If you never cracked open a pack of 1978 Topps football cards when they were brand new, you might not fully appreciate all it has to offer.

For instance, did you know that two of the top 10 rushers of all time have cards in the 1978 Topps set?

Or that one of those guys has his rookie card there?

Or that another three running backs from the set once resided in the yardage top 10?

Or that the set features three rookie cards of Hall of Famers?

Or that the set is generally loaded with Hall of Fame cardboard across all positions, rookies or otherwise (57 HOF cards by my count)?

If you didn’t … well, maybe it’s time to take a look.

To help you get started, here are the 12 most valuable 1978 Topps football cards, as listed in the PSA Sports Market Report Price Guide for copies in PSA 8 condition.

1978 Topps Tony Dorsett Rookie Card (#315)

1978 Topps Tony Dorsett

If you’re old enough to remember when Tony Dorsett was the hotshot whippersnapper who came into the NFL fresh off a Heisman Trophy and threatened to steal Walter Payton’s thunder … well, we just might be able to be friends, in a sports-y sort of way.

And if you were doubly ticked off that Dorsett rode the big blue star of the Dallas Cowboys to even more flash-whiz-bang popularity, we should probably compare Matt Suhey collections someday.

Of course, it turns out that the former Pitt standout — Dorsett, that is — really was a pretty good running back. Historically good, in fact.

When all was said and done, Dorsett had rushed for over 1000 yards in a season eight times en route to nearly 13,000 for his career. Also picked up 3500+ yards receiving and 90 touchdowns.

So, yeah, Dorsett was an easy election to the Hall of Fame in 1994, and his rookie card easily tops this list at $45 in PSA 8.

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1978 Topps Walter Payton (#200)

1978 Topps Walter Payton

Walter Payton, on the other hand, spent the sweet spot of his career toiling for cruddy-to-mediocre Chicago Bears teams.

Everything he did, he had to do on his own.

For instance … the night Payton rushed for 275 yards in 1977 (see below), some folks estimate he actually ran for, like, eleven-and-a-half miles, owing to all the back-and-forth, crisscrossing juking he had to do.

And, sure, the Bears finally got real good — better than the Cowboys, even — there in the middle 1980s, but Walter’s legs were 40% jelly by that point.

Even so, he retired as the game’s all-time leading rusher and still stands at Number 2 (behind Emmitt Smith — darn Cowboys!).

Today, Payton’s third-year card hammers down around $25 in PSA 8.

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1978 Topps John Stallworth Rookie Card (#320)

1978 Topps John Stallworth

By the time John Stallworth scored a Topps rookie card, he already had four years under his belt with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

To Topps’ credit, though, Stallworth’s breakout season didn’t come until 1977, when he nabbed 44 balls for 784 yards and seven touchdowns.

Such was life for those legendary Steelers teams of the 1970s that a talent like Stallworth could go relatively underutilized and unappreciated in the glare of teammates like Franco Harris and Lynn Swann.

Today, though, Stallworth is enshrined in Canton, and his 1978 Topps RC is a $15 buy in PSA 8.

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1978 Topps Terry Bradshaw (#65)

1978 Topps Terry Bradshaw

And speaking of Bradshaw, the man was the most amazing Super Bowl machine we’d ever seen until Joe Montana and (ugh) Tom Brady came along.

With nearly 28,000 yards passing, 212 touchdowns, and four Super Bowl rings, Bradshaw remains a popular figure in the game and hobby today.

Of course, his ongoing status as an NFL commentator and wiseguy doesn’t hurt that standing at all.

This 1978 Topps card usually sells for $10+ in PSA 8.

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1978 Topps Fred Dean Rookie Card (#217)

1978 Topps Fred Dean

Even if you’re old enough to remember Fred Dean playing for the San Diego Chargers, you might not remember Fred Dean playing for the San Diego Chargers.

And you’re really not likely to remember him playing just three games for the San Diego Chargers in 1981 before a contract dispute convinced the Bolts to send him to the San Franciso 49ers.

Or maybe you do. I don’t know.

