There’s Tom Brady and then there’s the next level of stars below him. That’s what happens when you ring up five Super Bowl wins and four Super Bowl MVP awards; you start separating yourself from the rest of the pack. Nevertheless, the NFL has several top-notch players whose names are in the discussion when the topic turns to the most desirable rookie cards of the 2000s.
Here’s a look at the most sought-after rookie cards of 10 such players.
Perhaps good things do come in small packages? In AB’s first seven full seasons, he’s been named a Pro Bowler six times and is a four-time, first-team All-Pro. His Bowman Sterling RC shows the wideout cradling yet another catch. Of just the 12 that have been evaluated, four have earned PSA 10 status.
Eight-time Pro Bowl running back Peterson wants the ball every play, all day. Though he’s bounced around a bit playing for four teams, the black-bordered rookie card shows him in his original Vikings’ uniform. Once considered difficult to land in Gem Mint condition, of the 461 that have been graded, 227 came back PSA 10s.
Manning’s resumé boasts two Super Bowl rings, two Super Bowl MVP awards and four Pro Bowl selections. His white-bordered Topps Chrome RC appropriately shows him ready to throw a pass downfield. Of the 330 that have been submitted for grading, 111 have earned PSA 10.
Now playing in his 17th NFL season, defensive end Peppers is a nine-time Pro Bowler who strikes fear in the hearts of opposing QBs. His Topps Chrome RC features him ready to rush as soon as the ball is snapped. Its green borders make it hard to find in pristine condition, but of the 108 evaluated, 20 have been graded PSA 10.
Now in his 16th NFL season, Gates has been selected to eight Pro Bowls and is the Chargers all-time leader in receiving yards, receptions and TD receptions. This single shows the bruising tight end running one of his routes. To date, 57 of the cards have graded PSA 10.
Big Ben has been on fire since his 2004 arrival in the Steel City. He’s won two Super Bowl titles and has been named to six Pro Bowls. This rookie issue features him dropping back (what else?), and of the 348 that have been evaluated, 136 are PSA 10s.
An 11-time Pro Bowler, Fitz holds NFL records for most seasons with 90+ receptions (nine) and most TD receptions in a postseason (eight in 2008). This white-bordered rookie card fittingly shows him about to make a catch. Of 157 submitted, 72 have graded PSA 10.
Still the owner of just one Super Bowl ring, Rodgers remains Godlike in Green Bay. Though this RC shows the two-time NFL MVP sporting less-than-exciting Packers practice gear, 199 of the submissions have graded PSA 10.
Brees is now the NFL’s all-time passing leader (72,000 yards and counting). The problem with this card is centering and, due to its Chrome finish, potential scratching. Of the 153 that have been evaluated, only six have come back PSA 10.
The Patriots 6-foot-4 signal-caller has established an unparalleled run of success. The three-time regular-season MVP’s popular rookie card is not particularly difficult to uncover in top grade condition, but prices have been steadily climbing with every Super Bowl ring the future Hall of Famer adds to his collection. Of the 536 submitted featuring the former sixth-round draft pick, there have been 98 PSA 10s.