Friday, January 8, 2021

How does a team making the NFL playoffs impact the value of a player's cards?

Today's post comes courtesy of guest author, JJ Hendricks of SportsCardPro. With the NFL Playoffs quickly approaching he approached me with a great topic of how making the Playoffs impacts the value of player's trading cards.


NFL Week 17 always has key games with major playoff implications. One team wins and they make the playoffs. Another one loses and their out. Other teams wait in the balance hoping for a favorable result in another game. One game can make or break a team's playoff dreams. How does a team making the NFL playoffs impact the value of a player's cards?

Looking at the data from Week 17 of 2020 NFL season we can compare players who made the playoffs with those who didn't and see how their card values changed from before a game to after a game and know how playoffs impact football card values.

Players in the Analysis

Below is a table with the quarterback and season leading running back and wide receiver for six teams with their 2020 playoff hopes in question heading into Week 17.

PlayerTeamWon/Lost Week 17Made/Missed Playoffs
John WolfordRamsWonMade
Cam AkersRamsWonMade
Robert WoodsRamsWonMade
Alex SmithWashingtonWonMade
Antonio GibsonWashingtonWonMade
Terry McLaurinWashingtonWonMade
Mitchell TrubiskyBearsLostMade
David MontgomeryBearsLostMade
Allen Robinson IIBearsLostMade
Daniel JonesGiantsWonMissed
Wayne GallmanGiantsWonMissed
Sterling ShepardGiantsWonMissed
Kyler MurrayCardinalsLostMissed
Kenyan DrakeCardinalsLostMissed
DeAndre HopkinsCardinalsLostMissed
Andy DaltonCowboysLostMissed
Ezekiel ElliottCowboysLostMissed
Amari CooperCowboysLostMissed

These are players and teams that could be in or out of the playoffs based on this final game. It does not include teams already in or out of the NFL playoffs or teams who's position in the playoffs might change after Week 17 games (wildcard vs bye, etc).

The Price Data

The football card values are compiled by and based on the average price paid on eBay for one card for each player 1-2 days before the game and 0-2 days after the game.

For comparison, the exact same card, parallel, and grade was used. Panini Prizm rookie cards were used if sales data was available for that card before and after the game. If not, then 2020 or 2019 Prizm cards were used instead.

The value of cards for players making the playoffs increased an average of 18.4% while those that missed the playoffs decreased 8.1%.

Making NFL Playoffs: Impact on card prices

Card collectors want to buy cards for players who's season can continue and maybe make a run in the playoffs, so the value of those cards increases.

But not all teams get into the playoffs in the same way. The Bears lost in Week 17 but still made the playoffs because the Cardinals lost. The NY Giants won their last game but still missed the playoffs.

Does a teams's final game win/loss impact card prices too?

Win/Loss in Week 17 Game: Impact on football card prices

Player's whose teams won their last game saw their cards increase 24.8% on average vs. a 4.3% decline for losing players.

What if we compare card prices for players that won the last game AND made the playoffs vs. players who lost their last game and missed the playoffs. How do those card values change before and after the game?

Won Playoff spot vs. Lost Playoff spot: Impact on prices

Winning a playoff spot led to 40.3% increase in card value while losing a playoff spot leads to a 8.6% decrease.

The teams that won their playoff spots (Rams and Washington) still have Super Bowl hopes and played well enough to win. Card collectors are willing to pay more for those cards in hopes of future good performance.

Teams that lost their playoff spots (Cardinals and Cowboys) are done for the season and ended with a loss. Football card collectors won't pay as much for those players anymore.

When picking future football cards to buy, aim for players you think will win their Week 17 games AND make the playoffs. Those should have a nice jump in value in only a few days.


  1. Interesting. My buddy is sitting on a fairly rare John Allen rookie card. He's hoping for a big game and then unload it, and knows he might be out of luck of Allen throws for 160 yards and 2 INTs and loses.

  2. This information doesn't surprise me, because when a team makes the playoffs there's a better chance that even non-collectors want to grab a card for their spouse, friend, kids, or even for themselves to display in their office. Back in the late 90's, I remember the Broncos won the SB and even though I live in Niner and Raider Nation... random people would come in looking for Broncos stuff. It'll be interesting to see just how much the cards jump in value for this year's eventual SB champion.

  3. I don't remember Cam Newton RCs jumping the year the Panthers went 15-1 and made it to the Super Bowl...but I can see how making the Playoffs does have a positive impact. How many people hit eBay to search for a card when a player has a breakout game during the regular season. The Playoffs just magnifies everything.