In this new, ongoing series, we explore various sets on the PSA Set Registry, featuring the trading cards of iconic athletes. Select cards will be highlighted and the requirements of each set will be included.
Anybody born after 1990 may not know anything about football TV analyst Terry Bradshaw outside of his co-hosting gig on Fox NFL Sunday. But the lovable, grandfatherly type to Howie Long, James Brown, Michael Strahan and Jimmy Johnson was once one of the NFL’s most successful quarterbacks. In fact, in the 1970s, Bradshaw led the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl titles.
He didn’t have a cool nickname like Joe Namath. Nor did he have the passing accuracy of either Roger Staubach or Joe Montana. But what he did have was a tireless work ethic and an uncanny knack for pulling out victories with the clock winding down. And he went 4-for-4 in four Super Bowl appearances, so Bradshaw knew how to win on football’s biggest stage.
Drafted No. 1 overall by the Steelers out of Louisiana Tech in the 1970 NFL Draft, he quickly turned his new team into perennial contenders. In just his third season behind center, he steered the Steelers to the AFC Central Division title with an 11-3 record. He also played an instrumental role in one of the NFL’s most-talked-about catches in history: the “Immaculate Reception,” which took place during their first playoff game of the ’72 season.
Trailing the Oakland Raiders, 7-6, with 22 seconds left, the Steelers found themselves at fourth-and-10 from their own 40-yard line. Bradshaw, under immense pressure, threw a 25-yard, line drive over the middle to halfback Frenchy Fuqua. As the ball arrived, so did Raiders safety Jack Tatum who knocked the ball backwards toward the line of scrimmage. As the ball made its way toward the turf at Three Rivers Stadium, Steelers fullback Franco Harris bent down on the run and snared it just before it hit the ground. He caught it and made it all the way to the end zone with just seconds remaining. Pittsburgh kicker Roy Gerela nailed the extra point and the Steelers prevailed 13-7 in dramatic fashion. It was one for the ages.
In 14 seasons playing in the Steel City, Bradshaw started 158 regular-season games and led his black-and-gold teammates to 107 victories. Let’s celebrate Bradshaw’s heroics on the football field by taking a close look at four key cards (in weighted order) from his 14-card Basic Set checklist:
This is the only recognized rookie card of Bradshaw. The key rookie card in the 1971 Topps Football release, it is sought after by football card collectors who understand and appreciate history. The set is comprised of 263 cards with each one measuring 2-1/2″ wide by 3-1/2” tall. Each of the card fronts features a posed player portrait surrounded by either a red (AFC), blue (NFC) or blue-and-red (All-Pros) border.
Surrounded by its solid red border, Bradshaw’s card is susceptible to chipping and edge wear along the front. His rookie card has a respectable PSA Population Report of 3,229, of which only three have earned top billing as PSA Gem Mint 10 examples. Twenty other examples have been labeled as PSA Mint 9, while 445 more have received PSA Near Mint-Mint 8 ranking. In terms of trading card value,
In trying to piece together Bradshaw’s 14-card Basic Set checklist on the PSA Set Registry, this is the most heavily weighted card (10.00) of them all. Weights are determined by the card’s secondary market value using a scale from 1.00 to 10.00 with 10.00 being the most expensive. Using three different PSA grades for the card, here are its current industry average auction prices:
PSA Good 2: $69.99
PSA Excellent 5: $108.14
PSA Near Mint-Mint 8: $989.80
The 1972 Topps Football set consists of 351 cards, each one measuring 2-1/2″ by 3-1/2”. Each of the card fronts employed either a horizontal or vertical posed photo bordered by the featured player’s team colors. Bradshaw’s card (#150) is considered one of the set’s anchors, along with Joe Namath (#100), Gale Sayers (#110), O.J. Simpson (#160) and Johnny Unitas (#165) and the rookie cards of John Riggins (#13), Jim Plunkett (#65) and Roger Staubach (#200).
