Despite being bought out several times, Score is back for its 20th anniversary in football cards, with its latest edition coming from Panini America, a.k.a. Donruss. This classic set is available in boxes of 36 packs of 7 cards each. The 400-card base set consists of 300 stars and rising performers and 100 rookies.
As is the case with all Donini products, you can expect a bunch of inserts and a whole host of parallels. 2009 Score inserts include Hot Rookies (30), The Franchise (20), Future Franchise (20), Young Stars (20), and 1989 Rookie Reprints (10). The base set and each insert set (except the 1989 Rookie Reprints) has at least 6 parallels, which include Glossy, Scorecard (# to 499), Gold Zone (# to 299), Red Zone (# to 100), Artist’s Proof (# to 32), and End Zone (# to 6). The base set and 1989 Rookie Reprint insert set also have an Inscriptions parallel featuring autographs (# to 20 or less for the Reprint inserts).
Quick note: Each thumbnail leads to a very large image, except for the base card of Ben Roethlisberger. I couldn’t find a higher resolution image for the base card. Sorry for the inconvenience and possible eye strain.
Per box breakdown: 36 packs, 7 cards (252 total) including: 36 rookies (1 per pack), 36 glossy parallels (1 per pack), 1 Scorecard parallel, 1 Gold Zone parallel, 6 Hot Rookies inserts, 3 The Franchise inserts, 3 Future Franchise inserts, 3 Young Stars inserts, 1 1989 Rookie Reprint insert, and 6 other random inserts/parallels.
From the images I have seen, Score seems to be delivering on its budget reputation. The cards are ridiculously cheap (a box of 252 cards will only set you back around $20-$30), but the design shows it. There is certainly no pizazz when it comes to the base set or even inserts (glossy cards are a parallel), so you definitely get what you pay for. For me, I think the base card’s border is a tad over done and there is way too much going on in the background of the other inserts, leaving them with a rather tacky appearance. The one idea I love is the 1989 Rookie Reprints. Donini pays tribute to Score’s early days when they ruled the rookie world in football cards, without feeling the need to create an entire retro set a la Topps and Upper Deck. A set of 10 rookies is a little too small in my opinion, but doing the entire 100-card rookie subset in this design could have been overkill as well. So I guess I’ll take what I can get. Too bad I’m not stoked about any of this year’s top rookies (I still claim Derrick Williams and Deon Butler are severely underrated).
What is your first take? Do you love the chance to build a set or collect cards of your favorite team/player(s) without breaking the bank, or is this low-budget release not worth the cardboard it’s printed on?