1971 Topps Football Cards

1971 Topps Football Cards

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1971 Topps Football was the first card set to reflect the merger of the AFL and NFL with the newly aligned AFC/NFC conferences. The set consists of 263 total cards, each measuring the standard 2-1/2 by 3-1/2 inches. The release is laden with rookie cards of Hall of Fame players, most notably Terry Bradshaw (#156) and "Mean" Joe Greene (#245). Joining these two legendary names are rookie cards for Charlie Sanders (#210), Roger Wehrli (#188), Willie Lanier (#114) and Ken Houston (#113). Notable veterans on the checklist include Johnny Unitas (#1), Dick Butkus (#25), Gale Sayers (#150), Bart Starr (#200), Joe Namath (#250), and O.J. Simpson (#260).

1971 Topps Football Design

Most of the player images utilized on the front of the cards follow the standard helmet-less pose, which Topps had used since 1956. However, a few of the cards actually have game-action photography that was then airbrushed to remove logos and team names. Topps did not pay the requisite league licensing fee for use of such elements. The player's name runs along the top of the card. The lower-left corner features a cartoon that indicates the player's position, with the written position and team name also noted. In the lower-right corner, the player's conference is named.

There are three versions of the front design. AFC players have a solid red border, while NFC players use a solid blue border. Finally, the All-Pro players, noted as All-Stars on the cards, are given a border that has both red and blue. 1970 would also mark the first year Topps identified All-Pro players in its set.

The 1971 Topps Football backs are vertically-oriented. A small box contains a card number, and a larger box has the player's position, team, name and vital stats. To the right of that is a cartoon about the player. The rest of the card features a brief biography, along with a list of yearly statistics for most players. This would be the very first time that year-by-year statistics were used on the backs of the football cards.

1971 Topps Football Printing and Distribution

The 1970 Topps Football card set was issued in two separate series. The second series checklist (card #106) was printed with each series. Printed on two printing sheets, cards from the first series are #'s 1-131 and the second series includes card #'s 132-263. The cards were distributed in wax packs, cellos and vending boxes. The traditional wax packs, costing 10 cents, came with eight cards, one game card, one poster and one stick of gum.

1971 Topps Football Inserts and Condition Issues

The aforementioned game cards, inserted at a rate of one per wax pack, were designed to play an actual football game on a table-top. There are 53 total cards in the set. Of those, 52 are player cards and one card is used to mark field position and down. The game cards are just a bit smaller in size than traditional cards, measuring 2-1/4 by 3-1/4 inches with rounded corners. The game board came in the form of the poster back, also inserted at a rate of one per wax pack. Poster backs contain a four-color player image in the foreground against a two-color drawing of football game action scene. When unfolded, the posters measure 4-7/8 by 6-7/8 inches. There are 22 posters in the set.

The brightly-colored, solid borders show wear easily and are difficult to find in top condition. Vintage dealers and veteran hobbyists claim that 1971 Topps Football is the most difficult to assemble in high grade of all the Topps sets from the 1970s and 1980s. In addtion to corner wear, chipping and flaking, the cards often have rough-cut edges and poor centering. As a result, high grade cards command top dollar on the secondary market.

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Key Cards

Key 1971 Topps Football Cards

Terry Bradshaw RC #156

1971 Topps Football Cards 19

Joe Namath #250

1971 Topps Football Cards 20

Joe Greene RC #245

1971 Topps Football Cards 21

Johnny Unitas #1

1971 Topps Football Cards 22

O.J. Simpson #260

1971 Topps Football Cards 23

1971 Topps Football Cards 24

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Set Checklist

1971 Topps Football Checklist

Base Set Checklist

263 cards.

