1972 Topps Football Cards

1972 Topps football card wrapperTo my knowledge, 1972 Topps cards were the only vintage football cards to be released in three series. The first series contained cards 1-132, the second contained cards 79 and 133-263, and the third contained cards 264-351. Topps included card number 79, the second series checklist, in both the first and second series, so it is a double print.

Third series 1972 Topps cards were released late in the football season (I remember getting a pack from my brother for Christmas), and apparently many of them went unsold. Because relatively few of the third series cards made in into circulation in 1972, the price guides have them valued much higher than cards from the first two series. However, many (or most) of the excess third series cards were not destroyed in 1972; rather, a large dealer bought them from Topps and stored them. The dealer has been selling the unopened cards in recent years, and the cards are no longer difficult to find. Of course, since the cards were recently opened, most of them are in top condition. There are still plenty of unopened third series cards available, and their prices continue to decline. Perhaps because the multiple series did not work well in 1972, Topps released its 1973 football cards--all 528 of them--in a single series.

Rookie cards of Pro Football Hall of Famers in the 1972 Topps set: Roger Staubach, Gene Upshaw, Ted Hendricks, John Riggins, Larry Little, Charlie Joiner, Ron Yary, Rayfield Wright, Emmitt Thomas. Rookie cards of Heisman Trophy winners in the 1972 Topps set: Steve Owens, Jim Plunkett, Steve Spurrier.

Image Set # Card Title/Players Pro Team Position College Honors Notes Grades available at Nearmint Sports Cards
1972 Topps 1971 AFC Rushing Leaders 1972 Topps 1 1971 AFC Rushing Leaders
Larry Csonka Miami Dolphins fullback Syracuse Pro Football Hall of Fame 1987, College Hall of Fame 1989, Dolphins Honor Roll 1990
Marv Hubbard Oakland Raiders running back Colgate
Floyd Little Denver Broncos running back Syracuse College Hall of Fame 1983, Broncos Ring of Fame 1984, Pro Football Hall of Fame 2010
1972 Topps 1971 NFC Rushing Leaders 1972 Topps 2 1971 NFC Rushing Leaders
John Brockington Green Bay Packers running back Ohio State Packers Hall of Fame 1984
Willie Ellison Los Angeles Rams running back Texas Southern
Steve Owens Detroit Lions running back Oklahoma Heisman Trophy 1969, College Hall of Fame 1991
1972 Topps 1971 AFC Passing Leaders 1972 Topps 3 1971 AFC Passing Leaders
Virgil Carter Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Brigham Young
Len Dawson Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Purdue Chiefs Hall of Fame 1979, Pro Football Hall of Fame 1987
Bob Griese Miami Dolphins quarterback Purdue College Hall of Fame 1984, Dolphins Honor Roll 1990, Pro Football Hall of Fame 1990
1972 Topps 1971 NFC Passing Leaders 1972 Topps 4 1971 NFC Passing Leaders
Bill Kilmer Washington Redskins quarterback, halfback UCLA Redskins Ring of Fame, Saints Hall of Fame 1990, College Hall of Fame 1999
Greg Landry Detroit Lions quarterback Massachusetts
Roger Staubach Dallas Cowboys quarterback New Mexico Military Institute, Navy College Hall of Fame 1981, Cowboys Ring of Honor 1983, Pro Football Hall of Fame 1985
1972 Topps 1971 AFC Receiving Leaders 1972 Topps 5 1971 AFC Receiving Leaders
Fred Biletnikoff Oakland Raiders end Florida State Pro Football Hall of Fame 1988, College Hall of Fame 1991
Otis Taylor Kansas City Chiefs end Prairie View Chiefs Hall of Fame 1982
Randy Vataha New England Patriots wide receiver Stanford
1972 Topps 1971 NFC Receiving Leaders 1972 Topps 6 1971 NFC Receiving Leaders
Harold Jackson Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jackson State
Roy Jefferson Washington Redskins wide receiver Utah Steelers Legends Team
Ted Kwalick San Francisco 49ers tight end Penn State College Hall of Fame 1989
Bob Tucker New York Giants tight end Bloomsburg State
1972 Topps 1971 AFC Scoring Leaders 1972 Topps 7 1971 AFC Scoring Leaders
Jim O'Brien Baltimore Colts kicker, wide receiver Cincinnati
Jan Stenerud Kansas City Chiefs kicker Montana State Packers Hall of Fame 1991, Pro Football Hall of Fame 1991, Chiefs Hall of Fame 1992
Garo Yepremian Miami Dolphins kicker
1972 Topps 1971 NFC Scoring Leaders 1972 Topps 8 1971 NFC Scoring Leaders
Bruce Gossett San Francisco 49ers kicker Richmond
Curt Knight Washington Redskins kicker Coast Guard
Errol Mann Detroit Lions kicker North Dakota
1972 Topps Jim Kiick 1972 Topps 9 Jim Kiick Miami Dolphins running back Wyoming
1972 Topps Otis Taylor 1972 Topps 10 Otis Taylor Kansas City Chiefs end Prairie View Chiefs Hall of Fame 1982
1972 Topps Bobby Joe Green 1972 Topps 11 Bobby Joe Green Chicago Bears punter Florida
1972 Topps Ken Ellis 1972 Topps 12 Ken Ellis Green Bay Packers defensive back Southern Packers Hall of Fame 1998
1972 Topps John Riggins 1972 Topps 13 John Riggins New York Jets running back Kansas Redskins Ring of Fame, Pro Football Hall of Fame 1992 Rookie card
1972 Topps Dave Parks 1972 Topps 14 Dave Parks New Orleans Saints end, flanker Texas Tech College Hall of Fame 2008
1972 Topps John Hadl 1972 Topps 15 John Hadl San Diego Chargers quarterback Kansas Chargers Hall of Fame 1983, College Hall of Fame 1994
1972 Topps Ron Hornsby 1972 Topps 16 Ron Hornsby New York Giants linebacker Southeast Louisiana Rookie card PSA 8
1972 Topps Chip Myers 1972 Topps 17 Chip Myers Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Northwest Oklahoma State Rookie card
1972 Topps Bill Kilmer 1972 Topps 18 Bill Kilmer Washington Redskins quarterback, halfback UCLA Redskins Ring of Fame, Saints Hall of Fame 1990, College Hall of Fame 1999
1972 Topps Fred Hoaglin 1972 Topps 19 Fred Hoaglin Cleveland Browns center Pittsburgh Rookie card PSA 9
1972 Topps Carl Eller 1972 Topps 20 Carl Eller Minnesota Vikings defensive end Minnesota Vikings Ring of Honor 2002, Pro Football Hall of Fame 2004, College Hall of Fame 2006
1972 Topps Steve Zabel 1972 Topps 21 Steve Zabel Philadelphia Eagles tight end Oklahoma Rookie card
1972 Topps Vic Washington 1972 Topps 22 Vic Washington San Francisco 49ers running back Wyoming Rookie card
1972 Topps Len St. Jean 1972 Topps 23 Len St. Jean New England Patriots guard Northern Michigan
1972 Topps Bill Thompson 1972 Topps 24 Bill Thompson Denver Broncos defensive back Maryland Eastern Shore Broncos Ring of Fame 1987
1972 Topps Steve Owens 1972 Topps 25 Steve Owens Detroit Lions running back Oklahoma Heisman Trophy 1969, College Hall of Fame 1991 Rookie card