Are Aaron Rodgers Rookie Cards The Most Undervalued In The Universe?

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We should all have or aspire to have, someone in our life who looks at us the way that Sunday Night Football announcer Cris Collinsworth looks at Aaron Rodgers. While Rodgers is certainly a polarizing figure, and deservedly so, Collinsworth does nothing but gush over the Green Bay Packers starting quarterback.
 
BUY AARON RODGERS ROOKIE CARDS ON EBAY
 
Unfortunately for owners of Rodgers rookie cards, the trading card hobby does not love the 38-year-old Chico, California native as much as the aforementioned NFL broadcaster does. Rodgers, according to many NFL experts, is a better QB than Tom Brady, but the Patriots signal-caller has been blessed with far superior supporting casts for most of their respective careers.

Brady has six more Super Bowl wins and four more Super Bowl MVP awards than Rodgers, and his personal net worth is more than double (Brady $250 million vs Rodgers $120 million). In other words, Brady is much more high-profile than Rodgers, and it’s fair to say that this increased visibility has a lot to do with why the Pats QB1 has much more valuable rookie cards than the leader of the Pack.

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Most Valuable Aaron Rodgers Rookie Cards

Increased popularity with the general public can exceedingly ramp up the value of a given card, so is that why Brady’s rookie cards are worth so much more than Rodgers’ RCs? Let’s do a deeper dive, starting with the face of the Green Bay Packers franchise.
 
2005 Topps Chrome #190 Aaron Rodgers Packers RC

This white-bordered card showcases Rodgers wearing practice shorts and in the midst of a throwing motion. You can also find a rarer and hence, much more valuable refractor version of this card.

The average sale of a PSA 10 2005 Topps Chrome base rookie card is $4,336.77, Sports Market Report (SMR) values this at $4,000, with a most recent price of $4,550. There are reportedly 237 PSA 10s, currently valued at $4,000

Back in 2018, there were just 199 PSA 10s, one of which did clear $1,000 on eBay in August of that year. In other words,  these cards saw their valuation increase fourfold over just three and a half years.
 

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2005 E-Topps Aaron Rodgers #57 Rookie RC

There were only 1200 of these cards issued, and when they were, they came under the title of IPOs (Initial Player Offerings). Basically, Topps was NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) before such a thing actually existed. That’s because they had a strong digital focus, to complement the physical, real-life aspect.

eTopps didn’t make it because of a.) logistical failures and b.) it was a little too ahead of its time. While eTopps struggled with problems relating to web 2.0 infrastructure and features, Topps Now succeeded because when they brought it back in 2016, the world had caught up to the concept.

These macro-level issues explain why this card is, on a micro-level, very undervalued. There was an auction sale, just two months ago, which topped $1,500. It’s very easy to get a top-tier condition version of this card for well under a grand. If you’re determined enough, you can probably get one for under $500.

2005 Topps Heritage Aaron Rodgers Rookie Card #344

2005 Topps Heritage Aaron Rodgers Rookie Card

A throwback to the early 1950s, with the “TV cards” from a time when television was just starting to take off, this edition is extremely nostalgic. It’s a fun, cool design that evokes thoughts of Mickey Mantle and Jackie Robinson. A PSA 10 sold for $460 in mid-December, according to Sports Card Pro, but another deal saw one fetch $875 just a couple weeks prior.

With a PSA population of 287 in total, 119 cards were able to grade out as a PSA 10- that’s quite a high percentage when you think about it. It’s also a great indication as to investment potential in this card, as you’d want a PSA 10 if you decided to go all in on Aaron Rodgers RC investing.

Most Valuable Tom Brady Base Rookie Cards

 

2000 Tom Brady SP Authentic RC

2000 Tom Brady SP Authentic RC

Last March, one of these cards sold for $180,000 by Goldin, and it happened to be number 1240 out of 1250. It’s not a coincidence, as all the printed cards that numerate beginning with 12 are seemingly more valuable than the others. Why? Probably because “Tom Terrific” is well, jersey #12 and those who are all about Brady are willing to pay the premium for it.

There are 98 PSA 10s out there, currently valued at the PSA value of around $45,000. The most recent sale was $34,801.20, with an average price of $82,655.14.  The 2000 SP Authentic Brady RC has to be one of the brand’s top cards, if not number one of all-time. With a superior combination of price, scarcity, and brand recognition, the 2000 SP Authentic Tom Brady rookie card is our number one pick in terms of ROI over the next 20 years.

2000 Tom Brady Bowman Chrome RC

This is one of just two Tom Brady Rookie Cards released by brands owned by Topps. That in itself creates a lot of interest in this offering because Topps is the 400 lb gorilla of the overall hobby itself. Of the 1098 PSA 10s, the average value is currently just north of $20,000. The PSA price is $15,000 with the most recent price coming in at just under $19,000. The population of this card is currently 1,101. The refractors version of this card is very eye-catching, and one can see why it’s so popular.

