For the new decade, Topps carried on with its regular pattern of football cards: a minimalist but uninspired design, a 528-card set and airbrushed logos. While the 1980 set definitely looks like a football issue, the lackluster photography and few rookie stars haven't helped it over the years.
Overall, the design may otherwise be considered nice, as the player pictures are nice and large, with little to clutter it. Below the photo is a marquee sign in front of a football-shaped icon. The solid-colored rounded middle strip features the player's name. His team name is listed at the top of the football and his position inside the bottom part. The picture is framed by a solid line and a white border surrounds the card. A stripe at the top of the back identifies the player and his position. The card number appears below the name, with vital stats running to the right. The rest of the card is broken into two parts. At the left - inside a graphic football - is a cartoon that concerns the team of the player featured on the card. A Topps logo appears above the football and the players' union logo appears at the bottom. The right side features a list of year-by-year career statistics for most players, with a biography filling in the blank area.
Players who made the All-Pro team have a black strip added to the top of their cards. Each team has a checklist card that features its offensive and defensive statistical leaders for 1979 on the front. Those cards and five regular checklist cards are scattered throughout the set. Cards #1-6 recap the highlights of the previous season. Cards #331-336 feature the 1979 statistical leaders in each conference, while #492-494 review the conference championship games and the Super Bowl.
There is a smaller than normal number of rookie stars featured in the set. Phil Simms is the most widely collected, but Clay Matthews and Ottis Anderson are also included.