Product Review: 1996 Playoff Contenders Trophy

As promised, here is the product review of 1996 Playoff Trophy Contenders. I busted this box a little while ago, but only now had a chance for scans and a write up. I have a few more busted boxes, so hopefully I can get those posted soon as well. But without further ado, here’s this one:

First, the product break down. The box contained 24 packs of 6 cards each for a total of 144 cards. I paid $32.05 for the box on eBay (including shipping), which breaks down to just over $0.22 per card, so it was a pretty good deal.

Click image for full sized scan

Beyond the 120-card base set are 60 mini Back-to-Back (1:17), 36 Playoff Zone (1:24), 20 Rookie Stallions (1:24), and a Super Bowl Football Redemption (no stated odds). One side note, I have to guiltily admit that I did pay an extra dollar or two for this box so that I could have the Dallas Cowboys helmets on the box lid. There was one with the Steelers, but I couldn’t pass up Emmitt’s old team, especially since they won the Super Bowl that year. One other quick note on the box, it had a hinged lid, like old school cigar boxes, which I thought was pretty nifty. Now for the pack-by-pack break down:

Pack 1: Edgar Bennett, Ken Norton, Mark Bruener, Carl Pickens, Bert Emanuel, and Chris Sanders

Pack 2: Charles Johnson, Rashaan Salaam, Brett Favre, Charles Haley, Jeff Hostetler, and Steve Young

Pack 3: Sherman Williams, Sean Dawkins, Rodney Hampton, Kevin Greene, Marshall Faulk, and Bam Morris

Pack 4: Curtis Martin, Rod Woodson, Terry Allen, Terry Kirby, Bruce Smith, and Reggie White

Pack 5: Brent Jones, Charlie Garner, Isaac Bruce, Kimble Anders, Warren Moon, and Jerry Rice

Pack 6: Junior Seau, Lamont Warren, Anthony Miller (Playoff Zone), Fred Barnett, Eric Zeiler, and Jeff George

Pack 7: Terance Mathis, Errict Rhett, Daryl Johnston, Dorsey Levens, Tamarick Vanover, and Nate Newton

Pack 8: Eric Metcalf, Robert Brooks, Tony Martin, Barry Sanders, Rick Mirer, and Jay Novacek

Pack 9: Deion Sanders, Cris Carter, Heath Shuler, Mark Pike, Terrell Davis, and Drew Bledsoe

Pack 10: Mike Mamula, Irving Fryar, J.J. Stokes, Chris Warren, O.J. McDuffie, and Zack Crockett

Pack 11: Jeff Blake, Kerry Collins, Natrone Means, Craig Heyward, Bernie Parmalee, and Marcus Allen

Pack 12: Edgar Bennett, Ken Norton, Mark Bruener, Jake Reed, Ernie Mills, and Michael Westbrook

Pack 13: Sean Dawkins, Rodney Hampton, Scott Mitchell, Antonio Freeman, Bill Brooks, and Quinn Early

Pack 14: Brett Periman, Greg Hill, Andre Hastings, Anthony Miller, Rodney Thomas, and Craig Newsome

Pack 15: Wayne Chrebet, Yancy Thigpen, Jay Novacek/Mark Bruener (Mini Back-to-Back), Jim Everett, Tyrone Wheatley, and Troy Aikman

Pack 16: Charlie Garner, Isaac Bruce, Sherman Williams, Carl Pickens, Michael Irvin, and Rodney Peete

Pack 17: Larry Brown, Derek Louille, Dan Marino, Floyd Turner, Ken Dilger, and Gus Frerotte

Pack 18: Eric Metcalf, Robert Brooks, Brent Jones, Napoleon Kaufman, Joey Galloway/Rick Mirer (Mini Back-to-Back), and Curtis Conway

Pack 19: John Elway, Jim Harbaugh, Tim Brown, Harvey Williams, Erric Pegram, and Garrison Hearst

Pack 20: Lake Dawson, Frank Sanders, Calvin Williams, J.J. Birden, Kordell Stewart, and Erik Kramer

Pack 21: Terance Mathis, Errict Rhett, Daryl Johnston, Jake Reed, Napoleon Kaufman, and Curtis Conway

Pack 22: Steve McNair, Jim Kelly, Bryce Paup, Steve Tasker, Ricky Watters, and Herman Moore

Pack 23: Joey Galloway, James Stewart, EMMITT SMITH, Aaron Hayden, Stan Humphries, and Kevin Williams

Pack 24: Irving Fryar, J.J. Stokes, Antonio Freeman (Rookie Stallions), Stan Mitchell, Neil O’Donnell, and Mark Chmura

Click images for full sized scans

1st Down, Design: The Lombardi Trophy border was a nice touch to tie in the theme of the product, which was chasing the NFL crown throughout the season. The name plate in the upper portion of the card was effective and simple. While I liked that the player photos were usually good action shots and in front of the frame, I would have prefered to see the rest of the photograph behind the frame, rather than the faux marble look, which for me, seemed out of place.

2nd Down, Inserts: This was definitely a set builders product as only three inserts were featured (I am not including the Super Bowl football redemption as it did not have stated odds and the redemption was not for a card). The inserts were fairly well designed (SHINY!), but I don’t know how I feel about the Mini Back-to-Back set. I am not a big fan of not only including two players on one insert card, but also putting one of those players on the back of the card. Put both on the front, or just make two seperate cards.

3rd Down, Collation: If this is a set builder’s product, it is also a lazy set builder’s product. With just one box, I completed over 99% of the base set (the only card I didn’t pull was #13 Steve Bono). With 144 cards in the box and very few inserts, I did pull 21 doubles (unfortunately no star doubles), but no triples. I still haven’t decided if it is a good or bad sign when I start pulling players in the exact same order in two or more packs (this happened several times in this box). But with only missing one base card out of 120, I can’t complain too much.

4th Down, Overall Value: I only paid about $0.22 per card, so it’s hard to say it was an overpriced product that was a complete waste of money. However, with the lack of nice inserts and only a handfull of players really pulling money from that year, along with NO ROOKIES (*gasp!*), I also have a hard time saying this box was a steal. If you like “priceless” older wax, it was a good buy. If you are looking for quality cardboard that has some nice resale value, stay away. One saving grace for me was that I did pull the Emmitt Smith base card, even though I had to sweat it out as it didn’t come until pack 23 of 24.

RED ZONE RESULTS: TURNOVER ON DOWNS This product didn’t score any points when it mattered, but it did put the defense in great position to make a quality stop, or even force a safety. In tight games, those 2 points could be the difference.


3 Responses to Product Review: 1996 Playoff Contenders Trophy

  1. Tim says:

    Anytime Rodney Hampton is pulled it’s a good box!

  2. jswaykos says:

    Ha – I like the way you reviewed the box with the downs…

    I also like priceless older wax, so I think it was a good buy!!

  3. cool box… but am I the only one that wishes football cards have backgrounds of grass and other players instead of the photoshopped cutouts that are so common?

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