Is Their Political Bias at Work?

Tom Brady vs Aaron Rodgers, Socially, Off the Field

Public perception of Rodgers is that he leans more left, politically and that Brady is more so to the right. While there is some truth to this, it’s also a bit more complicated than that, so we’ll do a deep dive on it in a bit. What’s most relevant here is that card collectors, as a whole, are more right-leaning, probably.

Not only do hobbyists as a whole lean to the right, but they do so, most likely, by a substantial margin, but does this really factor into Brady’s popularity, and hence his valuation? If so, how much? Quite a media sensation at the time, a red, “Make America Great Again” hat was spotted in Brady’s locker in 2016.

Brady has been quite outspoken about his long-running friendship with Trump, a relationship that dates back to 2001. After Trump announced his candidacy, Brady said it would be great if Trump won, but after that, he completely stopped talking about politics in public. He admitted that was on the advice of his supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen. He has completely ducked the question whenever he’s been asked whom he voted for, in any election.

While Trump, who has attended Patriots home games and gone golfing with Brady, said the QB voted for him, Bundchen resoundingly denied that.

Given Brady’s tendency to be as apolitical as possible at all times (gotta think corporate branding first!), it’s hard to fathom his truly supporting the Trumpian platform; or any political platform for that matter.

Patriots Owner Robert Kraft is (or now was, reportedly) a close friend of Trump and attended his inauguration. Head Coach Bill Belichick penned an admiration letter to Trump during the Presidential campaign and clearly supported him, but there have been some claims that this is no longer true.

Brady also attended the 2004 State of the Union address, as a guest of then-President George W. Bush, who is also Republican. He also publicly endorsed a Republican who ran for State Auditor in Massachusetts, but ultimately lost. Do people really care about Brady’s politics though? We enlisted New England Patriots columnist and podcaster Thomas Murphy II, of sportsxmedia.com to help us answer that question.

Murphy is a Somerville, Massachusetts native who currently resides in Middletown, Connecticut. He’s been a New England Patriots fan since birth, who’s covered the team since 1998.

I then asked him what he imagines the typical Trump supporter actually thinks of the New England Patriots and that part of the country.

“The typical Trump supporter hates the Patriots, they aren’t from here,” Murph answered.

“Look where the red states are. For close to two decades, Tom Brady has been beating their teams. So, they latch onto ‘Gate’ stories to wrap their heads around why they can’t beat the Patriots.

“I don’t know anyone who has run out and bought a Tom Brady jersey because Trump likes the Pats. Red States and Trump supporters see New England as a place of liberal elitism.”

You really can’t argue with that line of reasoning, and while those insights were spot on, what he said next was more profound:

“Good lord, if I watched sports because I supported the political views of the players, I probably wouldn’t watch sports.”

Very true; and an observation/opinion that is applicable far beyond the Rodgers-Brady debate that we’re having here. In regards to Rodgers, well you can start with his physical appearance, which is very earthy and granola, a stereotype that is synonymous with the left.

His alma mater is the University of California, Berkley which is about as hippy haven as it gets! And while his home state of California is as blue as it gets, his hometown of Chico, CA is more centrist. Both the city and the county it resides in lean liberal, but only slightly.

Rodgers has made remarks on social issues that could be classified as progressive positions, but he is definitely no hero of the left. His remarks about the covid-19 vaccine, and the misleading remarks he made about immunizations previously, pretty much destroyed any credibility he had with the American left.

Alienating himself further from progressives, he explained his position via buzzwords (“woke mobs,” “cancel culture”) that are much more frequently utilized by the right. Rodgers made several false statements about COVID-19, implying that unvaccinated people were not the group most affected by the pandemic. He also claimed he was “immunized,” but admitted he never received, nor plans to receive, the covid vaccine.

While he described himself as not being “anti-vax,” he went on to state several reasons why he believes getting vaccinated is a bad idea. He claims his protection against the deadly virus comes from substances a right-leaning podcast host advised him to use, including the horse medication ivermectin.

“I’ve been taking monoclonal antibodies, ivermectin, zinc, vitamin C and D, HCQ (Hydroxychloroquine- the drug that Trump so infamously advocated for) … and I feel pretty incredible,” Rodgers said to a talk radio show.

In other words, Rodgers has been exposed (or some would say he willingly exposed himself) as a conspiracy theorist and anti-vaxxer. These positions will not get you any new fans on the left that’s for sure.

Rodgers isn’t helped by the public perception of his partner, actress Shailene Woodley, as well, how can I put this? The Simpsons character Rainier Wolfcastle (a very thinly disguised Arnold Schwarzenegger) said of Lisa Simpson to her father Homer: “I see your daughter is one of those whale-kissing, Dukakis-hugging moon maidens.”