1 John Unitas - Baltimore Colts
2 Jim Butler - Atlanta Falcons
3 Marty Schottenheimer - New England Patriots RC
4 Joe O'Donnell - Buffalo Bills RC
5 Tom Dempsey - New Orleans Saints
6 Chuck Allen - Pittsburgh Steelers
7 Ernie Kellerman - Cleveland Browns
8 Walt Garrison - Dallas Cowboys RC
9 Bill Van Heusen - Denver Broncos RC
10 Lance Alworth - San Diego Chargers
11 Greg Landry - Detroit Lions RC
12 Larry Krause - Green Bay Packers RC
13 Buck Buchanan - Kansas City Chiefs
14 Roy Gerela - Houston Oilers RC
15 Clifton McNeil - New York Giants
16 Bob Brown - Los Angeles Rams
17 Lloyd Mumphord - Miami Dolphins RC
18 Gary Cuozzo - Minnesota Vikings
19 Don Maynard - New York Jets
20 Larry Wilson - St. Louis Cardinals
21 Charlie Smith - Oakland Raiders
22 Ken Avery - Cincinnati Bengals RC
23 Billy Walik - Philadelphia Eagles RC
24 Jim Johnson - San Francisco 49ers
25 Dick Butkus - Chicago Bears
26 Charley Taylor - Washington Redskins
27 Checklist (#1-132)
28 Lionel Aldridge - Green Bay Packers RC
29 Billy Lothridge - Atlanta Falcons
30 Terry Hanratty - Pittsburgh Steelers RC
31 Lee Roy Jordan - Dallas Cowboys
32 Rick Volk - Baltimore Colts RC
33 Howard Kindig - Buffalo Bills
34 Carl Garrett - New England Patriots RC
35 Bobby Bell - Kansas City Chiefs
36 Gene Hickerson - Cleveland Browns
37 Dave Parks - New Orleans Saints
38 Paul Martha - Denver Broncos
39 George Blanda - Oakland Raiders
40 Tom Woodeshick - Philadelphia Eagles
41 Alex Karras - Detroit Lions
42 Rick Redman - San Diego Chargers
43 Zeke Moore - Houston Oilers RC
44 Jack Snow - Los Angeles Rams
45 Larry Csonka - Miami Dolphins
46 Karl Kassulke - Minnesota Vikings RC
47 Jim Hart - St. Louis Cardinals
48 Al Atkinson - New York Jets
49 Horst Muhlmann - Cincinnati Bengals RC
50 Sonny Jurgensen - Washington Redskins
51 Ron Johnson - New York Giants RC
52 Cas Banaszek - San Francisco 49ers RC
53 Bubba Smith - Baltimore Colts
54 Bobby Douglass - Chicago Bears RC
55 Willie Wood - Green Bay Packers
56 Bake Turner - New England Patriots
57 Mike Morgan - New Orleans Saints RC
58 George Byrd - Buffalo Bills
59 Don Horn - Denver Broncos
60 Tommy Nobis - Atlanta Falcons
61 Jan Stenerud - Kansas City Chiefs
62 Altie Taylor - Detroit Lions RC
63 Gary Pettigrew - Philadelphia Eagles RC
64 Spike Jones - Houston Oilers RC
65 Duane Thomas - Dallas Cowboys RC
66 Marty Domres - San Diego Chargers RC
67 Dick Anderson - Miami Dolphins
68 Ken Iman - Los Angeles Rams RC
69 Miller Farr - St. Louis Cardinals
70 Daryle Lamonica - Oakland Raiders
71 Alan Page - Minnesota Vikings
72 Pat Matson - Cincinnati Bengals RC
73 Emerson Boozer - New York Jets
74 Pat Fischer - Washington Redskins
75 Gary Collins - Cleveland Browns
76 John Fuqua - Pittsburgh Steelers RC
77 Bruce Gossett - San Francisco 49ers
78 Ed O'Bradovich - Chicago Bears
79 Bob Tucker - New York Giants RC
80 Mike Curtis - Baltimore Colts
81 Rich Jackson - Denver Broncos
82 Tom Janik - New England Patriots
83 Gale Gillingham - Green Bay Packers
84 Jim Mitchell - Atlanta Falcons RC
85 Charley Johnson - Houston Oilers
86 Edgar Chandler - Buffalo Bills RC
87 Cyril Pinder - Philadelphia Eagles RC
88 Johnny Robinson - Kansas City Chiefs
89 Ralph Neely - Dallas Cowboys
