Transition was the name of the game for 1979 Topps football cards.

This set features the rookie cards of guys who would challenge the old guard and, in some cases, establish new standards.

It also features late-career cards of living legends who were nearing the end of the line, or at least the end of their glory years.

All of these story lines and more feature prominently in this list of most valuable 1979 Topps football cards in PSA 8 condition, as culled from the PSA Sports Market Report Price Guide.

1979 Topps Earl Campbell Rookie Card (#390)

1979 Topps Earl Campbell

Everyone thought Earl Campbell would be a beast coming out of college, thanks to that 1977 Heisman Trophy in his bauble case.

And everyone was right, as Campbell won three rushing titles out of the gate after the Houston Oilers took him with the first overall pick in the 1978 NFL Draft.

That third title, in 1980, saw him flirting with 2000 yards before “settling” for 1934.

Campbell was never the same after that monster season, though, and he retired at age 30 in 1985 after an uninspiring year-and-a-half with the New Orleans Saints. It was a fizzled ending to what had been a sizzling Hall of Fame career.

Today, the Campbell rookie card is still popular with collectors, hammering down around $40 in PSA 8 condition.

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1979 Topps Walter Payton (#480)

1979 Topps Walter Payton

It’s sort of ironic that Campbell made it to Canton two years before Payton, considering that Sweetness won the rushing title the year before Campbell first stepped foot on an NFL gridiron.

But Payton was a superstar in The League while Campbell was still at Texas, and Walter kept right on chugging through 1987.

When all was said and done, of course, Payton was the all-time leading rusher — at least until Emmitt Smith came along.

Still, this fourth-year Sweetness card goes for around $30 in PSA 8 condition.

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1979 Topps Ray Guy (#50)

1979 Topps Ray Guy

It takes a special guy to make a list like this from the punter slot … in fact, it takes a Ray Guy.

Dad jokes aside, Guy was the rare punter who managed to become a big name, a feat he accomplished by virtue of seven Pro-Bowl and three All-Pro selections during a 14-year career with the Oakland (and Los Angeles) Raiders.

Oh, he also averaged a whopping 42.4 yards per punt over his career and helped the men in black to three Super Bowl titles.

This mid-career card of Guy The Man is about a $15 item in PSA 8 condition.

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1979 Topps Ozzie Newsome Rokie Card (#308)

1979 Topps Ozzie Newsome

Newsome helped define what it was to be a modern NFL tight end — big, tough, skilled.

Though he stood 6’2″ and tipped the scales at 230+ pounds, Newsome was a favorite target of Brian Sipe and other Cleveland Browns quarterbacks from 1978 through 1990.

So much so that he ended up with 662 catches for nearly 8000 yards and 47 touchdowns. After his playing career, Newsome moved into an executve role … and also into Canton.

Today, his rookie card sells for $15 or so in graded NM-MT condition.

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1979 Topps James Lofton Rookie Card (#310)

1979 Topps James Lofton

In the 1980s, Lofton set off on a mission — apparently — to overtake Steve Largent‘s records for most catches and most receiving yardage.

Lofton half-succeeded, finishing his career as the all-time with 14,004 yards on 750+ catches.

Since then, several guys have passed both HOFers, but this Lofton rookie card remains popular at $15 in PSA 8.

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1979 Topps Roger Staubach (#400)

1979 Topps Roger Staubach

Staubach got a late start on his NFL career due to service in the U.S. Navy, but he came on strong, fast.

In 11 seasons, Roger managed to become a Dallas Cowboys legend who led the team to two Super Bowl titles and all sorts of glorious moments.

The 1979 season would be his last, and this card accompanied collectors as they watched a great QB wrap up his Hall of Fame career. It sells for north of $10 today.

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1979 Topps Donnie Shell (#411)

1979 Topps Donnie Shell

Shell often got lost in the bright lights cast by famous Pittsburgh Steelers teammates like Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, Rocky Bleier, Mike Webster, Mean Joe Greene, and others.

But Shell was an absolute menace in the Pittsburgh defensive backfield, recording 51 interceptions during a career that spanned 14 season, three of which were of the All-Pro variety.

Shell’s 1979 Topps rookie card sells for about $10 in graded NM-MT condition today.

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1979 Topps Terry Bradshaw (#500)

1979 Topps Terry Bradshaw

Bradshaw cast maybe the biggest shadow of all on Shell and other Steelers teammates, but that’s what happens when you have a flashy (though gritty) quarterback at the helm for four Super Bowl wins.

Terry is nearly as popular as ever today, and his 1979 Topps card sells for ten bucks in PSA 8.

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1979 Topps Payton/Campbell (#3)

1979 Topps Payton _ Campbell

The only thing better than an Earl Campbell football card or a Walter Payton football card is an Earl Campbell plus Walter Payton football card.

As in, the two of them on the same card. And that’s what you get with this rushing leaders deal

Lots of talent, lots of yardage — about $10 in PSA 8.

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1979 Topps Tony Dorsett (#160)

1979 Topps Tony Dorsett

If you couldn’t have Earl Campbell or Walter Payton in your backfield in 1979, how would feel about Tony Dorsett?

Pretty darn good, I’d imagine, especially if you don’t mind about 1100 yards of production.

This second card of another Cowboys legend pushes $10 in PSA 8 condition.

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1979 Topps Staubach/Bradshaw (#1)

1979 Topps Staubach _ Bradshaw

The 1978 season concluded with a Super Bowl that pitted Staubach’s Cowboys against Bradshaw’s Steelers. The result was an MVP trophy and a fourth ring for Bradshaw.

Just a few months later, this card kicked off the 1979 Topps set, celebrating the passing leaders from 1978 — yep, Bradshaw and Staubach.

It’s another great combo card that sells for close to $10 in slabbed NM-MT condition.

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1979 Topps Pittsburgh Steelers (Harris) (#19)

1979 Topps Pittsburgh Steelers (Harris)

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but …

If you couldn’t have Campbell or Payton or Dorsett in your backfield, how about Franco Harris?

As you can see from this Steelers Leaders card, Harris ran for 1082 yards in 1978. He was joined in leading his squad by teammates Larry Anderson, Tony Dungy (!), and L.C. Greenwood.

This talent-laden card is about an $8 item in PSA 8 these days.

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