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Best Earl Campbell Rookie Cards Summary

1979 Topps Football RC #390

1979 Topps NFL Leaders #3


Earl Campbell (03/29/55) is a retired RB who was the first draft pick back in 1978. He played for the Houston Oilers and New Orleans Saints until 1985 and achieved a lot in a short time. 

He was named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year in his first three seasons, won the Rookie of the Year award, and was the AP NFL Most Valuable Player in ‘79.

Given the strength of his CV, we’ve come up with a list containing everything you could need to know about Campbell’s RC options.

Campbell has several pre-rookie cards, but his association with Topps ended after 1979. Negotiations between the two parties broke down, and he never had another Topps card for his playing career.


1979 Earl Campbell Topps Football RC #390

Seen as Campbell’s definitive RC, the 1979 Topps is one of his most valuable cards that money can buy. It features a simple profile shot of the RB, staring towards the camera. His white shirt does blend into the background somewhat, giving it a bit of a ‘floating head’ appearance.

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It has a thin yellow and black borderline, with a football-shaped space to note that he was an AFC All-Pro RB. Despite the simplicity, it’s difficult to find copies in decent condition due to the age of the card.


1979 Earl Campbell/Walter Payton Topps NFL Leaders #3

It’s nowhere near as collectible as the RC seen above, but this card is another Topps release that has Campbell on the front. He shares the NFL Leaders card with Walter Payton, who was regarded as one of the greatest running backs of all time. (Payton passed away before his time in 1999, following problems with a rare liver disease.)

Earl Campbell Rookie Year Stats: 15 games | 1450 rushing yards | 13 TD

You’ll find an image of each player on the front of the card, split into separate square boxes. Peyton is wearing a helmet, but Campbell is available to see in all of his ‘70s glory.


Earl Campbell Rookie Cards: Buyers Guide & Investment Outlook

  • Investment Rating: Buy (3.8 out of 5)
  • Ownership Disclosure: None
  • Best Earl Campbell Rookie Card: 1979 Topps Rookie Card

Campbell had a stellar career, with multiple Pro Bowl appearances and a lasting impact on those he came up against. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991 and the College Football Hall of Fame a year before.

“His ‘79 Topps is one of the better cards from the year and is undoubtedly the pick of the set”

It’s worth a significant amount when looking at higher PSA grades, and it’s not like there are many other options from the era to choose from if you’re looking at Topps sets. 

Versions like the NFL Leaders aren’t bad either, even if they will never compare to the RC in terms of values or interest. It’s unsurprising that Campbell’s cards are some of the better releases from the last 1970s, and they look to be a solid investment in the long-term.

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