90 Dan Abramowicz - New Orleans Saints
91 Mercury Morris - Miami Dolphins RC
92 Steve DeLong - San Diego Chargers
93 Larry Stallings - St. Louis Cardinals
94 Tom Mack - Los Angeles Rams
95 Hewritt Dixon - Oakland Raiders
96 Fred Cox - Minnesota Vikings
97 Chris Hanburger - Washington Redskins
98 Gerry Philbin - New York Jets
99 Ernie Wright - Cincinnati Bengals
100 John Brodie - San Francisco 49ers
101 Tucker Frederickson - New York Giants
102 Bobby Walden - Pittsburgh Steelers
103 Dick Gordon - Chicago Bears
104 Walter Johnson - Cleveland Browns
105 Mike Lucci - Detroit Lions
106 Checklist (#133-263) -
107 Ron Berger - New England Patriots RC
108 Dan Sullivan - Baltimore Colts RC
109 George Kunz - Atlanta Falcons RC
110 Floyd Little - Denver Broncos
111 Zeke Bratkowski - Green Bay Packers
112 Haven Moses - Buffalo Bills
113 Ken Houston - Houston Oilers RC
114 Willie Lanier - Kansas City Chiefs RC
115 Larry Brown - Washington Redskins
116 Tim Rossovich - Philadelphia Eagles
117 Errol Linden - New Orleans Saints RC
118 Mel Renfro - Dallas Cowboys
119 Mike Garrett - San Diego Chargers
120 Fran Tarkenton - New York Giants
121 Garo Yepremian - Miami Dolphins RC
122 Glen Condren - Atlanta Falcons RC
123 Johnny Roland - St. Louis Cardinals
124 Dave Herman - New York Jets RC
125 Merlin Olsen - Los Angeles Rams
126 Doug Buffone - Chicago Bears
127 Earl McCullouch - Detroit Lions
128 Spider Lockhart - New York Giants
129 Ken Willard - San Francisco 49ers
130 Gene Washington - Minnesota Vikings
131 Mike Phipps - Cleveland Browns RC
132 Andy Russell - Pittsburgh Steelers
133 Ray Nitschke - Green Bay Packers
134 Jerry Logan - Baltimore Colts
135 MacArthur Lane - St. Louis Cardinals RC
136 Jim Turner - Denver Broncos
137 Kent McCloughan - Oakland Raiders
138 Paul Guidry - Buffalo Bills
139 Otis Taylor - Kansas City Chiefs
140 Virgil Carter - Cincinnati Bengals RC
141 Joe Dawkins - Houston Oilers RC
142 Steve Preece - Philadelphia Eagles RC
143 Mike Bragg - Washington Redskins RC
144 Bob Lilly - Dallas Cowboys
145 Joe Kapp - New England Patriots
146 Al Dodd - New Orleans Saints
147 Nick Buoniconti - Miami Dolphins
148 Speedy Duncan - San Diego Chargers
149 Cedrick Hardman - San Francisco 49ers RC
150 Gale Sayers - Chicago Bears
151 Jim Otto - Oakland Raiders
152 Billy Truax - Dallas Cowboys
153 John Elliott - New York Jets
154 Dick LeBeau - Detroit Lions
155 Bill Bergey - Cincinnati Bengals
156 Terry Bradshaw - Pittsburgh Steelers RC
157 Leroy Kelly - Cleveland Browns
158 Paul Krause - Minnesota Vikings
159 Ted Vactor - Washington Redskins
160 Bob Griese - Miami Dolphins
161 Ernie McMillan - St. Louis Cardinals
162 Donny Anderson - Green Bay Packers
163 John Pitts - Buffalo Bills RC
164 Dave Costa - Denver Broncos
165 Gene Washington - San Francisco 49ers
166 John Zook - Atlanta Falcons
167 Pete Gogolak - New York Giants
168 Erich Barnes - Cleveland Browns
169 Alvin Reed - Houston Oilers RC
170 Jim Nance - New England Patriots
171 Craig Morton - Dallas Cowboys
172 Gary Garrison - San Diego Chargers
173 Joe Scarpati - New Orleans Saints
174 Adrian Young - Philadelphia Eagles RC
175 John Mackey - Baltimore Colts
176 Mac Percival - Chicago Bears
