football field during his days as in Ann Arbor. At the same time, a Super Bowl ring might give him the accolades needed to one day enter Canton. Carboard and Canton is a killer combo.
- 1998 SPx Finite #184 Charles Woodson RC($30)
- 1998 SP Authentic #23 Charles Woodson RC($60)
- 1998 Bowman Rookie Autographs #A10 Charles Woodson ($250)
Though Driver has never played at a Hall of Fame level, he has put up respectable numbers and is a fan favorite in Green Bay. Fan favorites are the type of players that can receive a drastic boost in card value with a Super Bowl victory.
- 1999 SkyBox Molten Metal #145 Donald Driver RC ($15)
- 1999 Fleer Focus #118 Donald Driver RC($25)