1980-1989 Football Cards

1980s football was the site of a massive leap forward for the NFL. The league was starting to distance itself from a reputation of unnecessary violence and offenses were evolving into more sophisticated units. The NFL also received some competition from the upstart USFL, who even managed to steal a few high-profile players during their brief existence. Collectors are now left with a decade full of great cards and rookie options from both the NFL and USFL. Some of the most iconic players in NFL history have rookie cards during this period. Once again, Topps had a stranglehold on the decade. A few other brands were intermittently available as well, including Fleer, Pro Set, and the very popular, 1989 Score.

With so many great rookie options, collectors would be hard-pressed to identify the best un-biased choice from the 1980s. However, it is likely found in a prominent grouping that includes John Elway, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, Troy Aikman, and Steve Young (USFL). The decade also features popular rookie cards from Reggie White, Jim Kelly (USFL), Bo Jackson, Herschel Walker (USFL), Bruce Smith, Lawrence Taylor, Eric Dickerson, Ronnie Lott, and Warren Moon.

Featured Guides:

1980s Football Card Set Info, Price Comparisons and More. Browse Football Cards from 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1989.

1980 Topps Football Cards

1980 Topps Football Cards

1980 Topps Football Card Price Comparisons, Set Details, Checklist, Auction Tracker and Buying Guide.

1981 Topps Football Cards

1981 Topps Football Cards

1981 Topps Football Card Price Comparisons, Set Details, Checklist, Auction Tracker and Buying Guide.

1982 Topps Football Cards

1982 Topps Football Cards

1982 Topps Football Card Price Comparisons, Set Details, Checklist, Auction Tracker and Buying Guide.

1983 Topps Football Cards

1983 Topps Football Cards

1983 Topps Football Card Price Comparisons, Set Details, Checklist, Auction Tracker and Buying Guide.

1984 Topps Football Cards

1984 Topps Football Cards

Regarded as one of the best sets of 1980s football cards, 1984 Topps Football includes rookie cards of Dan Marino, John Elway, Eric Dickerson and more.

1984 Topps USFL Football Cards

1984 Topps USFL Football Cards

A 1980s football card classic, 1984 Topps USFL Football includes the first major cards of Steve Young, Jim Kelly, Reggie White and Herschel Walker.

1985 Topps Football Cards

1985 Topps Football Cards

Featuring bold black borders, 1985 Topps Football is highlighted by the Warren Moon rookie card. The set also has second-year cards of John Elway and Dan Marino.

1986 Topps Football Cards

1986 Topps Football Cards

There’s no mistaking the green borders of 1986 Topps Football. Even more impressive is the checklist, which includes the Jerry Rice rookie card and the first NFL cards of Steve Young and Reggie White.

1987 Topps Football Cards

1987 Topps Football Cards

Although not terribly rare, 1987 Topps Football features a clean design and a solid checklist. Highlights include the first NFL cards of Jim Kelly and Doug Flutie.

1988 Topps Football Cards

1988 Topps Football Cards

With a decent veteran checklist and the rookie card for Bo Jackson, 1988 Topps Football is a solid product despite the overproduction. Additional highlights include Dan Marino, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, as well as the rookie cards for Vinny Testaverde and Chris Doleman.

1989 Score Football Cards

1989 Score Football Cards

Loaded with rookies, 1989 Score Football is one of the few Junk Wax Era sets to hold strong on the secondary market. Barry Sanders, Troy Aikman and Deion Sanders are among the rookie cards in the set.

1989 Topps Football Cards

1989 Topps Football Cards

Although it’s missing Barry Sanders and Troy AIkman, 1989 Topps Football still has a strong lineup of rookie cards. Printed in large quantities, the set remains extremely cheap.

1989 Topps Traded Football Cards

1989 Topps Traded Football Cards

It might not be worth a lot but 1989 Topps Traded Football includes attractive rookie cards of a handful of Hall of Famers including Barry Sanders and Troy Aikman.