12 Most Valuable 1991 Topps Stadium Club Football Cards

Written By Ross Uitts

Last Updated: May 11, 2024

On the heels of its trailblazing baseball set, the 1991 Stadium Club football card set offered collectors another premium experience.

With Upper Deck changing the game, Topps answered with a high-end release of its own...

There were no borders.

There were no subsets.

There were no games.

There was just high-quality photography, thanks to a partnership with Kodak.

Two market leaders working hand-in-hand delivered a next-level product for hobbyists jaded by the same old standards.

Collectors responded positively and the market shifted forever.

And in this guide, we'll take a look at the 12 most valuable.

Let's jump right in!

1991 Stadium Club #94 Brett Favre Rookie Card 

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $250

When Brett Favre joined the Atlanta Falcons as a rookie, few would have guessed he'd be a future MVP and Super Bowl champion.

Favre's off-the-field issues with drinking and late nights in the bar scene immediately placed him at odds with Falcons head coach Jerry Glanville.

Glanville doubled down on this as the season wore on, infamously proclaiming that it would require a plane crash for Favre to see playing time.

All in all, Favre attempted just four passes for the Falcons in 1991, all of which came in a hopeless 56-17 blowout loss to the Washington Redskins.

Favre's first career regular-season throw landed in the hands of Redskins linebacker Andre Collins who promptly returned it 15 yards for a touchdown.

Following the 1991 NFL season, Favre's time in Atlanta came to an abrupt end.

The Falcons traded him to the Green Bay Packers for a first-round selection in the 1992 NFL Draft.

In later years, Favre mended fences with Glanville.

"Looking back, everybody who is 25 screws up," Glanville said. "I know I have a lot of times. When I was doing TV though, Brett and I became close. He had some kind of career and I know looking back at it now it is a bad trade."

1991 Topps Stadium Club #94 Brett Favre Rookie Card

1991 Stadium Club #361 Barry Sanders

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $70

With so many fantastic images throughout this set, it's hard to pick a favorite.

But the one on Barry Sanders' card makes an excellent case for being the best overall.

You can almost feel the tension developing in this particular play as the Detroit Lions offense works to create a hole in the opposing defensive line.

Throughout his incredible ten-year Hall of Fame career, that's all Barry Sanders ever asked for and needed from his teammates: just the slightest of spaces to break through.

From there, he would zig and zag his way through the defense, making would-be defenders miss at an incredible rate.

With his compact and speedy running style mixed with an uncanny field vision, Barry Sanders left a legacy as arguably the greatest running back in NFL history.

Only the legendary Jim Brown's 104.3 rushing yards per game outmatched Sanders' 99.8, clearly demonstrating that Sanders may have become the all-time rushing leader had he stuck around.

Yet, after ten years in the NFL, Sanders hung up his cleats after the 1998 season.

Sanders never rushed for fewer than 1,115 yards during those ten seasons, and he set that mark during an injury-plagued 1993 season in just eleven games.

1991 Topps Stadium Club #361 Barry Sanders Football Card

1991 Stadium Club #2 Emmitt Smith 

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $60

The horizontal layout on this card perfectly captures the essence of who Emmitt Smith was as the game's all-time leading rusher.

The elusive back was a nightmare to try and contain in the open field because of his speedy and compact running style.

And you can almost feel the intensity on this card as the New York Jets try to track him down.

This particular run in this image occurred during the Dallas Cowboys' Week 9 visit at Giants Stadium on November 4, 1990, during Smith's rookie season.

But things didn't turn out so hot for the Cowboys that day, as the Jets stomped them 24-9 in front of the home crowd.

For his part, Smith carried the ball 15 times for 55 yards, his longest being a 22-yarder that may have been the one shown on this card.

Despite the rough day for Smith, he'd go on to a very successful rookie year, winning the 1990 Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

And during his sophomore campaign in 1991, Smith led the NFL in carries (365) and rushing yards (1,563) to emerge as one of the top backs in the league at just 22 years old.

1991 Topps Stadium Club #2 Emmitt Smith Football Card

1991 Stadium Club #71 Jerry Rice 

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $60

Regardless of who was under center for the 1991 San Francisco 49ers, Jerry Rice was there to do what he always did.

On the heels of two consecutive receiving titles, the five-time All-Pro receiver was tasked with a challenge.

Rice's sixth-sense partnership with Joe Montana had brought two Lombardi Trophies to the Bay.

After Montana's season-ending injury, the 29-year-old wide receiver was asked to find a workable rhythm with QBs Steve Bono and Steve Young.

For the most part, Rice was successful.

He missed out on an All-Pro designation for the first time since his rookie season but still topped 1,200 receiving yards (1,206) and led the NFL with 14 receiving touchdowns.

The 10-win 49ers missed the playoffs for the first time in Rice's career.

Yet, the positives of the year far outweighed the negatives.

The future Hall-of-Fame WR began to figure out eventual franchise QB Steve Young, and the two built a lasting relationship that would yield another trophy down the line.

