The Emmitt Smith Rookie and Other Vintage Cards
Emmitt Smith Rookie Card Info
Emmitt Smith was a rookie in 1990 and, because of that, there is no shortage of rookie cards available to collectors. The 1990 Score Supplemental Emmitt Smith rookie card #101T is the primary rookie, but that’s looking at it purely from a value standpoint. In this article I’ll discuss that card, but I’ll also cover all of the other Emmitt Smith rookies issued in 1990 and I’ll also touch on my favorite Emmitt Smith pre-rookie.
1990 Score Supplemental Emmitt Smith #101T
The 1990 Score Supplemental Emmitt Smith Rookie Card, #101T, is Emmitt Smith’s most valuable rookie card and one of the most sought-after football cards of the 1990s. Smith’s card wasn’t included in the regular issue set but was added in the 110-card supplemental set that was released later in the season. The card was an instant hit with collectors because of Emmitt Smith’s fast-rising popularity. During Emmitt Smith’s time with the Cowboys, the team captured three Lombardi Trophies and Smith received multiple honors including being named to four All-Pro teams and winning the league MVP award. He also had a very long and healthy career which allowed him to break Walter Payton‘s all-time rushing record on October 27, 2002.
Any rookie card of a championship-winning running back who bested Walter Payton’s rushing record would be valuable, but there are additional factors why Emmitt Smith’s rookie card is still popular today.
- America’s Team: Where you play matters. It’s one of the reasons why Mickey Mantle cards are usually worth more than Willie Mays cards. Emmitt Smith played for the perfect team to enhance the collectability and value of his cards. The Dallas Cowboys are nicknamed “America’s Team” and have always had a large fanbase across the country. During Emmitt’s career, the Cowboys were often a championship-caliber team and received a tremendous amount of media attention. Being on the right team raised Emmitt’s profile to the degree that all collectors still know his name.
- All-time Rushing Leader: Sports collectors love to debate who was the greatest football player at a given position. One way for a player to be part of the debate is by putting up epic lifetime statistics. The 18,355 rushing yards Smith put up in his 15-year career is simply astounding. Emmitt Smith rushed for 937 yards in his rookie year and then rushed for the same total again in his final season. In the 13 seasons that fell between, he only failed to rush for at least 937 yards in one season. This kind of longevity, consistency, and durability ensures that he’ll always stay at or near the top of the list of all-time rushers.
- Give Him Six!: When you look at Emmitt Smith’s lifetime statistics, it’s not just the rushing numbers that jump out at you. He also had 175 touchdowns, which is a tremendous number. In fact, at the time of Emmitt Smith’s retirement only the great receiver Jerry Rice had scored more touchdowns. This is another reason Emmitt will always remain in the minds of collectors.
One More Factor:
- Bad Set: The 1990 Score Supplemental set is not bad-looking and is pretty good quality for the time, but Emmitt Smith is the only notable card in the set. If the set had more star power it likely would have been produced and sold in larger numbers than it was.
1990 Score Supplemental Set Details
The 1990 Score Supplemental Football set was released as an add-on to the 665-card base set. The set has the same design as the base 1990 Score Football set, but the border is blue and purple. This set featured rookies and players who changed teams during the season and was only available for purchase as a complete set. None of these cards were available in packs. Emmitt Smith is the premier card of the set and drives most of the value. The set does include rookie cards for minor stars such as Reggie Cobb, Derrick Fenner, and Stan Humphries.
- Year: 1990
- Manufacturer: Score
- Set Type: Supplemental (adds 110 cards to the 665-card base set)
1990 Score Supplemental Emmitt Smith (#101T) Card Details
- Card no: #101T of 110T
- Name on Card: Emmitt Smith
- Position: Running Back
- Player Number: 22
- College: Florida
- Year: 1st
- Height: 5′ 9″
- Weight: 199
- Born: May 15, 1969
- Home: Pensacola, Florida
- Drafted: Cowboys #17, 1990
Front of the card
Design: The front of the 1990 Score Supplemental Emmitt Smith card #101T is a vertical layout and has the same graphical elements as the base score set, but with a blue and purple border. The top of the card has four lines leading into the Score logo. Below the logo is a photo of Emmitt Smith that takes up most of the rest of the card and has a blue bar across the bottom with his name and team name. The photo shows Emmitt running with the football tucked trying to evade a New York Giant’s linebacker. The photo is from a game on September 30, 1990. Emmitt Smith rushed for 28 yards that day and scored his second career touchdown in a 17-31 loss.
