In 1973, Topps released the largest football card set ever issued, at 528 cards. At the same time, the company dropped the practice of issuing cards in series and printed them all at once. At the same time, there was a reliance on more game-actions and sideline shots, even though the team logos then needed to be painted over.
Card fronts feature a player picture inside a thick black line that serves as a frame. A two-colored ribbon icon runs down the left side, appearing to slip behind the photo. The player's name appears at the top of the card, while his position and team name are below the photo. The first name and team name match the color of the left side of the ribbon, and each team has its own color scheme throughout the set. Card backs are vertically oriented and printed in red, white and blue. A football helmet icon contains the card number, while the player's name is inside a blue stripe that stretches along the top. His team, position and vital stats appear just under the stripe. There is a short biography, with a reversion to the year/life statistics box for most players. A trivia cartoon appears at the bottom.
There are a number of subsets. Cards #1-6 list the leaders in each conference for a variety of 1972 statistics. A recap of the '72 postseason takes up cards #133-139. Finally three cards (#265-267) show boyhood photos of then-current players.
With such a large set, Topps was able to feature a lot more players that they ever were able to fit inside its sets. As a result, nearly a third of the players are being shown for the very first time. Key rookie cards include Franco Harris, Jack Youngblood, Jack Ham, Art Shell, Ken Stabler, Dan Dierdorf, Jim Langer and Bob Brown.