1991 Topps Stadium Club #71 Jerry Rice Football Card

1991 Stadium Club #327 Joe Montana

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $60

As incredible as Joe Montana was for the San Francisco 49ers, his story reminds us how quickly one's NFL career can change because of injury.

During the 1980s, Montana relied on his pinpoint accuracy and spectacular field vision to rip opposing secondaries apart in San Francisco's West Coast offense.

Teams did whatever they could to stop him.

Yet few did, and the 49ers would win four rings that span.

And it was only fitting that Montana and the 49ers would end the decade in 1989 with their second-consecutive championship by blowing out the Denver Broncos 55-10 in Super Bowl XXIV.

When the 1990 NFL season kicked off, many wondered if San Francisco might become the first team to three-peat.

Montana and crew rolled right through everyone and into the 1990 NFC Championship Game against the New York Giants.

That's when disaster struck.

A huge hit in the fourth quarter brought Montana to the ground, injuring multiple body parts and ultimately forcing him out of the game.

The Giants would go on to win the game 15-13 and Montana's career would never be the same.

After injuring his elbow during the 1991 NFL preseason, he'd require surgery and miss nearly the next two seasons.

1991 Topps Stadium Club #327 Joe Montana Football Card

1991 Stadium Club #462 Bo Jackson

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $60

There may never be another athlete like Bo Jackson.

To this day, he remains the only person ever to play in both an MLB All-Star Game (1989) and an NFL Pro Bowl (1990).

As a two-sport phenom, Bo Jackson was seemingly in newspaper headlines year-round during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

But then, during an AFC divisional playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals on January 13, 1991, his sports career took a sharp turn when he injured his hip after a 34-yard run.

The tackle that brought Jackson down that afternoon didn't seem all that devastating.

Yet, the angle at which Jackson hit the ground caused him to suffer a dislocated left hip.

He'd miss the rest of the contest and eventually be diagnosed with avascular necrosis of the left hip joint.

Jackson had no choice but to retire from the NFL.

As for his baseball career, the Kansas City Royals soon released him before the Chicago White Sox signed him to a three-year deal ahead of the 1991 MLB season.

He'd only play parts of those three years (missing the 1992 season entirely) with the White Sox before playing one final season with the California Angels in 1994.

1991 Topps Stadium Club #462 Bo Jackson Football Card

1991 Stadium Club #3 Deion Sanders

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $45

During his first season with the Atlanta Braves, Deion Sanders belted a three-run home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 31, 1991, to help Atlanta get the win.

Though the Braves would go on to win the NL West by one game and eventually made it to the World Series, that was the last time Deion suited up for the Braves that season.

His contract with the Atlanta Falcons required him to report to training camp on August 1, forcing him to miss the MLB postseason.

And in his third season for the Falcons, Sanders broke out in a big way.

Emerging as a shutdown corner, Sanders picked off six passes and returned one for a touchdown.

He also posted 49 combined tackles, a sack, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.

But he wasn't just an asset on defense.

On special teams for the playoff-bound Falcons, Sanders returned 21 punts for 170 yards and 26 kickoffs for 576 yards, including a highlight-reel 100-yard touchdown at San Francisco.

Still, he wished he could've continued playing for the Braves beyond the end of July.

So, in 1992, Sanders worked a deal to allow him to play both sports simultaneously, and his legend as a two-sport stud continued.

1991 Topps Stadium Club #3 Deion Sanders Football Card

1991 Stadium Club #264 Dan Marino

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $45

Had the Miami Dolphins' defense not been so terrible in 1991, the team likely would've finished far better than 8-8.

And they wouldn't have missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons.

However, the Miami defense struggled all season against the run, finishing second-to-last in total rushing defense.

And all that yardage led to many scoring opportunities, causing Miami to finish 24th in the NFL in points allowed by giving up 21.8 points per game.

That meant Dan Marino and the Dolphins' offense had to light things up on the offensive side of the ball to have much of a chance at winning.

Marino was happy to answer the call, shredding opposing defenses with his trademark prolific passing style and all-out aerial assaults.

Though he didn't lead the NFL in any major statistical categories, he proved to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league yet again, completing 57.9% of his passes for 3,970 yards and 25 touchdowns.

Marino did what he could to make up for the porous Miami defense, helping the Dolphins' offense to finish third in the NFL in passing, sixth in points scored, and seventh in total offense.

Unfortunately, the postseason just wasn't in the cards for Miami that year.

1991 Topps Stadium Club #264 Dan Marino Football Card

1991 Stadium Club #281 Lawerence Taylor

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $45

After a decade at the top of the NFL, Lawrence Taylor began his slow downward trend toward retirement in 1991.

The New York Giants outside linebacker kicked off his Hall-of-Fame career with three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards in his first six years, including two straight in his first two.

He made eight First-Team All-Pro teams and two Second Teams in his first ten seasons and averaged 12.4 sacks.

During that decade of dominance, the Giants' D finished in the top nine in scoring defense eight times and won two Super Bowls.