Pretty much how a lot of people think of Woodley, and thus what kind of influence she might have on Rodgers.

Tom Brady vs Aaron Rodgers by the Numbers, On the Field

This is definitely a match-up of two of the all-time greatest, with Brady being a 14-time NFL Pro Bowler, three-time first-team All-Pro, two-time second-team All-Pro and three-time NFL MVP.

He’s never suffered through a losing season, and that speaks volumes to just who he is and what he’s about. Meanwhile, Rodgers has nine Pro Bowl appearances, three first-team All-Pro appearances, and three NFL MVP awards. He has set the following records: 122.5 passer rating- season (2011), 0.3%- lowest interception percentage, season (2018), 402 consecutive passes without an interception (2018), 402 consecutive passes without an interception, Fastest NFL QB to 400 career passing touchdowns (193 games), Lowest career interceptions percentage (1.3%), Best career touchdown to interception ratio (4.72)

Brady’s NFL career numbers read as follows. Through Week 14 of the 2021 NFL season, Brady, in 314 games, has thrown 617 touchdown passes, 201 interceptions and 83,338 passing yards. He’s completed 7,156 passes in 11,152 attempts, good for 64.17% and 7.5 yards per attempt. He’s averaged 265.1 passing yards per game, 1.96 touchdowns and 0.64 interceptions; good for a 97.6 passer rating.

Rodgers, on the other hand, has thrown 439 touchdowns, 93 interceptions, and 54,464 passing yards over the course of 209 games. The Packers signal-caller has averaged 260.2 passing yards per game, 2.09 touchdowns, and 0.45 interceptions per game. He’s accumulated a 65.19 passing completion percentage, 7.8 yards per attempt, and a 104.2 passer rating.

Brady vs Rodgers: What They Have Had to Work With

While Rodgers is probably more productive and efficient on an individual level, Brady is much more accomplished in this game, one that is a team sport. The reasons for that are clear- who has been around him, and who has been leading him. Many believe Brady is the best QB of all time, but his long-time head coach, Bill Belichick, is also considered the best at what he does too. The two basically go hand in hand, and you don’t really get the elite-level greatness of one without the brilliant transcendence of the other.

Rodgers has never had a coach even remotely close to Belichick’s level, and the same could be said for the receivers that he’s had to work with. While the Packers have certainly had some excellent receivers during Rodgers’ time in Green Bay, they have never had a Randy Moss, Wes Welker or even a Julian Edelman like Brady has had in New England. While these two franchises are actually very similar at the core, in numerous ways, their similarities don’t really carry over to roster building.

In referring to the first piece on this site that explores this specific topic:

“Through Brady’s first 21 NFL seasons with the Patriots and Buccaneers, his teammates acquired 35 Pro Bowl selections and 19 All-Pro honors. In comparison, Rodger’s teammates have earned 31 Pro Bowl selections and seven All-Pro awards.”

So there you have it, and this is why the story arc of their careers have been so different, and thus the public perceptions associated with the two signal-callers.

Is Tom Brady Just Overrated?

You really can’t find any suitable comps for Brady, as he’s the all-time leader in touchdown passes, Superbowl Titles/Appearances, quarterback playoff wins, quarterback postseason wins, quarterback postseason wins, and Super Bowl MVP awards. He’s also the only QB to win the Super Bowl MVP award in three different decades and to claim the plaudit with two different teams.

Whenever assessing the investment potential of a Tom Brady RC, one has to start with the premise that you are talking about the greatest of all time at the most high-profile position in all of the sports. That is not hyperbole, and it means you will have to pay a premium.

Brady transcends sports in this regard. As an individual pro athlete brand, he’s arguably the safest, most strongly established, and well-known commodity that one could imagine. And given how well he takes care of himself, that shouldn’t be changing any time soon.

Yes, he’s 44-year-old, so his playing days will soon be over, but he’s nearly unmatched when it comes to optimizing the most healthy lifestyle that is humanly possible. He reportedly doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, eats extremely healthy at all times, and wakes up early every day to work out like a fiend. All of this is reflected in his rookie cards, which already have a very high value, especially for an active player.

Once you have first accepted this stark and obvious reality, then you can do a compelling cost/benefit analysis on the investment value of each of his rookie cards. Right now, there is undoubtedly no real risk in his rookie card investments; it’s as blue as a blue-chip stock can get. After all, Brady is colloquially known as The G.O.A.T. (the greatest of all time). But no assessment of Tom Brady vs Aaron Rodgers is complete without looking at the other QBs who can come close to comparing to these two.

Are Drew Brees and Peyton Manning in the Same Class?