177 Preston Pearson - Pittsburgh Steelers RC
178 Fred Biletnikoff - Oakland Raiders
179 Mike Battle - New York Jets RC
180 Len Dawson - Kansas City Chiefs
181 Les Josephson - Los Angeles Rams
182 Royce Berry - Cincinnati Bengals
183 Herman Weaver - Detroit Lions RC
184 Norm Snead - Minnesota Vikings
185 Sam Brunelli - Denver Broncos
186 Jim Kiick - Miami Dolphins
187 Austin Denney - Buffalo Bills RC
188 Roger Wehrli - St. Louis Cardinals RC
189 Dave Wilcox - San Francisco 49ers
190 Bob Hayes - Dallas Cowboys
191 Joe Morrison - New York Giants
192 Manny Sistrunk - Washington Redskins RC
193 Don Cockroft - Cleveland Browns RC
194 Lee Bouggess - Philadelphia Eagles RC
195 Bob Berry - Atlanta Falcons
196 Ron Sellers - New England Patriots RC
197 George Webster - Houston Oilers
198 Hoyle Granger - New Orleans Saints
199 Bob Vogel - Baltimore Colts
200 Bart Starr - Green Bay Packers
201 Mike Mercer - San Diego Chargers
202 Dave Smith - Pittsburgh Steelers RC
203 Lee Roy Caffey - Chicago Bears
204 Mick Tingelhoff - Minnesota Vikings
205 Matt Snell - New York Jets
206 Jim Tyrer - Kansas City Chiefs
207 Willie Brown - Oakland Raiders
208 Bob Johnson - Cincinnati Bengals RC
209 Deacon Jones - Los Angeles Rams
210 Charlie Sanders - Detroit Lions RC
211 Jake Scott - Miami Dolphins RC
212 Bob Anderson - Denver Broncos RC
213 Charlie Krueger - San Francisco 49ers
214 Jim Bakken - St. Louis Cardinals
215 Harold Jackson - Philadelphia Eagles
216 Bill Brundige - Washington Redskins RC
217 Calvin Hill - Dallas Cowboys
218 Claude Humphrey - Atlanta Falcons
219 Glen Ray Hines - Houston Oilers
220 Bill Nelsen - Cleveland Browns
221 Roy Hilton - Baltimore Colts
222 Don Herrmann - New York Giants
223 John Bramlett - New England Patriots
224 Ken Ellis - Green Bay Packers RC
225 Dave Osborn - Minnesota Vikings
226 Edd Hargett - New Orleans Saints RC
227 Gene Mingo - Pittsburgh Steelers
228 Larry Grantham - New York Jets
229 Dick Post - San Diego Chargers
230 Roman Gabriel - Los Angeles Rams
231 Mike Eischeid - Oakland Raiders RC
232 Jim Lynch - Kansas City Chiefs
233 Lemar Parrish - Cincinnati Bengals RC
234 Cecil Turner - Chicago Bears RC
235 Dennis Shaw - Buffalo Bills RC
236 Mel Farr - Detroit Lions
237 Curt Knight - Washington Redskins RC
238 Chuck Howley - Dallas Cowboys
239 Bruce Taylor - San Francisco 49ers RC
240 Jerry LeVias - Houston Oilers
241 Bob Lurtsema - New York Giants
242 Earl Morrall - Baltimore Colts
243 Kermit Alexander - Los Angeles Rams
244 Jackie Smith - St. Louis Cardinals
245 Joe Greene - Pittsburgh Steelers RC
246 Harmon Wages - Atlanta Falcons
247 Errol Mann - Detroit Lions RC
248 Mike McCoy - Green Bay Packers RC
249 Milt Morin - Cleveland Browns RC
250 Joe Namath - New York Jets
251 Jackie Burkett - New Orleans Saints RC
252 Steve Chomyszak - Cincinnati Bengals RC
253 Ed Sharockman - Minnesota Vikings
254 Robert Holmes - Kansas City Chiefs RC
255 John Hadl - San Diego Chargers
256 Cornell Gordon - Denver Broncos
257 Mark Moseley - Philadelphia Eagles RC
258 Gus Otto - Oakland Raiders
259 Mike Taliaferro - New England Patriots
260 O.J. Simpson - Buffalo Bills
261 Paul Warfield - Miami Dolphins
262 Jack Concannon - Chicago Bears
263 Tom Matte - Baltimore Colts

