Although it may seem like 1984 Topps football cards are nothing but a collection of Hall of Fame rookie cards, the truth is that …

Well, OK, this set really is all about the Canton-bound rookies.

And the amazing thing is that it’s been this way forever.

Thanks to a ballyhooed class of first-year players coming out of the 1983 draft and born into a hobby already rabid for rookie cards, the 1984 Topps set exploded on the scene like Barry Sanders hitting a hole in the line.

And then, that amazing rookie class lived up to the hype, and they just kept living up to the hype for about two decades.

So, yeah, this list of the most valuable 1984 Topps football cards — culled from the PSA Sports Market Report Price Guide for PSA 9 specimens — is nearly saturated with rookies.

But if you look closely, you might find a couple of wily vets rubbing meaty shoulders with the rooks.

Hut! Hut!

1984 Topps John Elway Rookie Card (#63)

1984 Topps John Elway

For a long time, this Elway rookie card languished behind the RCs of Dan Marino and Eric Dickerson.

You could chalk that up to Elway’s multiple Super Bowl appearances without a win while Marino and Dickerson were busy lighting the turf on fire, setting record after record.

But all that changed when an “old” Elway led his Denver Broncos to a title in 1997 … and then again in 1998.

Suddenly, the dude was golden again — as he had been as the Number 1 pick in 1983 — and so were his cards.

Today, the Elway rookie card carries a $150 price tag in PSA 9 condition.

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1984 Topps Dan Marino Rookie Card (#123)

1984 Topps Dan Marino

Marino faced some character questions entering the NFL thanks to off-field problems while at Pitt, and he fell to the bottom of the first round of the 1983 Draft as a consequence.

Though nearly everyone agreed he had superb talent, not everyone was convinced he would make good in the big time.

Marino took all that negativity as a challenge, though, and after making nine starts as a rookie, he lit it up in 1984.

That season, he became the first QB to pass for 5000 yards in a season, and he delivered a then-record 48 touchdown passes.

He also led the Dolphins to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the San Francisco 49ers.

Marino never really looked back from there and crafted a Hall of Fame career that has his RC sitting at $100 in PSA 9 condition today.

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1984 Topps Walter Payton (#228)

1984 Topps Walter Payton

After a long slog with mediocre or worse teams, Walter Payton entered 1984 with a Chicago Bears team that could finally hold their own with most anyone in the NFL.

On their way to a 10-6 record, the Bears witnessed Sweetness make history when he broke Jim Brown’s all-time record for rushing yards on October 7.

Of course, there had never been any question about Payton’s Canton candidacy or his place in the hobby, but all those rushing marks and that Super Bowl XX title after the 1985 season sure didn’t hurt.

Today, this 1984 Topps Walter Payton is a $100 card in slabbed MINT condition.

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1984 Topps Curt Warner Rookie Card (#198)

1984 Topps Curt Warner

After a few down seasons to start the 1980s, the Seattle Seahawks turned things around in 1983 to finish 9-7 and make a surprise run to the AFC Championship Game.

Several factors went into that, such as new coach Chuck Knox and the emergence of quarterback Dave Krieg.

But the real eye-opener was rookie running back Curt Warner, who ran for 1449 yards and scored 13 touchdowns.

While not quite the gaudy numbers that Dickerson (see below) was putting up, they were more than enough to establish Warner as a budding superstar.

Injuries slowed the youngster in 1984, but he bounced back with three more 1000-yard seasons from 1985-88, missing another in 1987 by just 15 yards.

Warner entered a steep and rapid decline in the late 1980s, but enough collectors remember his early-career rise to keep his rookie card in the $35 range these days (PSA 9).

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1984 Topps Chris Hinton Rookie Card (#15)

1984 Topps Chris Hinton

Hinton was the first-round pick of the Denver Broncos (fourth overall) in 1983 but landed with the Colts when Elway decided Baltimore wasn’t for him and basically forced a trade of picks.