The only others who are really on this level are Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. Naturally, we had to look at the values of the PSA 10 rookie cards of these guys

Let’s start with Brees and what he’s accomplished. A Super Bowl champion and SB MVP, he holds the following NFL records:

  • Most consecutive games with a touchdown pass
  • Most pass completions in a season
  • Highest completion percentage in a season
  • Highest completion percentage in a game
  • Most touchdown passes in a game (tied)

He’s also a 13× Pro Bowler, 7× NFL passing yards leader, 4× NFL passing touchdowns leader, and a 2× NFL passer rating leader.

The most valuable Drew Brees Rookie Cards on the market can easily command thousands of dollars. However, at the same time, some of the more common cards from sets without a huge demand can be had for less than $20. For the top tier, we give you this pair:

2001 Playoff Contenders Drew Brees RC Autograph #124

This is the issue you want to get if the price is no object, and you want the best of the best. Only 500 copies of this card were ever produced. Of the 143 submitted to PSA for grading, only 39 were graded at 10. One PSA 9 sold for $4,199 on eBay in July 2018, but since then this card has absolutely skyrocketed in value.

You can find a few PSA 10s for sale on eBay, but everybody is asking for prices in the $20,000s. With Brees retiring, and Canton enshrinement awaiting, his cards should see a surge in value. It’s kind of a busy-looking card, not the most aesthetically pleasing card, but it’s not the worst-looking card out there either. It’s definitely eye-catching.

2001 Topps Chrome Drew Brees Rookie Refractor (#229)

This is a very tough one to find in a PSA 10. There are only 999 of these cards in existence, and only 153 have been evaluated, with just six PSA 10s. One of those PSA 10s fetched $5,767 in an eBay sale during February of 2018. A PSA 9 will run you $4,000-$5,000. While Drew Brees is indeed a living legend, his cards are still nowhere near the valuation of Brady, and he’s not Rodgers’ level either.

It’s a pretty cool-looking issue, with a nice balance to it, and a classic, throwback appearance. If you remember the designs of the junk wax era, then you’ll find this card appealing.

Regarding Manning, he has 2 Super Bowl wins, a big game MVP award and 5 MVP awards. He also holds the following records:

Manning’s very prodigious list of plaudits includes the following:

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1998 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autograph Peyton Manning RC #87

With an on-card signature and a print run numbering only 200, it’s the Cadillac (yes, we know that metaphor is a bit outdated and inaccurate these days) of Peyton Manning cards. This is an iconic, classic card, and the undisputed hobby benchmark for Peyton. It’s not the prettiest card out there, as its design is rather busy and kind of congested, but there is still a freshness to it, which is clean.

It’s very hard to find, and extremely pricey when you do. Sellers on eBay want somewhere in the $30,000s for PSA or BGS 8s, so you can imagine how much a 9 or 10 would set you back.

1998 SP Authentic Peyton Manning RC #14

Among the best of the best when it comes to Manning’s rookie cards. It’s got a great photo, exceptional design and aesthetic balance. Plus, the low-numbered print run makes it one of the best football rookie cards of the decade. The ungraded cards will cost you a few hundred bucks, but the professionally graded editions of this issue can easily go well into the thousands.

When all is said and done, Manning is a much more accurate comp, hobby-wise, to Brady than Rodgers is.

THE VERDICT: Aaron Rodgers Rookie Cards Undervalued?

Obviously, there is a major disparity between the valuation of their rookie cards, but Brady and Rodgers actually sit on pretty much equal footing in another respect- their most popular base rookie cards. So at literally, the most basic level, the two QBs are actually very similar in this hobby. Neither one has especially significant rookie cards that were autographs, or made with other additional add-ons and features, at the time that each card was printed.

BUY AARON RODGERS ROOKIE CARDS ON EBAY

Although five years apart when they broke into the league, they still have this in common. Should you invest in Rodger’s cards right now? Is he the most undervalued investment on the planet? Well, the 2005 Topps Chrome RC quadrupling in value, in just over a three-year period, is certainly a ringing endorsement of the investment potential here.

When it comes to football cards, you kind of have to just tell it is like it is- it’s all about the quarterbacks, and really, not much else. It all starts with the QB and with Rodgers to be one of the most accomplished, productive, and efficient signal callers of all time, now is the time to buy-in. He still needs to win another Super Bowl, maybe two, to enter that very rare air, but if/when he does, well this is a buy low, sell high kind of investment.

Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”

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He owns and operates the Sports Bank and co-hosts the "Let's Get Weird, Sports" podcast on the SB Nation/Vox Media network. He also appears regularly on WGN television, and on numerous sports talk radio programs across the country. He is a former regular contributor to Chicago Tribune.com, NBC Chicago.com, and the Washington Times.com. Paul M. Banks author of two books: "Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America" and "No, I Can't Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry."

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