Buy the 1990 Score Supplemental Emmitt Smith #101T on eBay (affiliate link)
Back of the card
The back of the 1990 Score Supplemental Emmitt Smith card #101T has a vertical layout that is a lot different than what collectors were used to at this time. Instead of a limited color back on rough cardstock, Score printed a full-color back on smooth card stock. The top half of the card is broken into two columns with the left column having the Score logo, the card number, and the Cowboys helmet on a green background. The larger right column has a close-up photo of Emmitt Smith from the shoulder pads up. The bottom of the card has a white strip with Smith’s name in red, a black strip with his number and position and a yellow box that has his biographical information and a blurb featuring highlights from his rookie season.
Emmitt got a late start to the ’90 season but quickly showed flashes of brilliance. He rushed for 121 yards in a Week 5 win over Tampa Bay. After seven weeks, he had carried the ball 88 times for 321 yards, ranking seventh in the NFC. A runner with great moves, balance, and toughness, Emmitt rushed for 1,599 yards at Florida in ’89 (a school record) and had a 316-yard game to set another mark. In three years with the Gators, he ran for 3,928 yards.1990 Score Supplemental Emmitt Smith rookie (#101T)
Emmitt Smith Rookie Card Value
The Emmitt Smith 1990 Score Supplemental card is one of the most valuable football cards of the 1990s. The chart below is from the popular card grading site, PSA. It shows auction prices for the Emmitt Smith rookie card in various conditions.
Keep in mind that prices fluctuate. While PSA is a great way to find out the value of a card, we recommend going to eBay to see what cards are currently selling for on the world’s most popular auction site. Click here to view current auctions for the 1990 Score Supplemental Emmitt Smith rookie card #101T.
Other Relevant Emmitt Smith Cards
The 1990 Score Supplemental Emmitt Smith rookie card (#101T) is just one of many cool Emmitt Smith cards made in 1990 because this is the junk wax era where a lot of cards were being made. I’ll walk through the other Emmitt Smith rookie cards, but first I’m going to focus on one that is even a little older.
1988 Burger King Florida Gators Emmitt Smith #2
Two years before Emmitt Smith debuted in the NFL, Burger King issued a regional set of Florida Gators cards. This one featured their sophomore running back and future College Football Hall of Famer, Emmitt Smith. This 16-card set is all Gators and if you decide to buy one, be careful — this card has been counterfeited. The fakes sometimes don’t have the Burger King logo in the upper right hand corner.
I’m only going to feature one college card in this post, but if you like this one also check out the 1989 Florida Gators Smokey the Bear card. It’s arguably more rare and valuable than this earlier issue Emmitt Smith Florida Gators card.
Buy the 1988 Burger King Florida Gators Emmitt Smith on eBay (affiliate link)
1990 Topps Traded Emmitt Smith #27T
Emmitt Smith appeared in several extended sets in 1990. This is the Topps Traded Emmitt Smith rookie card (#27T) that appeared in the 132-card Traded set. The design of the card matches the base set, but the back of the card is a lighter color and the card numbers have the “T.” Emmitt Smith is the key card in this set, but it does also have a Junior Seau card. Despite his status as a Hall of Famer, the Seau card isn’t as valuable because he also had a “1990 Draft Pick” card in the base set. This set was only able to be purchased as a complete set, so these cards were never available in packs.
Shop for the 1979-83 Coral-Lee Emmitt Smith Postcard on eBay (rare) (affiliate link)
1990 Fleer Update Emmitt Smith #U-40
The 1990 Fleer Update Emmitt Smith card #U-40 is yet another Emmitt Smith Rookie from an extended set. As with Topps and Score, Fleer keeps the same basic design as the base set but adds a bunch of rookie players. These cards are easy to identify because of the “U” in the card numbering convention. This set is a little better than the Topps and Score sets due to the inclusion of Hall of Famer rookie cards for Cortez Kennedy (U-85) and Junior Seau (U-102), as well as stars Ken Norton (U-39), Barry Foster (U-25), and Rodney Hampton (U-11).
