If you’re looking for proof of the staying power of a single moment on the American consciousness, look no further than 1973 Topps football cards.

Sure, this set is loaded with Hall of Fame cardboard just like every other issue from the era.

And, yes, the 1973 issue seems to have more than its fair share of big-name rookie cards.

1973 Topps football cards unopened wax pack

But, as you read through this list of the most valuable 1973 Topps football cards, you just may be struck by a common thread that ties many of them together.

Read on to find out what that bond is!

(Prices culled from PSA 8 listings in the PSA Sports Market Report Price Guide.)

1973 Topps Ken Stabler Rookie Card (#487)

1973 Topps Ken  Stabler

Coming out of Alabama, the scrambling Stabler fell to the Raiders in the second-round of the 1968 NFL Draft and spent that fall in the Continental Football League.

He skipped the gridiron altogether in 1969 before returning to Oakland in 1970 to make his debut. Even then, it would take another two seasons before Stabler really made his mark.

In a 1972 playoff game against the Steelers, Stabler relieved starter Daryle Lamonica and — yes — scrambled 30 yards for an apparent game-winning touchdown (see below).

Though Oakland lost that game, they had found their quarterback, and Stabler led John Madden’s offense for the next seven seasons, delivering a Super Bowl title in 1976.

In the end, the Gambler’s high-flying style led him to the Hall of Fame.

Today, the Stabler rookie card sells for about $150 in PSA 8 condition.

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1973 Topps Franco Harris Rookie Card (#89)

1973 Topps Franco  Harris

Sitting on the other sideline in during that 1972 playoff game was Pittsburgh running back Franco Harris, just waiting to make history.

That season, Harris had wasted little time establishing himself after the Steelers make him their first-round pick out of Penn State.

In 14 games (ten starts), Harris carried the ball 188 times for 1055 yards to start loosening up defenses for QB Terry Bradshaw and give the Steelers a path to a more deadly air game.

Before that could happen, though, the Steelers took the field after Stabler’s long run in that 1972 playoff game (see above).

After Raiders safety Jack Tatum nailed John Fuqua as the halfback tried to haul in a Bradshaw pass, the ball touched seemingly every man on the field until it landed …

… in Harris’ outstretched fingers, just before it hit the ground.

The rookie barrelled for a touchdown, and the Steelers won, thanks to Franco’s “Immaculate Reception.”

It was a signature moment that sticks to the man to this day, but he’s a Hall of Famer even without it, thanks to four Super Bowl rings, more than 14,000 yards from scrimmage, and an even 100 touchdowns.

The Harris RC goes for around $135 in PSA 8 these days.

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1973 Topps Curley Culp Rookie Card (#167)

1973 Topps Curley  Culp

Culp is a name you don’t hear much about, but that tends to happen when you made your hay as a defensive tackle (left and nose) for the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Oilers in the 1970s.

Now, don’t get me wrong — there were some fine squads among that group, but unless a team name started with “Dallas” or “Pittsburgh” or made it to the Super Bowl, fans just didn’t know (care?) much about them in those days.

Truth be told, though, Culp did make it to the Super Bowl, a 23-7 Chiefs win over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV in January 1970.

He was also a perennial Pro Bowler who eventually made the Canton cut (2013).

Today, Culp’s Topps rookie is a $75 card in graded NM-MT condition.

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1973 Topps Jack Ham Rookie Card (#115)

1973 Topps Jack  Ham

When Harris arrived in Pittsburgh for 1972, he found a former Penn State teammate had warmed the place up for him.

Linebacker Jack Ham came out of the second round in 1971 and stepped right into the Steelers’ starting lineup.

Within two years, he was a Pro Bowler, and he made his first All-Pro cut in 1974, the same year Pittsburgh won their first Super Bowl.

Ham retired in 1982 with four rings and a slew of personal honors, and he growled into Cantion in 1988.

Today, his rookie card sells for about $60 in PSA 8 condition.

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1973 Topps Roger Staubach (#475)

1973 Topps Roger  Staubach

When this card was issued, Staubach had followed up his Super Bowl-winning season in 1971 with an injury-marred 1972 that saw him appear in just four games.