As LT went, so did the G-Men.

That's what made 1991 feel so weird.

LT tore a ligament in his left thumb and played through other nagging injuries all year.

He lacked the same explosiveness off the edge, and opposing offense linemen were often able to neutralize him without help.

Taylor finished the year with 7.0 sacks, the lowest output of his career.

He posted two fumble recoveries yet graded out from average to below average in most key defensive metrics.

With their Hall-of-Fame leader off a step, the Giants finished 12th in scoring defense and out of the playoffs at 8-8.

1991 Topps Stadium Club #281 Lawrence Taylor Football Card

1991 Stadium Club #294 John Elway 

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $45

After Super Bowl losses in 1986, 1987 and 1989, John Elway had a reputation as a guy who couldn't quite get the job done in postseason play.

Everyone knows that professional football is as much a team game as any, but right or wrong, Elway shouldered the burden of being a playoff bust.

After a miserable 1990 campaign that saw Denver fall to last place in the AFC West at 5-11, Elway and crew climbed back on top in 1991 with a 12-4 record for a fifth division title in nine years.

As great of a turnaround story as it was, the only thing that mattered in Elway's eyes was bringing a Super Bowl trophy home to Mile High Stadium as the playoffs began.

Trailing 24-23 late in the AFC Divisional Round against the Houston Oilers, the Broncos faithful began to lose hope.

Yet, remaining calm under pressure, Elway marched his team from their own 2-yard line to Houston's 11-yard line to set up a game-winning field goal.

And though he'd get another opportunity for a come-from-behind win against the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game, Denver ultimately fell short, losing 10-7.

While the Bills celebrated at Rich Stadium, emotions back home at Mile High couldn't have been any lower

1991 Topps Stadium Club #294 John Elway Football Card

1991 Stadium Club #60 Ricky Watters Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $40

After Roger Craig left for the Los Angeles Raiders before the 1991 NFL season, the San Francisco 49ers were on the hunt for a new feature running back.

They found their man in the 1991 NFL Draft, selecting Nebraska product Ricky Watters midway through the second round.

It had all the makings of a draft-day steal.

"Ricky's a miniature Bo Jackson," 49ers tackle (and former teammate of Jackson) Steve Wallace said "He has more moves than Bo and better lateral movement. He's able to lower his shoulders and run through people like Bo did."

It was high praise for an unproven rookie.

Watters had the confidence and athleticism to prove Wallace right, yet his body wasn't willing to cooperate in year one.

The 22-year-old halfback broke his right foot in a July practice and was initially supposed to sit out for six to eight weeks.

The rehab process proved much slower and more complicated than expected, and the 49ers ultimately made the call to sit Watters out for the entire '91 campaign.

1991 Topps Stadium Club #60 Ricky Watters Rookie Card

1991 Stadium Club #228 Troy Aikman

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $40

The Dallas Cowboys' 1990s dynasty may have started a year earlier if Troy Aikman's right knee had held up in 1991.

The third-year QB completed 65.3% of his passes in '91 for 2,754 yards with 11 touchdowns against 10 interceptions in 12 games.

Aikman's TD/INT ratio wasn't great, but his completion rate was the second-best of his 12-year Hall-of-Fame career.

On November 24th, Aikman tore a collateral ligament in his right knee, ending his regular season before the team's final playoff push.

Dallas coach Jimmy Johnson said, "We don't want him back until he can be productive and not endanger himself."

Dallas had a great Plan B: let backup Steve Beuerlein play game manager and pound the run with Emmitt Smith.

The Cowboys rallied around the fallen Aikman to close the regular season, winning their last five to streak into the playoffs at 11-5.

That's where a healthy Aikman could have done wonders.

Instead, Beuerlein was bailed out by Smith and the defense in a 17-13 Wild Card Round win over Chicago before submerging the offense in a 38-6 Divisional Round loss to Detroit.

Aikman replaced Beuerlein late in the first half, but it was too late.

1991 Topps Stadium Club #228 Troy Aikman Football Card

1991 Topps Stadium Club Football Cards In Review

Without a doubt, the Brett Favre rookie will always remain the key card in this set.

Given his struggles out of the gate, no one would have guessed it at the time.

But that's the beauty of this hobby.

Hall of Famers don't always start off with a bang, and you never know who might turn out to be a legend someday down the line.

In addition to Favre, there were so many big-name stars to chase in this checklist.

And I remember how amazing it was to see these players on the premium cardstock and photography for the first time.

Unopened Box of 1991 Topps Stadium Club Football Cards

Other information about this set includes:

Checklist: 500 cards 

Distribution: One Series


  • Checklists (#496 - 500)

Insert Sets

  • 1991 Stadium Club Membership Form
  • The Sporting News Offer

I still have fun looking through this set and experiencing the nostalgia that comes with it.

With the quality of today's cards, it's easy to overlook how great many of them look.

But, back in 1991, quality like this was nearly unheard of.

This set definitely has its place in hobby history.