When he announced his retirement before the start of the 2000 NFL season, Dan Marino held numerous passing records. In 17 seasons playing quarterback for the Miami Dolphins, he finished his career with 4,967 completions in 8,358 attempts, 61,361 passing yards and 420 touchdowns. One of his most remarkable accomplishments might be the fact that he passed for at least 300 yards in a game on 63 different occasions.
Remarkably, when Marino was picked in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft, he wasn’t taken until the 27th pick came around, and only after four other quarterbacks had been chosen. John Elway (No. 1), Jim Kelly (14), Tony Eason (15) and Ken O’Brien (24) all preceded the hard-throwing Pitt Panthers QB. In fact, the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were well aware of Marino’s efficiency and in dire need of a quarterback with the 35-year-old Terry Bradshaw on the verge of retirement, instead selected nose tackle Gabe Rivera out of Texas Tech with the 21st overall pick. As the story goes, Rivera was involved in a car accident just six games into his NFL career and never played again after suffering paralysis from the waist down in the crash.
Marino, meanwhile, went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Dolphins, leading them to the Super Bowl in just his second season. In fact, during that ‘84 campaign, he turned in one of the greatest single seasons ever for a quarterback in NFL history. He completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns and led the ‘Fins to a 14-2 record. He would never again surpass those numbers, but he was as consistent in the pocket as anyone. A year later he orchestrated one of the franchise’s biggest victories when the 8-4 Dolphins hosted the previously unbeaten Chicago Bears in Week 13 and won, 38-24. Marino threw for 335 yards and two scores to engineer the win that preserved the 1972 Miami Dolphins’ status as the only team in history to ever go undefeated for an entire season and postseason combined.
Let’s recognize Marino’s consistent passing efficiency by taking a closer look at four key cards (in weighted order) from his 17-card Basic Topps Set checklist.
This is Marino’s only recognized rookie card. Considered one of the key RCs (#123) in the 1984 Topps Football release, along with John Elway (#63) and Eric Dickerson’s (#280), it’s a must-have for any football card aficionado’s collection. The set consists of 396 cards with each one measuring 2-1/2″ wide by 3-1/2” tall. Sporting bright blue and orange design elements, the card shows an engaged Marino studying the on-field action likely from the Dolphins sideline.
Not incredibly difficult to find in high-grade, the card includes outside white borders, which sometimes reveals less than 50/50 centering. When it comes to trading card value, this is the Marino card to own. It has a very robust PSA Population Report of 19,282, of which 375 have earned top billing as PSA Gem Mint 10 examples (APR average: $1,186.61), while another 3,457 have been labelled as PSA Mint 9 versions (APR average: $166.73).
In trying to piece together Marino’s 17-card Basic Topps 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 Very Good-Excellent 4: $30.50
PSA Excellent-Mint 6: $28.94
PSA Near Mint-Mint 8: $58.09
The 1985 Topps Football set consists of 396 cards, each one measuring 3-1/2″ high by 2-1/2” wide. The horizontal card fronts feature a color likeness of the player with his name and team affiliation situated along the right side. Marino’s card (#314) is considered one of the set’s anchors, along with Walter Payton (#33), Joe Montana (#157), John Elway (#238), and the rookie cards of Richard Dent (#24) and Warren Moon (#251).
Marino’s second-year card has a PSA Population Report of 3,346 with 41 examples having earned PSA Gem Mint 10 billing and another 697 being deemed PSA Mint 9. It’s the second most heavily weighted (3.00) card in Marino’s Basic Topps Set checklist and due to its black borders, is very susceptible to chipping.
PSA Excellent-Mint6: $3.75
PSA Near Mint-Mint 8: $7.09
PSA Gem Mint 10: $600.00
The Topps 1986 Football set consists of 396 cards, each one measuring 2-1/2″ wide by 3-1/2” tall. The card front features the player’s color photo surrounded by a green border with white diagonal lines resembling a football field. His name, team and position are all identified at the bottom of the card.Marino’s third-year Topps card (#45) is another top find along with Payton (#11) and the rookie releases of future HOFers Jerry Rice (#161), Steve Young (#486), Andre Reed (#388) and Bruce Smith (#389).
Marino’s card has a PSA Population Report of 2,491, of which only 66 have been graded PSA Gem Mint. Another 712 submissions of the card have been deemed PSA Mint 9, while 1,406 more have been labeled Near Mint – Mint 8. This is the third most heavily weighted (2.00) card in Dan the Man’s Basic Topps Set checklist and can be readily found in high-grade condition.
PSA Near Mint-Mint 8: $7.36
PSA Mint 9: $10.08
PSA Gem Mint 10: $315.90
The 1988 Topps Football set holds 396 standard-sized cards divided into segments by team. Each card measures 2-1/2” wide by 3-1/2” tall. A full color-on-field photo of the player adorns the center of the card front with a team helmet, the player’s name and position printed near the bottom. Marino’s card (#190) shows the veteran QB staring downfield, perhaps at a Miami receiver who dropped a pass? Or, maybe he’s looking for a penalty flag for defensive pass interference?
This card has a PSA Population Report of 1,233, of which just 376 have earned PSA Gem Mint status. Another 700 examples of the card have been graded PSA Mint 9, while 132 more submissions were graded Near Mint-Mint 8. This card is readily available in high-grade in Marino’s Basic Topps Set checklist.
PSA Near Mint-Mint 8: $5.00
PSA Mint 9: $6.00
PSA Gem Mint 10: $15.57
Dan Marino Cards Required to Complete the Set
(with PSA Weights)
- 1984 Topps Dan Marino #123 (10.00)
- 1985 Topps Dan Marino #314 – All Pro (3.00)
- 1986 Topps Dan Marino #45 (2.00)
- 1987 Topps Dan Marino #233 (2.00)
- 1988 Topps Dan Marino #190 (1.00)
- 1989 Topps Dan Marino #293 (1.00)
- 1990 Topps Dan Marino #323 (1.00)
- 1991 Topps Dan Marino #112 (1.00)
- 1992 Topps Dan Marino #682 (1.00)
- 1993 Topps Dan Marino #290 (1.00)
- 1994 Topps Dan Marino #160 (1.00)
- 1995 Topps Dan Marino #350 (1.00)
- 1996 Topps Dan Marino #390 (1.00)
- 1997 Topps Dan Marino #350 (1.00)
- 1998 Topps Dan Marino #270 (1.00)
- 1999 Topps Dan Marino #60 (1.00)
- 2000 Topps Dan Marino #40 (1.00)
Browse through images of the entire set within the image gallery section of the Set Registry.
It’s been two decades since Marino decided to hang up his cleats. He has enjoyed various on-air TV roles as a football analyst for both HBO’s “Inside the NFL” (2002 to 2007) and CBS’s Sunday pregame show “The NFL Today” (2002 to 2013). In 2005, he was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, as first-ballot inductee.
When it comes to rifle-armed NFL quarterbacks who knew how to sling it, Dan Marino’s name is near the top of the list. Now it’s your turn to pat tribute to this fiery QB by collecting all 17 cards from his Basic Topps set.Start Your Set Today