And Hinton did his best to make the Colts faithful feel good about the swap, too, entrenching himself on the defensive line for the rest of the decade before starring for the Falcons and Vikings in the latter stages of his career.

Today, Hinton’s rookie card is a $30 buy in PSA 9 condition.

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1984 Topps Eric Dickerson Rookie Card (#280)

1984 Topps Eric Dickerson

What Marino did for quarterbacks, Dickerson did for ball carriers — namely, set new, astounding standards.

In Dickerson’s case, that meant 1808 yards as a rookie, to go along with 18 touchdowns.

He followed that up with a record 2105 yards in 1984 and a league-leading 14 touchdowns.

All told, Dickerson reeled off seven straight 1000-yard seasons to begin his career, split between the Rams and the Colts.

If not for a quick tail-off and an abrupt retirement at age 33, Dickerson would probably own every rushing record there is.

As it stands, he’s a Hall of Famer with a $30 rookie card that for years sat near the top of the hobby heap.

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1984 Topps Joe DeLamielleure (#51)

1984 Topps Joe DeLamielleure

Life can be tough when you spend more than a decade at right guard for moribund teams like the 1970s Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns.

Aside from the weekly beatings that such a line of work entails, you toil in near total anonymity.

None of that phased Joe DeLamielleure, though, as he crafted a Canton case that included six Pro Bowl selections and three All-Pro honors.

Today, his 1984 Topps card hammers down around $20 in PSA 9.

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1984 Topps Howie Long Rookie Card (#111)

1984 Topps Howie Long

Before Howie Long came to your TV set as a GQ NFL analyst and to your movie screen as a sometimes action hero, he spent 13 seasons as a smash-mouth defensive end for the Oakland (and Los Angeles) Raiders.

His 84 sacks, eight Pro Bowls, two All-Pro selections, and one Super Bowl ring eventually landed him in the Hall of Fame.

Long’s rookie card in the 1984 Topps set sells for around $20 in PSA 9 condition.

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1984 Topps Morten Anderson (#300)

1984 Topps Morten Anderson

What do you get when you play in the NFL for 26 years, kicking field goals and extra points for five teams along the way?

Well, if you’re Morten Anderson, you pick up a slew of Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors, along with a bust in Canton.

Oh, and a 1984 Topps football card that checks in around $20 in PSA 9.

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1984 Topps Roger Craig Rookie Card (#353)

1984 Topps Roger Craig

Before he became a celebrated pitching coach, Roger Craig once lost 20 games two seasons in a row for the expansion New York Mets.

What’s that? Oh … oh, right.

This is a different Roger Craig.

This Roger Craig was the featured back for those great Niners teams in the 1980s, and he ended up with more than 13,000 yards from scrimmage to go along with his three rings.

Though he’s not (yet) a Hall of Famer, Craig’s rookie card is still a $20 buy in PSA 9 condition.

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1984 Topps Darrell Green Rookie Card (#380)

1984 Topps Darrell Green

Green combined speed and hands to overcome his lack of size (5’9″, 184 pounds) and put together an unbelievable 20-year career with the Washington Redskins.

Along the way, he picked off 54 passes, ran back six for touchdowns, scored two Super Bowl rings, and made the Canton cut in 2008.

Whew!

Today, Green’s 1984 Topps rookie card is a $20 buy in graded MINT condition.

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1984 Topps Dwight Stephenson Rookie Card (#129)

1984 Topps Dwight Stephenson

Stephenson was one of the unsung heroes who made Marino’s Miami exploits possible.

The Hall of Fame center may not have had the most glamorous job during his playing career, but collectors eventually took notice.

Stephenson’s rookie card sells for around $15 today in PSA 9 condition.

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1984 84 TOPPS FOOTBALL SET JOHN ELWAY RC #63 EX-MT, BRONCOS, HOF, Rookie!

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1984 Topps Football Wax Pack

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1984 Topps Jim Covert RC Rookie Football Card #222 Bears

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