He was known as “Captain Comeback” or “Roger the Dodger” on the field. His legs were weapons just as much as the cannon on his right shoulder. Even with a lead, opposing teams knew that victory was anything but certain when the ball was in his hands and the game on the line. (Cue the tape of his iconic “Hail Mary” pass.) His playing style paved the way for improvisational, strong-armed quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers.
If you guessed “The Most Interesting Man in the World,” you weren’t far off.
Roger Staubach is among the game’s all-time elite. Though his professional football career didn’t begin until age 27 due to obligations with the Navy, Staubach is still considered one of the legends of the game. And he has the stats to boot, including 22,700 career passing yards, a career passer rating of 83.4 and two beautiful cherries on top in the form of dual Super Bowl rings. This career Cowboy was such a force from 1972-1979, he carved out a no-doubt Hall of Fame bid during his abbreviated NFL stint.
As you may have already guessed, key cards featuring such a gridiron great tend to cost a premium. So, we’re trying something different here. Considering that his 1972 Topps rookie card last sold for an eye-popping $22,161 in PSA GEM-MT 10, we’re featuring four more affordable PSA MINT 9 issues from Staubach’s eight-card Basic Set to stay within the theme of this column. And when it comes time to pick up that aforementioned key rookie, know that you can add a PSA NM 7 to your collection for right around $275.
And here we go… no need to toss a 60-yard prayer and hope for the best. These cards won’t take a Hail Mary to land.
1973 Topps #475
- PSA Population: 115 PSA MINT 9
- Average Cost for PSA 9: $230
In 1973, Topps released the largest football set ever issued at the time, with 528 cards to track down (a whopping 50 percent larger than the set’s predecessor). Among a strong crop of rookies and Hall of Famers, Staubach’s sophomore issue is a key card of the set. Poor centering, print defects and fickle card stock all ensure a tough grade. That means tracking down PSA 9 and 10 examples is not easy. In fact, just one example has been graded PSA 10.
The visual pop of this nostalgic Staubach card seems to resonate with collectors.
Gotta go with 73 since that is my birth year set!! The colors look great!!
— Rob B (@rob0822) August 21, 2019
Love the 1973
— NJSENSASIAN’S CARDS AKA #THEmemeMACHINE (@NJSensasian) August 21, 2019
1975 Topps #145
- PSA Population: 289 PSA MINT 9
- Average Cost for PSA 9: $45
Next, we have a PSA 9 example of Staubach’s 1975 Topps issue. With its simple design and a shot of the helmetless signal-caller posed to launch a pass, 1975 Topps is a popular, accessible issue among collectors. You’ll also notice it has one of the larger populations of the set, with 289 PSA 9s out of 1,227 total submissions, and counting. Still, condition issues like print defects and centering can be tough on this mid-70s trading card.
Many collectors can’t pass up the 1975 Topps issue, in all of its elbow-bandaged, flowing hair glory.
75 – ELBOW BAND AID!
— Fazzer (@FazzerLV) August 21, 2019
Classic design aside, there really is something subtly badass about the card…
The 75. A little more nostalgic and the bandage on his elbow is subtle badassery
— Matthew Berry (@TheFeralPro) August 22, 2019
1976 Topps #395
- PSA Population: 182 PSA MINT 9
- Average Cost for PSA 9: $75
Another Staubach issue, another helmetless hero posing with football at the ready. Keeping with the pink-and-green theme of early Captain Comeback cards, 1976 Topps features the extravagant color scheme for the last year. And in a set that includes Walter Payton’s rookie card, this colorful Staubach issue is no slouch. Left-to-right centering presents the biggest condition obstacle.
The crazy color scheme is hard to miss, and a reason 1976 Topps stands out for some collectors.
The blue background in the 76 Topps always stood out to me!
— Matt Mamba (@MattMamba24) August 21, 2019
76. Prefer the overall layout of the card and action photo
— Robert Howell (@iluvfish2) August 21, 2019
1979 Topps #400
- PSA Population: 208 PSA MINT 9
- Average Cost for PSA 9: $40
Finally, Staubach is pictured wearing a helmet and looking as if he’s actually playing on the field. Although lacking the vibrant color scheme of past issues, this card still stands out as Staubach’s last card as an active player, not to mention it offers a rare action shot of the Dallas hero. There are a lot of positives at play for his 1979 Topps card, but most importantly, it’s an affordable card in higher grade. For a mere $40, a PSA 9 can be all yours.
The helmet-on, all-business feel of 1979 Topps really does speak volumes.
1979 Topps. It’s his last Topps card during his playing career and he has on that classic two bar helmet!
— Adam Price (@apriceins) August 21, 2019
In switching things up a bit, we took four of the more affordable cards from Staubach’s eight-card set, all in PSA 9s, just to get you started with your collection. What we’re left with is an assortment of early cards of the Dallas Deity for just around $390.
Roger the Dodger is one of the most celebrated signal callers in the history of the game, and these four cards will get you well on your way to completing the Staubach Basic Set, and all without putting a major dent on your hobby piggybank. Why not suit up, head to the Set Registry and give the set a shot?Start Your Set Today