They may never measure up to their direct predecessor in terms of a singular, hobby-defining rookie cards but 1977 Topps football cards have plenty to offer in their own right.

Start with the second-year card of that decade-buster — Walter Payton, that is — and then click through the big-name rookies.

Among them, you’ll find Hall of Famers at tight end, wide receiver, the defensive line …

And then you have the requisite franchise quarterbacks …

And the underpinnings of a football dynasty …

And then a surprise or two …

It all adds up to a stellar list of the 12 most valuable 1977 Topps football cards, as culled from the PSA Sports Market Report Price Guide.

Hut! Hut!

1977 Topps Walter Payton (#360)

1977 Topps Walter Payton

This second-year Payton card has a lot going on, but then so did the man it features.

After a 1975 rookie campaign that saw him run for 679 yards and score seven touchdowns, Payton turned in his first 1000-yard season while crossing the goal line 13 times in 1976.

He also picked up his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors.

No wonder this card is cluttered! And no wonder Sweetness is smiling.

The whole thing will set you back around $80 for a copy in PSA 8 condition.

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1977 Topps Dave Casper Rookie Card (#380)

1977 Topps Dave Casper

After a total of nine receptions in 1974 and 1975 combined, Notre Dame product and future Hall of Famer Dave Casper emerged as a rough-and-tumble big-bodied target for quarterback Ken Stabler in 1976.

Ghost’s 691 yards and ten touchdowns on 53 catches helped John Madden’s Oakland Raiders make it all the way to the Super Bowl.

There, the breakout tight end added another four catches and a touchdown as Oakland thumped the Minnesota Vikings.

Casper’s 1977 rookie card captures the glory of that season with all sorts of banners and swirls, and today sells for around $40 in PSA 8.

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1977 Topps Steve Largent Rookie Card (#177)

1977 Topps Steve Largent

Largent had a clearer path to playing time than Casper did, even though the Houston Oilers picked him down in the fourth round of the 1976 NFL Draft.

Almost cut in training camp, Largent was instead traded to the expansion Seattle Seahawks.

There, the wide receiver found an immediate home and an aerial partner in QB Jim Zorn.

Largent caught 54 balls for 705 yards that first season, and he never loooked back from there.

When he retired in 1989, Largent held just about ever receiving record there was to have, and he waltzed into Canton in 1995.

This Largent rookie card was one of the first to really catch fire in the 1980s and today still sits around $35 in PSA 8 condition.

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1977 Topps Roger Staubach (#45)

1977 Topps Roger Staubach

Staubach was far from a rookie in 1977, but he was already a Dallas Cowboys legend.

Having led the team to a title in his first season (1971), the great quarterback would take them back to the promised land in 1977.

This action-packed card that sat right alongside collectors as they watched that championship run is a $25 buy in slabbed NM-MT condition.

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1977 Topps Harry Carson Rookie Card (#146)

1977 Topps Harry Carson

Carson came into the national spotlight as his New York Giants started going deep into the playoffs in the 1980s.

By the time the G-Men won the Super Bowl after the 1986 season, Carson was right there alongside Lawrence Taylor, Phil Simms, Ottis Anderson, Joe Morris, Mark Bavaro, and others as media darlings.

Before all that, though, Carson had already crafted a Pro-Bowl-laden career as a linebacker, a path that would eventually lead him to Canton.

Carson’s 1977 Topps rookie card is a $25 item in PSA 8 these days.

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1977 Topps Franco Harris (#300)

1977 Topps Franco Harris

Poor Franco Harris and his Pittsburgh Steelers were in the midst of a two-year Super Bowl drought when this 1977 Topps card made its way to collectors.

They’d return to glory in 1978, but Harris had to fill the breach by continuing his streak of 1000 yard seasons, which would ultimately stretch from 1974 through 1979.

No surprise that Franco ended up with a bust in Canton or that this mid-career issue is a $25 card in PSA 8 condition today.