 

Game Inserts Set Checklist

52 cards and Field Marker header card.

1 Dick Butkus - Chicago Bears
2 Bob Berry - Atlanta Falcons
3 Joe Namath - New York Jets
4 Mike Curtis - Baltimore Colts
5 Jim Nance - New England Patriots
6 Ron Berger - New England Patriots
7 O.J. Simpson - Buffalo Bills
8 Haven Moses - Buffalo Bills
9 Tommy Nobis - Atlanta Falcons
10 Gale Sayers - Chicago Bears
11 Virgil Carter - Cincinnati Bengals
12 Andy Russell - Pittsburgh Steelers
13 Bill Nelsen - Cleveland Browns
14 Gary Collins - Cleveland Browns
15 Duane Thomas - Dallas Cowboys
16 Bob Hayes - Dallas Cowboys
17 Floyd Little - Denver Broncos
18 Sam Brunelli - Denver Broncos
19 Charlie Sanders - Detroit Lions
20 Mike Lucci - Detroit Lions
21 Gene Washington - San Francisco 49ers
22 Willie Wood - Green Bay Packers
23 Jerry LeVias - Houston Oilers
24 Charlie Johnson - Houston Oilers
25 Len Dawson - Kansas City Chiefs
26 Bobby Bell - Kansas City Chiefs
27 Merlin Olsen - Los Angeles Rams
28 Roman Gabriel - Los Angeles Rams
29 Bob Griese - Miami Dolphins
30 Larry Csonka - Miami Dolphins
31 Dave Osborn - Minnesota Vikings
32 Gene Washington - Minnesota Vikings
33 Dan Abramowicz - New Orleans Saints
34 Tom Dempsey - New Orleans Saints
35 Fran Tarkenton - New York Giants
36 Clifton McNeil - New York Giants
37 John Unitas - Baltimore Colts
38 Matt Snell - New York Jets
39 Daryle Lamonica - Oakland Raiders
40 Hewritt Dixon - Oakland Raiders
41 Tom Woodeshick - Philadelphia Eagles
42 Harold Jackson - Philadelphia Eagles
43 Terry Bradshaw - Pittsburgh Steelers
44 Ken Avery - Cincinnati Bengals
45 MacArthur Lane - St. Louis Cardinals
46 Larry Wilson - St. Louis Cardinals
47 John Hadl - San Diego Chargers
48 Lance Alworth - San Diego Chargers
49 John Brodie - San Francisco 49ers
50 Bart Starr - Green Bay Packers
51 Sonny Jurgensen - Washington Redskins
52 Larry Brown - Washington Redskins
Field Marker

 

Posters Set Checklist

32 cards.
PARALLEL CARDS: Glossy.

1 Gene Washington - San Francisco 49ers
2 Andy Russell - Pittsburgh Steelers
3 Harold Jackson - Philadelphia Eagles
4 Joe Namath - New York Jets
5 Fran Tarkenton - New York Giants
6 Dave Osborn - Minnesota Vikings
7 Bob Griese - Miami Dolphins
8 Roman Gabriel - Los Angeles Rams
9 Jerry LeVias - Houston Oilers
10 Bart Starr - Green Bay Packers
11 Bob Hayes - Dallas Cowboys
12 Gale Sayers - Chicago Bears
13 O.J. Simpson - Buffalo Bills
14 Sam Brunelli - Denver Broncos
15 Jim Nance - New England Patriots
16 Bill Nelsen - Cleveland Browns
17 Sonny Jurgensen - Washington Redskins
18 John Brodie - San Francisco 49ers
19 Lance Alworth - Dallas Cowboys
20 Larry Wilson - St. Louis Cardinals
21 Daryle Lamonica - Oakland Raiders
22 Dan Abramowicz - New Orleans Saints
23 Gene Washington - Minnesota Vikings
24 Bobby Bell - Kansas City Chiefs
25 Merlin Olsen - Los Angeles Rams
26 Charlie Sanders - Detroit Lions
27 Virgil Carter - Cincinnati Bengals
28 Dick Butkus - Chicago Bears
29 Johnny Unitas - Baltimore Colts
30 Tommy Nobis - Atlanta Falcons
31 Floyd Little - Denver Broncos
32 Larry Brown - Washington Redskins

 


Author Rob Bertrand  |  E-Mail Author
Rob is a former member of The Cardboard Connection Writing Staff and co-host of Cardboard Connection Radio.He is an avid collector with over 20 years of active experience in the hobby.

User Reviews

  1. Author

    love it all the old stars and great colorful design for the period

  2. Author

    a 5 for the 1970 checklist I found…and a 5 if I can get the rest of the 70s if not then not so high

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