Led by rookie cards for Emmitt Smith, Junior Seau and Cortez Kennedy, 1990 Score Football is a great example of the designs and overproduction of the hobby at that time.
1990-1999 Football Cards
Like baseball cards, the 1990s Football Cards saw some significant changes. The NFL was on its way to supplanting the MLB as the most popular sport in the United States, but cards were still adjusting to the decade. The relative wasteland of the early 1990s gave way to the autograph-fueled late 1990s. New brands emerged that captivated collectors with new additions and this in turn priced out many of the younger fans. The late 1990s ended on a roll with brands like SP Authentic and Playoff Contenders.
A new decade also brought a new crop of players for collectors to pursue. While they don’t carry the same clout as the 1980s rookie class, two quarterbacks anchor the decade and help carry the card industry for 1990s football cards. Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Brett Favre are among the top options for rookie card collectors. Other big-name rookies from the 1990s include Emmitt Smith, Randy Moss, Kurt Warner, Ray Lewis, Jerome Bettis, and Charles Woodson.
Featured 1990s Football Cards Guides
- Top 1990s Football Rookie Cards
- Why Most Sports Cards from the Late 1980s and Early 1990s Are Nearly Worthless
1990s Football Card Sets
Explore our database of 1990s Football Card Set Information. Each product profile features set checklists, product info, expert analysis, boxes for sale, and deals on singles. Browse football cards produced during 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999.
1991 Pro Line Portraits Football is notable for several reasons, most notably its photography, cards of players’ wives and extensive autograph checklist.
1991 Stadium Club is considered one of the landmark releases of the early-90s. Featuring a premium design, the set has the top Brett Favre rookie card.
1991 Upper Deck Football marked the company’s gridiron debut. Like it did in other sports, the set helped usher in a new era of premium products and designs. Rookies include Brett Favre while the chase has autographs of Joe Montana and Joe Namath.
Although the 700-card base set is largely inexpensive, 1992 Stadium Club Football is led by the second-year card for Brett Favre which maintains strong values.
1993 SP Football saw Upper Deck once again push the limits of a premium set. Rookies include Jerome Bettis, Drew Bledsoe, Mark Brunell and Willie Roaf.
For its sophomore effort, 1994 SP Football continued to push the super premium limits of the day. Highlights include the Marshall Faulk rookie card and All-Pro Holoview inserts.
Headlined by the Refractor debut for NFL collectors, 1994 Topps Finest Football is a simple release that features a memorable base design and a good mix of top talent in the checklist.
1995 SP Football was considered high-end at the time. Although it’s still gorgeous, it arrived when the hobby was about to transition into a new era of autographs and rarity. Key rookies include Terrell Davis and Curtis Martin.
Atomic Refractors and a deep rookie class makes 1996 Bowman’s Best Football popular with collectors many years later. Top rookie card options include Ray Lewis, Marvin Harrison, Eddie George, Terrell Owens and more.
Featuring several top rookie cards, the condition-sensitive 1997 SP Authentic Football set commands strong value and interest. The key rookies include current and future Hall of Fame inductees Walter Jones, Orlando Pace and Tony Gonzalez.
Headlined by a strong checklist of Hall of Fame autographs, 1997 Upper Deck Legends Football is one of the greatest modern sets of all-time. The on-card signatures and appealing design have made it a hobby favorite.
Led by the Peyton Manning rookie card, 1998 SP Authentic Football is one of the most popular sets of the late-90s. Other rookies include Randy Moss and Ahman Green. Autographs fall one per hobby box.
Every card in 1999 Collector’s Edge Masters Football is serial numbered, something that was still somewhat novel at the time. Rookies include Kurt Warner and Edgerrin James.