Panini America Explores 51 Epic Tom Brady Cards to Honor Super Bowl LI Performance

February 06, 2017


Well . . . that was incredible. Just when you thought New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady couldn’t possibly add any more luster to his legendary career (like, it was literally humanly impossible for him to do any more), he delivers a Super Bowl LI performance for the ages. It defied logic. It defied reality. It defined Brady, a fierce competitor who’s been beating the odds and the experts since entering the NFL in 2000 as a lightly regarded sixth-round pick.

Trailing the Atlanta Falcons by a startling 25 points midway through the third quarter, Brady’s drive for a record fifth Super Bowl title seemed . . . lost. Really, though, Brady and his Patriots were just getting started. Over the course of the next 28 or so magnificent game minutes (spanning regulation and overtime), the Patriots scored 31 unanswered points (two Brady touchdown passes, two James White runs, two two-point conversions and a Stephen Gostkowski field goal) to cap the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.

Brady got his fifth ring, more than any other quarterback in NFL history. The Patriots got their fifth Super Bowl title, just one shy of Pittsburgh’s record of six. In the process, the 199th player selected in the 2000 NFL Draft penned another eloquent chapter in an unparalleled career, claiming his unprecedented fourth Super Bowl MVP Award while establishing new Super Bowl records for completions (43), attempts (62) and passing yards (466). It was, in short, an artist painting his greatest masterpiece.

For those counting at home (and we know you are), Brady’s staggering career statline reads something like this: 61,582 passing yards. 456 career touchdown passes. 183 regular-season wins. 14 AFC East championships. Seven AFC titles. Five Super Bowl rings. Four Super Bowl MVP awards. More touchdown passes . . . and passing yards . . . and completions . . . and attempts than any player in Super Bowl history. Indeed, when it comes to the on-field accolades that matter most, Brady has them all. And because he does, he also has most of the accolades that matter in the sports-card world, too.

Brady’s 2000 Contenders Football Rookie Card is a bona fide collecting icon that means as much to the modern era as, say, Mickey Mantle or Babe Ruth RCs mean to the vintage arena. And to think, that now-landmark Contenders Rookie Ticket Autograph — card No. 144 on your checklist — started out as little more than afterthought filler when it released in January of 2001. The first published value for that card appeared in the the March 2001 issue of Beckett Football: $20.

Today, that card, which ascended to a seemingly unfathomable value of $1,600 in late 2007, is valued by Beckett Media at $3,000. Yesterday it was valued at $1,200. The Championship Ticket parallel version limited to just 100 copies is valued at $5,000, up from yesterday’s pre-LI value of $3,000.

But even those staggering values pale in comparison to the $10,201.01 someone paid in late November for a Gem Mint 10 copy of the 2000 Contenders Rookie Card. Clearly, much has changed for Brady — on the field and in the hobby — since his days as a fourth-fiddle rookie who barely made New England’s final roster coming out of his rookie training camp.

Seventeen years later, the seventh quarterback selected in the 2000 NFL Draft (behind Chad Pennington, Giovanni Carmazzi, Chris Redman, Tee Martin, Marc Bulger and Spurgeon Wynn) is largely considered the greatest quarterback selected in any NFL Draft. As a result, his best Panini America trading cards are treated — and coveted — like priceless artifacts.

In the staggering showcase that follows, we honor the Patriots’ legendary No. 12 and his otherworldly performance in Super Bowl LI by showcasing 51 of his Panini America cards — new and old. Collectively, the cards represent a wealthy share of “Wow!” — which just might be the best way to sum up the career of one of the greatest quarterbacks we’ve ever seen.

Enjoy the imagery . . .