Roger was back in the saddle for the Dallas Cowboys in 1973, though, guiding the team to a 10-4 record and restarting his march to the Hall of Fame.

Today, this third-year Staubach card is a $50 buy in PSA 8.

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1973 Topps Art Shell Rookie Card (#77)

1973 Topps Art  Shell

Shell worked himself up from being the 80th pick in the 1968 NFL Draft to a starting role at left tackle for the fearsome Raiders defense as the 1970 season dawned.

Two seasons later, he witnessed Stabler’s scramble and Franco’s magic first-hand, and he also contributed mightily to Raiders championships in 1976 and 1980.

Along the way, Shell became a Pro Bowler and All-Pro, and he made the Hall of Fame cut in 1989.

That fall, he embarked on a seven-year career as an NFL head coach.

The man who has done it all (just about) in the NFL, lines up with a $40 rookie card here.

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1973 Topps Jack Youngblood Rookie Card (#343)

1973 Topps Jack  Youngblood

It took Youngblood a couple of seasons to break into the Rams starting lineup after they took him 20th overall in the 1971 NFL Draft, but he never looked back.

From 1973 through 1983, Youngblood started every Rams game at left defensive end, then followed that up with 15 more starts in 1984, his last season.

He was a five-time All-Pro who helped Los Angeles to their first Super Bowl berth after the 1979 season.

Youngblood’s Hall of Fame rookie card is a $40 buy in PSA 8 condition these days.

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1973 Topps Joe Namath (#400)

1973 topps joe namath

In 1972, Namath had led the NFL in both passing yards and touchdowns.

He’d never hit those milestones again, and 1973 would be a down year (only five starts), but Broadway Joe still had a couple of big years left in him.

(Even though the Jets didn’t, as it turned out.)

And, you know, Broadway Joe is Broadway Joe, so his cards always end up on lists like this.

The 1973 Namath is a $40 card in PSA 8 condition.

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1973 Topps Terry Bradshaw (#15)

1973 Topps Terry  Bradshaw

Bradshaw, on the other hand, was still trying to hammer down his status as the Steelers’ go-to guy as 1973 dawned.

Despite an 11-3 team record and that amazing (miraculous, in fact) playoff performance in 1972, Terry struggled with interceptions and threw for under 2000 yards in ’72.

Bradshaw would lose playing time in 1973 and 1974 to the likes of Terry Hanratty and Joe Gilliam before a Super Bowl victory early in 1975 finally gave him stability.

Three more titles, a bust in Canton, and a successful broadcasting career later, and Bradshaw is a football legend.

His 1973 Topps card, showing the former Louisiana Tech signal caller in shakier days, sells for around $40 in slabbed NM-MT condition these days.

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1973 Topps Dwight White Rookie Card (#140)

1973 Topps Dwight  White

Have you figured out that “common thread” I mentioned up there in the intro to this piece?

No?

Well, here’s a hint … Dwight White was there to witness Franco Harris’ Immaculate Reception against the Raiders in 1972.

Dude was also a mainstay at defensive end for the Steel Curtain all through Pittsburgh’s championship run, and he was a four-time Pro Bowler to boot.

For all that, White’s rookie card pushes $40 in PSA 8 condition.

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1973 Topps Mike Sensibaugh Rookie Card (#528)

1973 Topps Mike  Sensibaugh

Sensibaugh was the Kansas City Chief’s eighth-round pick out of Ohio State in 1971, but he manged to work himself into a starting free safety role within a couple of years.

Stayed in the NFL through 1977 and picked off 27 balls, returning two for touchdowns.

Good, inspirational stuff.

But Sensibaugh makes the cut here by virtue of his status as a Buckeyes legend.

OSU’s all-time leader in interceptions for a career (22) and a season (9) scores a $30 rookie card on this list.

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1973 Topps Dan Dierdorf (#322)

1973 Topps Dan  Dierdorf

After an All-American career at Michigan, Dierdorf landed with the St. Louis Cardinals in the second round of the 1971 NFL Draft.

A year later, he was starting a right tackle, and he stayed there — for the most part — through 1983.

A three-time All-Pro and 1996 Canton inductee, Dierdorf lines up here at about $30 in graded NM-MT condition.

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