1981 Topps Football Cards

1981 Topps Football Cards

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Once again, Topps issued a 528-card football set in 1981, with airbrush work obscuring the team logos. At the same time, the company used most of the same subsets and gimmick they'd been using for years. However, there was a return to In Action cards that had been last issued as part of the 1972 set, and a very iconic rookie card that has given the entire set a lift over the years.

Card fronts feature a player photo, with a banner-shaped icon below. The part of the banner stretching out from the flagpole names the player's team, and his name appears after the fold. His position is listed in the space below the team name. For the first time ever, Topps used its logo on the front of a football card; it appears in the upper right corner. The banner theme is continued on the back, with the player's name and position as well as the card number inside various folds across the top. A list of vital stats, year-by-year career statistics (for most players) and a biography fill out most of the back, with a cartoon about the player off to the left.

Players who were named to the previous year's All-Pro team are given a black stripe across the bottom of their photos. For the third straight year, each team checklist card features offensive and defensive statistical leaders from the previous season on the front. The team checklists and five regular checklist cards are seeded throughout the set. Cards #1-6 feature the 1980 conference leaders in several statistical categories, cards #331-336 feature individual highlights from the season and cards #492-494 recap the conference championships and the Super Bowl. One new subset called Super Action appears that shows several top players in game-action shots. Oddly, the Super Action cards are seeded throughout the set, rather than following that player's base card numerically.

The key card is Joe Montana's rookie card. His presence gives the entire set a boost that the 1978-'80 football sets were lacking. Other notable rookies include Art Monk, Dwight Clark, Dan Hampton, Billy Sims and Kellen Winslow.

Key 1981 Topps Football Cards:

1981 Topps Football Cards 1

1981 Topps Football Cards 2

Set Checklist

1981 Topps Football Card Checklist



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1981 Topps Football Cards 24
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1981 Topps Football Cards 25
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1981 Topps Football Cards 26
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1981 Topps Football Cards 27
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1981 Topps Football Cards 28
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1981 Topps Football Cards 29
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1981 Topps Football Cards 30
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1981 Topps Football Cards 31
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1981 Topps Football Cards 32
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1981 Topps Football Cards 33
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1981 Topps Football Cards 34
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1981 Topps Football Cards 35
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1981 Topps Football Cards 36
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1981 Topps Football Cards 37
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1981 Topps Football Cards 38
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1981 Topps Football Cards 39
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1981 Topps Football Cards 40
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1981 Topps Football Cards 41
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1981 Topps Football Cards 42
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1981 Topps Football Cards 43
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1981 Topps Football Cards 44
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1981 Topps Football Cards 45
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1981 Topps Football Cards 46
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1981 Topps Football Cards 47
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1981 Topps Football Cards 48
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1981 Topps Football Cards 49
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1981 Topps Football Cards 50
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1981 Topps Football Cards 51
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1981 Topps Football Cards 52
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1981 Topps Football Cards 53
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1981 Topps Football Cards 54
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1981 Topps Football Cards 55
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1981 Topps Football Cards 56
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1981 Topps Football Cards 57
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1981 Topps Football Cards 58
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1981 Topps Football Cards 59
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1981 Topps Football Cards 60
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1981 Topps Football Cards 61
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1981 Topps Football Cards 62
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1981 Topps Football Cards 63
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1981 Topps Football Cards 64
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1981 Topps Football Cards 65
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1981 Topps Football Cards 66
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1981 Topps Football Cards 67
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1981 Topps Football Cards 68
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1981 Topps Football Cards 69
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1981 Topps Football Cards 70
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1981 Topps Football Cards 79
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1981 Topps Football Cards 80
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1981 Topps Football Cards 81
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1981 Topps Football Cards 84
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1981 Topps Football Cards 85
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1981 Topps Football Cards 86
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1981 Topps Football Cards 88
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1981 Topps Football Cards 89
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1981 Topps Football Cards 90
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1981 Topps Football Cards 91
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1981 Topps Football Cards 92
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1981 Topps Football Cards 95
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1981 Topps Football Cards 96
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1981 Topps Football Cards 97
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1981 Topps Football Cards 99
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1981 Topps Football Cards 100
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1981 Topps Football Cards 101
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1981 Topps Football Cards 102
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1981 Topps Football Cards 103
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1981 Topps Football Cards 104
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1981 Topps Football Cards 105
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1981 Topps Football Cards 106
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1981 Topps Football Cards 107
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1981 Topps Football Cards 108
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1981 Topps Football Cards 109
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1981 Topps Football Cards 110
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1981 Topps Football Cards 111
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1981 Topps Football Cards 112
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1981 Topps Football Cards 116
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1981 Topps Football Cards 117
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1981 Topps Football Cards 118
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1981 Topps Football Cards 119
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1981 Topps Football Cards 120
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1981 Topps Football Cards 121
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1981 Topps Football Cards 122
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1981 Topps Football Cards 123
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Chris Stufflestreet
Chris is an avid vintage sports card collector who is The Cardboard Connection's resident expert of all things vintage.

User Reviews

  1. Very good, but three players need to have the ‘All-Pro’ banner on their card:

    1. #90 Donnie Shell – S Steelers
    2. #320 Manu Tuiasosopo DT Seahawks
    3. #440 Ed Murray K Lions

    Using ‘Topps logic,’ these three players have card numbers which are multiples of 10, and both AFC and NFL will have each of the 24 offensive and defensive positions ‘accounted for’ thus.

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