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1977 Topps Jack Lambert All-Pro (#480)

1977 Topps Jack Lambert All-Pro

Lambert suffered the same sort of indignities that plagued Harris in 1976 and 1977, without the pillow of showy offensive stats to pad the blow from a ringless January.

Lambert even fell out of the All-Pro ranks in 1977, though he did make the Pro Bowl cut.

None of it mattered in the end, of course, as the legendary linebacker was right there for the team’s “rebound” in 1978 and 1979.

And he’s right there in the Hall of Fame with Harris, too.

Like his teammate, Lambert checks in here at $25 (PSA 8).

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1977 Topps Mike Haynes Rookie Card (#50)

1977 Topps Mike Haynes

The New England Patriots selected Mike Haynes with the fifth overall pick in the 1976 NFL draft, and the speedster hit the ground running … literally.

Starting all 14 games at cornerback, Haynes picked off eight balls and returned them for 90 yards.

Oh, and he also returned 45 punts for 608 yards and two touchdowns.

Within a few years, Haynes had settled in as “only” a lockdown Pro-Bowl corner, giving up the return game (mostly).

Those early Pats teams weren’t very good for the most part, but Haynes found his way to the Raiders just in time to rack up a championship in 1983.

It was all enough to get Haynes a ticket to Canton in 1997, and his RC sits at $20+ in PSA 8 condition today.

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1977 Topps Terry Bradshaw (#245)

1977 Topps Terry Bradshaw

See other Steelers for Bradshaw’s basic 1977 situation — a superstar in between championships, basically.

Except for Bradshaw was more than just a superstar … he was the face of the franchise and one of the faces of the NFL.

Bradshaw had a sort of tough year that fall, too, throwing 19 interceptions against just 17 touchdowns. But, then, he always threw lots of picks, no big deal …

Especially when he and the team rebounded to Super Bowl form the next couple of years.

Today, this ’77 Bradshaw card is a $20 buy in PSA 8.

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1977 Topps Vince Papale Rookie Card (#397)

1977 Topps Vince Papale

Look at Papale’s numbers, and you won’t see anything special — a few years of wide receiving and special teams work for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1976 through 1978.

Look deeper, though, and you’ll find a striking number — 30.

That’s how old Papale was when he walked on to Eagles camp in 1976 and actually caught on, becoming the oldest rookie without college experience in NFL history.

It’s an inspiring story that led to the movie Invincible (starring Mark Wahlberg) and has Papale’s 1977 Topps rookie card at $20 in PSA 8 condition today.

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1977 Topps Rushing Leaders (Payton, Simpson) (#3)

1977 Topps Rushing Leaders (Payton, Simpson)

Walter Payton and O.J. Simpson were undoubtedly the greatest running backs of the 1970s, and two of the top five or six of all-time.

So it’s really not surprising that they led their individual conferences in rushing the same year — 1976 in this case.

It’s also not surprising that so much talent on one hunk of cardboard brings in about $15 in graded NM-MT condition.

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1977 Topps Lee Roy Selmon Rookie Card (#29)

1977 Topps Lee Roy Selmon

Selmon was the first overall pick in the 1976 NFL Draft, and the first ever pick for the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

As such, he suffered through some mighty lean years as the Bucs went through their growing pains, but he also established himself as one of the best defensive ends in the game.

In nine seasons, Selmon made six Pro Bowl teams and was an All-Pro in 1979.

This Hall of Fame rookie card hammers down for about $15 in PSA 8 condition these days.

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1977 Topps Football Card #397 Vince Papale Philadelphia Eagles (Wax)

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1977 TOPPS FOOTBALL FUN PACKS LOT OF 10 (4 CARD PACKS ) *INV2995

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1977 Topps Football Lot Of 50 COMMONS GOOD SOME BETTER ( DUPES)

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1977 TOPPS STEVE LARGENT ROOKIE FOOTBALL CARD SEAHAWKS #177

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