Bradshaw’s card, which paralleled his breakout season, has a PSA Population Report of 954 with only six examples earning PSA Gem Mint 10 status and another 39 deemed PSA Mint 9, and 234 more labeling out as Near Mint-Mint 8. It’s the second most heavily weighted (5.50) card in Terry’s Basic Set checklist and shows the signal-caller getting set to throw a pass. Using three different PSA grades for the card, here are its current industry average auction prices:
PSA Good 2: $10.50
PSA Excellent 5:$17.25
PSA Near Mint-Mint 8:$81.16
The 1973 Topps Football set consists of 528 cards with each one measuring 2-1/2″ wide by 3-1/2” high. The set marked the first of 10 consecutive years that Topps manufactured 528 cards in a single series. Each card bears a color photograph with the athlete’s name identified at the top, his team and position noted along the bottom, and a colored pennant-like banner along the left side.
Bradshaw’s third-year Topps card (#15) shows the brooding, uniformed QB striking a pose during training camp. Topps cards include Bradshaw, George Blanda (#25), Fran Tarkenton (#60), Dick Butkus (#300), Joe Namath (#400), Johnny Unitas (#455) and Roger Staubach (#475), along with the rookie releases of Ken Anderson (#34), Art Shell (#77), Franco Harris (#89) and Ken Stabler (#487).
Bradshaw’s card has a PSA Population Report of 832, of which only two submissions have ever earned PSA Gem Mint. Another 90 examples have been determined to be PSA Mint 9, while 264 more have been labeled Near Mint-Mint 8. It’s tied with two other releases as the third most heavily weighted (3.50) card in Bradshaw’s Basic Set checklist and is routinely found with 50/50 centering. Using three different PSA grades for the card, here are its current industry average auction prices:
PSA Good 2: $5.74
PSA Excellent 5:$15.50
PSA Near Mint-Mint 8:$46.37
The 1974 Topps Football set consists of 528 cards, each one measuring 2-1/2″ wide by 3-1/2” high. The set uses creative design elements, surrounding a color image of featured players with a “goal post” in bright colors. The player’s name and position are on either side of the crossbar and the team name is identified within a rectangular color bar across the bottom border. Bradshaw’s fourth ever Topps card (#470) is once again one of the set’s keys along with Fran Tarkenton (#129), Dick Butkus (#230) and Ken Stabler (#451), along with the rookie issues of future HOFers John Hannah (#383), Ray Guy (#219) and Harold Carmichael (#121).
Bradshaw’s card has a PSA Population Report of 444, of which only one submission has ever earned PSA Gem Mint status. Another 39 examples have been deemed PSA Mint 9, while 169 more have been labeled Near Mint-Mint 8. It’s tied with two other releases as the third most heavily weighted (3.50) card in Bradshaw’s Basic Set checklist and can usually be found in high-grade condition. Using three different PSA grades for the card, here are its current industry average auction prices:
PSA Very Good-Excellent 4: $3.84
PSA Excellent-Mint 6:$10.00
PSA Near Mint-Mint 8:$36.29
Terry Bradshaw Cards Required to Complete the Set
(with PSA Weights)
- 1971 Topps Terry Bradshaw #156 (10.00)
- 1972 Topps Terry Bradshaw #150 (5.50)
- 1973 Topps Terry Bradshaw #15 (3.50)
- 1974 Topps Terry Bradshaw #470 (3.50)
- 1975 Topps Terry Bradshaw #461 (3.50)
- 1976 Topps Terry Bradshaw #75 (3.00)
- 1977 Topps Terry Bradshaw #245 (3.00)
- 1978 Topps Terry Bradshaw #65 (3.00)
- 1979 Topps Terry Bradshaw #500 (2.00)
- 1980 Topps Terry Bradshaw #200 (2.00)
- 1981 Topps Terry Bradshaw #375 (1.00)
- 1982 Topps Terry Bradshaw #204 (1.00)
- 1983 Topps Terry Bradshaw #358 (1.00)
- 1984 Topps Terry Bradshaw #162 (1.00)
Browse through images of each card in the set within the image gallery section of the Set Registry.
Bradshaw retired following the 1984 campaign. He was the first QB ever to record four Super Bowl victories, since matched by Joe Montana and now exceeded by Tom Brady (six). Like Bart Starr before him, he was twice named MVP of the Super Bowl (XIII and XIV). He led the league in passing touchdowns in both 1978 and ’82, and was a three-time Pro Bowl selection. He was inducted into Canton in 1989.
Tackling Bradshaw’s basic set presents an achievable task for any collector and if you need a reminder, just tune into Fox NFL Sunday in the fall and you’ll see his beaming smile.
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