What’s important is that that trade sort of upset the balance of things in the NFL, with Joe Montana’s high-powered offense getting some defensive beef to back it up, and Dan Fouts’ high-powered offense (Air Coryell) losing some defensive beef that had backed it up, if quietly.

Dean was a key member of two 49ers Super Bowl seasons, and he’s a Hall of Famer, to boot.

So, yeah, his rookie card will cost you $10 or more in PSA 8.

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1978 Topps Roger Staubach (#290)

1978 Topps Roger Staubach

Roger Staubach was 84 years old when his 1978 Topps football cards started popping out of wax packs, and he only had a few more seasons in him before Danny White took his job.

But Staubach was a Navy legend … and a Dallas Cowboys legend … and a Super Bowl legend.

Still is, which means all his cards remain popular all these years later.

This one is about a $12 item in PSA 8.

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1978 Topps Ed “Too Tall” Jones (#429)

1978 Topps Ed (Too Tall) Jones

Was Cowboys defensive end Ed Jones really too tall?

Well, at six feet, nine inches, he certainly wasn’t easy to see over if you were an opposing quarterback.

And his long arms certainly played a role in the 57 1/2 sacks he recorded (beginning in 1982, when sacks became a thing).

But he was just right to become yet another Cowboys hero, though you have to wonder if his huge frame is just too big for Canton.

Why else would he not be in the Hall of Fame?

Regardless, Too Tall’s 1978 Topps card sells for around $12 today.

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1978 Topps Ted Hendricks (#68)

Ted Hendricks is one of just two players who were born in Guatemala to ever appear in the NFL. The other was defensive back John Hendy, who was a starter with the Chargers in 1985 but never made it into a game in The League thereafter.

Hendricks, meanwhile, is a four-time All-Pro linebacker who recorded 26 interceptions and piled up a mountain of stunned ball-carriers in a 15-year career with the Colts, Packers, and Raiders.

Guess which one is a Hall of Famer.

Yeah, it’s that one, and his 1978 Topps card will run you about $10 in PSA 8.

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1978 Topps Tom Jackson Rookie Card (#240)

1978 Topps Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson is that one guy who does all sorts of things for ESPN on the football front.

No, not him … that other guy.

Jackson is the one who retired in 2016, and won the Pete Rozelle Award for Excellence in Broadcasting from the Hall of Fame in 2015.

Before that, Jackson was an All-Pro linebacker who helped the Denver Broncos get to the Super Bowl twice (he couldn’t save either Craig Morton or John Elway, though).

For all that, Jackson’s rookie card checks in at about $10 in graded NM-MT condition.

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1978 Topps Joe Klecko Rookie Card (#287)

1978 Topps Joe Klecko

Injuries and turnover for the New York Jets kept Klecko moving around the defensive line during his 11-year tenure.

Through it all, though, Klecko proved to be a star (or as much of a star as a 1980s defensive lineman could be) and racked up four Pro Bowl appearances, two All-Pro honors, and 24 sacks.

To this point, Klecko remains on the outside looking in at Canton, even though you could make a case he was better than some already on the inside.

(And even though he spent a season late in his career with the Indianapolis Colts.)

Even so, his rookie card is a $10 item in PSA 8.

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1978 Topps Cowboys Team Leaders (Dorsett) (#507)

1978 Topps Cowboys Team Leaders (Dorsett)

So, Tony Dorsett led the Cowboys with 1007 yards rushing as a rookie in 1977, which helped with that sheen we talked about above.

It also netted him the prime position on this 1978 Topps team leaders card, alongside Drew Pearson (Oscar Gamble is calling), Cliff Harris (whose rug got blown onto the side of his head), and Rodney Martin (who is just *really* happy to be there).

This bonus Dorsett RC sells for around $10 in PSA 8.

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1978 Topps Walter Payton 1977 Highlights (#3)

1978 Topps Walter Payton 1977 Highlights

This card commemorates that Sweetness marathon run referenced above. It’s a great action card, just like all Payton action cards.

Though not as great as the 1982 card where he is parallel to the ground.

Sweetness=greatness … nah, greatest.

You can think otherwise, but … hey, we’re all wrong sometimes.

This gem is a $9 buy in slabbed NM-MT condition.

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