For four seasons, Terrell Davis' running attack was stronger than nearly all other running backs in NFL history, making Terrell Davis cards a hot commodity. After several years in limbo, Hall of Fame voters have officially agreed with Davis' Canton aspirations. Debuting with the Denver Broncos in 1995, this is where the rookies, and many of the key Terrell Davis football cards, are found.
While Davis began his college career at Long Beach State, once the football program was eliminated he transferred to the University of Georgia. The Denver Broncos drafted him in the 6th round and Davis worked his way to the top of the depth chart to be the starter during his rookie year. In his first four injury-free seasons, Davis scored 56 touchdowns, solidifying his nickname of "T.D." Along the way, Davis and John Elway helped propel the Broncos to back-to-back victories in Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII. Much like legendary running back Gale Sayers, Davis was cut down in his prime with injuries, yet those first years were so strong they still earned Davis a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Although several signed cards are covered below, notable Terrell Davis combination autographs for Broncos fans include teammate Shannon Sharpe in 2016 Panini Rookies and Stars. In 2011 Panini Playbook, Davis is featured in an impressive six-piece autograph card featuring former Broncos QBs John Elway and Tim Tebow. The 2016 Panini Prime Signatures set sees Davis share a card with one of his Super Bowl XXXII adversaries, Green Bay Packers receiver Antonio Freeman.
In addition, two other rushers whose careers were also prematurely ended—Jim Brown and Bo Jackson—share dual autograph cards with the Broncos great. Davis and Brown are part of the Passing the Torch autograph set in 1999 Donruss Elite, and 2013 Topps Museum has T.D. teamed with Bo on a dual auto card. The Davis/Jackson duo also has jersey relic cards in 2014 SPx's Winning Materials Combos insert which features both players in their college uniforms.
As Davis began his career before rookie autographs and limited-edition parallels would become the standard for collecting, fans looking to start a Terrell Davis card collection should zero in on high-grades of his earliest cards. In placing each card on the list, value was used as the main component along with the design and availability on the secondary market.
Top 10 Terrell Davis Football Cards
Click on the card titles or images to shop for specific cards on eBay. Linked sets in the descriptions go straight to product profiles.
Some of the more unique football cards ever made were the leather cards found in 1996 Playoff Contenders. The set was one of the most expensive products at the time and each of the $6.99 packs included three cards, one of which was printed on leather and gold stamped as "Genuine Leather 1996." Player photos are accented with motion lines to convey movement and the reverse side features a large player portrait with no statistical information. Davis has several different cards in the set.
With several budget-friendly options, Signature Rookies offers collectors early Terrell Davis autographs featuring the Georgia Bulldogs. The version below has listed print runs of 7,750 or 2,750 copies. Although Davis wasn't a poor college player, his performance at Georgia certainly didn't foreshadow the success he would have at running back for the Broncos. His best season came in 1993 when he ran for 824 yards and totaled eight touchdowns.
Upper Deck issued 1995 SP Championship as a retail edition of the SP brand and the set features a foil Terrell Davis rookie card that is very easy on the wallet. The set was released about halfway through the 1995 season and the write-up mentions that Davis became the lowest drafted player to ever rush for more than 1,000 yards in their rookie season. The single parallel version is a die-cut edition that trims a little bit off the top two corners of the card.
A rather unique Terrell Davis rookie card comes in the 1995 Action Packed Rookies & Stars set. It features slightly raised cardboard around his face, jersey, and helmet, which gives the card a three-dimensional effect as you run your hand over it. The selection of a portrait photograph with Davis sporting a broad smile is also not the norm since in-game action images are much more common for TD. The Stargazer parallel of his RC is very similar with the key difference being a gold "Star-Gazers" stamp on the back.
1997 Collector's Edge Excalibur was certainly an original as the base cards feature a player photo with a foil dragon on the card edges. Once it became clear that the high-priced medieval design wasn't that big with fans, a non-foil version was issued. However, one segment of the set remains popular and that is the robust checklist that features early autographs and game helmet relics for many stars, including Davis. When compared to the autograph pens used on today's cards, some players, like Davis below, signed with a wider pen. Each autograph is also hand-numbered on the front of the card.
A tiny, 50-card add-on to the standard Collector's Edge set, 1995 Collector's Edge Instant Replay is similar to the traded sets in baseball. Instant Replay is fondly remembered by collectors for the beautiful Prism holofoil parallel that averaged 1:2 packs. The update set replaced a Pop Warner insert and the back of the card reminds kids that staying in school, not doing drugs, and eating vegetables are the keys to success.
Rarely is an entire set based around an insert but that is the story of Pacific Crown Royale, which grew from the die-cut inserts found in the standard Pacific sets. Collectors can find Davis on his intricately cut foil card along with two parallel versions featuring Copper and, the more rare, Blue Holofoil. A few lucky pack rippers could even pull cards that awarded them a trip to Super Bowl XXX.
With the limited nature for many of the early Terrell Davis autographs, collectors may want to turn their attention to more recent releases, specifically cards honoring his amazing Super Bowl success. Terrell Davis was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXII and added another strong performance in Super Bowl XXXIII. To celebrate this, Panini issued a Davis autograph in the Super Bowl Signatures insert that was sprinkled throughout their football releases in 2015.
Pinnacle produced the first Select Certified Edition set in 1995 and the standard base card featured a glass-like color photo with a black and gray background. The set's one parallel was given the title of Mirror Gold and the background features a warm golden glow instead of the standard darker one. Davis is wearing the mostly orange and white Broncos uniform that the team had used since the 1980s. The uniform would be completely redesigned for the 1997 season and the Broncos would quickly end their Super Bowl drought by winning titles in 1997 and 1998.
The SP Football sets by Upper Deck were considered the top football releases of the 1990s by many collectors and '95 is no different. In 1995 SP, the elite rookies were placed at the top of the base checklist (#1-#20) as part of the Premier Prospects subset. However, being a 6th-round draft pick, Davis was instead included much later in the set with the main design. Nevertheless, he would become one of the top rookies in the product along with Curtis Martin. Highly-graded versions of this card can top $60 at auction.