It still stands as one of the most star-studded “one and done” football sets ever created—and one of the thickest. The 1970 Topps Super football set was what cards would be if they could have been injected with a heavy dose of human growth hormone. You would have to have stacked about eight regular 1970 Topps football cards together to match the thickness and the 3 1/8” x 5 ¼” size made them look like postcards.
Of course, it wasn’t exactly a brand new concept. Earlier that year, Topps had introduced the Super concept in baseball. Sadly, the idea apparently didn’t take off. There was another baseball set in 1971 but the concept died there, leaving the ’70 Super football set as a one-of-a-kind issue.
The Supers weren’t sold everywhere but it isn’t known exactly where Topps distributed the white, red and green boxes that featured Len Dawson on the front.
Each pack of Supers had just three cards with the usual stick of bubble gum so a resourceful kid could thumb through packs and probably identify at least two of the players insid—an efficient way to complete the set as long as the store owner didn’t mind you pressing your fingers against the wrappers as you hogged space in front of the candy aisle. Topps touted the cards on the outside of the box as “extra thick” and “king size.” There’s an unopened box on eBay right now.
Checklist Chock Full of Canton
The 1970 Super Football checklist is Hall of Famer heavy. In fact, over half of the 35 players were eventually elected to the Hall of Fame. Topps didn’t leave out many of the game’s best-known players. Unitas. Starr. Namath. Tarkenton. Butkus. Sayers…and at the time, a must-have rookie from USC named Simpson. The last seven cards in the set were short-printed, however, including Namath, Bob Griese and Sonny Jurgenson.
The toughest singles to find in higher grades are Tarkenton (#1), Floyd Little (#2), Jurgenson (#6), George Webster (#34) and Griese (#35).
With the exception of the Namath, Unitas, Griese, Little, Webster and Starr, most cards in the set cost just a few dollars in higher quality condition. The cards are prone to scuffing and centering issues, but there are enough in existence today that completing a nice-looking set isn’t a tough task and buying a complete set usually costs under $200.
Gem mint and mint cards, of course, can be expensive but even so, over two-thirds of the cards evaluated by professional grading companies are 8 or better, which keeps prices for NM/MT encapsulated examples well within reach of the average collector, with most non-superstars available for under $10.
Square-cornered “proof sets” also exist and cost more than the regular issue but haven’t proven to be extremely popular.
You can see 1970 Topps Super football sets, singles, lots, wrappers and more on eBay by clicking here.