Shop for the 1990 Fleer Update Emmitt Smith Topps #U-40 on eBay (affiliate link)
1990 Action Packed Emmitt Smith #34
The 1990 Action Packed Emmitt Smith #34 card is a unique card from the 281-card set. What makes this card stand out, and I mean literally stand out, is that it’s a 3-D card. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but the border and the player on these cards were raised to create the appearance of depth. Action Packed had a pretty short run in the hobby, only making cards from 1989 to 1997. Still, this is a unique Emmitt Smith rookie card that gets quite a bit of attention from collectors.
Shop for the 1990 Action Packed Emmitt Smith #34 (affiliate link)
1990 Action Packed The All-Madden Team Emmitt Smith #9
In 1990 Action Packed also released another small set that was endorsed by John Madden and contained only 52 cards. It’s fair to consider Action Packed a major release set during the 1990s, but I struggle to consider this 52-card issue anything other than an oddball set. Still, this set contained the 1990 Action Packed “The All-Madden Team” Emmitt Smith #9 card which can be considered an Emmitt Smith rookie.
Shop for the 1990 Action Packed All-Madden Team Emmitt Smith on eBay (affiliate link)
1990 Pro Set Emmitt Smith #685
1990 Pro Set is one of two base sets that included an Emmitt Smith rookie card, although it was part of the series 2 release. The 1990 Pro Set Emmitt Smith rookie card #685 has a clean design and features a waist-up photo of Smith carrying the football in a home game against Washington. This is one of several affordable Emmitt Smith rookie cards.
Buy the 1990 Pro Set Emmitt Smith #685 on eBay (affiliate link)
1990 Pro Set Offensive Rookie of the Year Emmitt Smith #800
After Pro Set released 769 cards over two series the company decided to release a final 32-card series that included this gem. The 1990 Pro Set “Offensive Rookie of the Year” card #800 honors Emmitt Smith for winning the NFL’s award for the best rookie on offense. The landscape photo on this card shows Smith running away from Eagles defenders during an October 4, 1990 game.
Shop for the 1990 Pro Set Emmitt Smith “Offensive Rookie of the Year” card on eBay (affiliate link)
1991 Topps Emmitt Smith #360
The 1991 Topps Emmitt Smith #360 is a card worth discussing since it says “Super Rookie” at the top. Some collectors might be inclined to call this a rookie card because the 1990 Topps was an extended set – which makes this Emmitt’s first regular issue Topps card. The reality is there were just too many 1990 cards (both extended and regular issue) to consider a 1991 Emmitt Smith to be his rookie.
Shop for the 1991 Topps Emmitt Smith card on eBay (affiliate link)
Emmitt Smith’s Legacy
Emmitt Smith burst onto the scene with nearly 1,000 yards rushing as a rookie for the Dallas Cowboys, a team that was both popular and ascending. The Cowboys, nicknamed “America’s Team,” was led in this era by a trio of young superstars in running back Emmitt Smith, quarterback Troy Aikman, and receiver Michael Irvin. They also had an offensive line that is considered one of the best lines in history. As the young superstars turned around the franchise Emmitt Smith became one of the biggest stars in the league. Emmitt Smith played in the NFL for 15 years and finished his career as one of the statistically greatest running backs in history.
During his 15-year career, Smith surpassed 900 yards in rushing 14 times and surpassed 1,000 yards in rushing 11 times. He ended his career as the NFL’s all-time leader in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. His statistical accomplishments — along with the three championship rings he earned playing for one of America’s most popular teams ensure that his legend will endure. Here’s a list of some of Emmitt Smith’s accomplishments:
- 1990 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year
- 8 time Pro Bowl
- 4 time All-Pro (1992, 1993, 1994, 1995)
- 1 time Super Bowl MVP (1993)
- 3 time Super Bowl Champion (1993, 1994, 1996)
- 1 time Bert Bell Award Winner (1993)
- 1 time NFL MVP (1993)
- 4 time rushing yards leader (1991, 1992, 1993, 1995)
- 3 time rushing TD leader (1992,1994,1995)
- 2 time yards from scrimmage leader (1993,1995)
- 1 time points scored leader (1995)
- Inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2010
Get a Emmitt Smith Rookie for Your Collection
Do you want to own a 1990 Score Supplemental Emmitt Smith Rookie (#101T)? If so, we recommend starting your search on eBay — the world’s #1 card trading place. Even if you’re not planning to buy one just yet, it’s fun to look at all the great cards currently for sale.
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