With football season in full swing, card collectors continue to scramble for cards of their favorite gridiron warriors. With a host a young, talented players in the game right now, hobbyists are trying to determine on which issues to focus. As most collectors realize, with rarity comes demand. Below is a quick breakdown of some of the more desirable modern football card issues from the 1990s to present and why each issue presents a challenge for collectors of PSA Gem Mint 10 examples.

Some of the key modern football rookies:

  Card Population in 10 Total Number Submitted
1 1981 Topps Joe Montana 27 5,363
2 1984 Topps John Elway 18 8,855
3 1984 Topps Dan Marino90 10,196
4 1984 Topps USFL Steve Young 0 570
5 1986 Topps Jerry Rice 22 7,937
6 1986 Topps Steve Young 3 2,301
7 1990 Score Supplemental Emmitt Smith 53 2,814

Some of those population numbers are astonishing considering that most collectors submit the best of the best for grading. Here's a peek at some more issues that can cause the Gem Mint 10 collector headaches.

1991 Stadium Club Brett Favre #94 - The combination of very poor packaging and the fact that the card is multicolored make this a tough find in top condition. What is even more interesting is the fact that Favre, an almost certain Hall of Famer, seems to be undervalued in comparison to other modern quarterbacks with similar or lesser NFL resumes. Currently, in comparison to other star quarterbacks like Montana and Manning, Favre's rookie card appears to be a bargain. He may be past his prime, but it is probably a good time to buy. Only 78 of 4,334 copies have reached the Gem Mint 10 level.

1993-1997 SP - These cards are incredibly susceptible to chipping because of the foil design. Players like Marshall Faulk, Drew Bledsoe, Mark Brunell, Corey Dillon, and Jake Plummer are all examples of players who seem to show the potential for growth during the next season or so. The PSA Population Report shows, for instance, that only 17 of well over 1400 Bledsoe rookies have reached the PSA 10 level. Amazing!

1995 Bowman's Best - The combination of poor centering, easily chipped blue borders and occasional print lines makes this issue a tough one. You almost never see Gem Mint 10 examples of these cards offered at shows or on the Internet. Many modern football dealers feel that these cards represent a great value at current market levels. In fact, if you compare the baseball issue to this one, the disparity in price seems too great. At this point in time, only 355 of 3,824 cards submitted have reached the Gem Mint 10 level. That's less than 10%!

1995 Select Certified Mirror Gold - These cards are nearly impossible to find in top shape. With printer lines and surface scratches wreaking havoc on this issue, the demand should continue to outweigh the supply in the coming months. Here are some of the mind-boggling population numbers for collectors to review:

  Card Population in 10 Total Number Submitted
1 Kordell Stewart 10 134
2 Curtis Martin 12 156
3 Napoleon Kaufman9 88
4 Terrell Davis 49 548

In most cases, the percentage of PSA Gem Mint 10's falls under the 10% range. These are very tough cards.

1996 Topps Chrome - The centering on this issue is simply all over the place. Add to that the fact that print lines and other surface defects make these cards nearly impossible in Gem Mint 10 condition and you have an issue in high demand. One of the cards that some football collectors feel has major potential is the Eric Moulds card. Maybe a fresh start will catapult this young star into super stardom, his card is very reasonably priced at this juncture. Here's a look at some of the other keys:

  Card Population in 10 Total Number Submitted
1 Keyshawn Johnson 41 834
2 Eddie George 53 984
3 Marvin Harrison 39 681

The percentage of 10's is only about 5% across the board, this is one of the toughest issues in the modern era.

1999 SP Authentic - This is another awesome Population Report rarity for the modern era. In fact, many would argue that these might be the toughest cards produced in the 1990's. They are even tougher than the 1998 issue because of the soft, white card stock used in production. The factory stamped versions are in high demand while the hand numbered, replacement 10's are selling for less than 50% of the factory counterpart. Here's a peek at some of the population numbers:

  Card Population in 10 Total Number Submitted
1 Edgerrin James 21 428
2 Donovan McNabb 2 141
3 Tim Couch 5 239
4 Shaun King 5 210
5Daunte Culpepper 25 390
6 Tory Holt 4 135
7Akili Smith 3 170
8Ricky Williams 7 305

There you have it. Modern football rarities in PSA Gem Mint 10 continue to hold strong and offer the collector the chance to own a card that is scarce and a card that still holds potential as many of the young stars of today are still making history of the football field.

Good luck!

The PSA 10 is one of the toughest on the list
The PSA 10 is one of the toughest on the list
If Edgerrin keeps running, this PSA 10 rookie will surge
If Edgerrin keeps running, this PSA 10 rookie will surge