The first official NFL set of 2010 is here! After months of only having draft-themed and prospect sets, football collectors can finally get their hands on new cards of their favorite veterans, as well as the first official rookie cards for the 2010 draft class. Upper Deck’s new NCAA exclusive is still causing ripples as you will note none of the rookie cards feature college logos. As the first official NFL product however, at least these cards have the rookies paired with their new professional teams, simply sans jersey (we will have to wait for 2010 Panini Classics for our first taste of that).
Hobby boxes come with 24 8-card packs for a total of 192 cards. I purchased this box from Dave and Adam’s Card World for $94.49 shipped, which translates into a $0.49/card ratio. This certainly is not basement level bottom shelf, but it is expected for pre-season sets, especially without many “hits” per box.
At least 1 RC in each of these
Veteran Base Cards (#1-200): 146 – 73.0%
Rookie Base Cards (#201-300): 24 – 24.0%
Xtra Points Parallels: 8
Gold (#/250): 2
Red (#/100): 1
Purple (#/50): 1
Draft Picks Light Blue (#/999): 3
Inserts: 12 (2 League Leaders; 1 Inside the Numbers; 1 Connections; 1 Stars of the NFL; 1 Rookie Review; 3 Prestigious Pros (1 Blue; 1 Green #/250; 1 Black #/25); 2 NFL Shield Logo; 1 Touchdown Sensations)
Jersey Cards: 2 (1 Touchdown Sensations Material #/250; 1 Touchdown Sensations Material Prime #/50)
Autographs: 2 (2 Draft Picks Rights Autos – 1 #/799; 1 #/399)
FIRST AND GOAL’S FOUR DOWNS:
1st Down, Design: For a Panini set, this base design actually isn’t too bad. It has a fairly clean feel with an obvious player focus. I really like how the player is “on top” of the design elements while the rest of the photograph appears to be behind it–a nice subtle graphic tactic. I’m not sure I see the point of fading the picture, though. I’m also not a huge fan of the fact that the team box is so large. Having the all the fonts run nearly vertical were annoying enough, but it really doesn’t help that it consumes 1/3 of the card front. I’m actually not going to touch the rookie cards. It’s nice to see rookies paired with NFL logos, but these cards are not good. It’s obvious there are autographed versions and I definitely do not like that all 100 rookies are horizontal while all 200 veterans are vertical. This is the same set, right?
2nd Down, Inserts: Too many! As a mid-to-late 90s guy, I generally love inserts, but these do nothing for me. No only are there a bunch of insert sets (and you get a total of one of each in the box, on average), they also have parallels. I’m also not a fan of the meaningless parallels. Topps is the only one who really seems to be able to pull of the parallel concept with their Chrome lines. Panini is terrible at parallels. As others have said, it is obvious their design team(s) design cards backwards, starting with the jersey/auto cards and then just start removing elements to get to the basic card, which just wind up looking awkward. The “chase” cards (if you can call them that from a pre-season set) do look pretty good though. At least they got that part right. Lastly, I do not get the point of the NFL Draft Shield logo inserts at all. The player is barely visible and they all wind up looking identical. Why are these necessary?
3rd Down, Collation: This is by far the best feature of this box. I did not pull a single double out of 192 cards and although I don’t like there being so many inserts and parallels, I generally got an example of each which is good. I may not appreciate the Stars of the NFL insert set, but I would rather get one of them than another prestigious pro (unless prestigious pro was the only insert set, which I wouldn’t complain about). Hopefully the entire print run was collated as well as this box.
4th Down, Overall Value: I suppose it depends what you collect and who you pull. The average jersey and autographed cards from this set won’t rake in tons of money, but the first official rookie cards and NFL autographs of guys like Tebow and Bradford will obviously make up for the others. If you are a set collector, there are 300 cards to find and the collation appears to be good, but there might be too many insert and parallel cards for you to get too excited about buying several boxes of this stuff. Overall though, the average card price is just $0.49, so there is certainly no large investment involved and I do admit the cards look decent.
RED ZONE RESULTS: MISSED FIELD GOAL While I like the general concepts in this product, and I think the base cards look pretty good, there were just a few graphical elements that threw me off, coupled with rather excessive insert/parallel inclusion. This is definitely an improvement over some of the releases from Panini in 2009, but quite honestly, it still does not compare to a lot of the sets produced by Topps and Upper Deck in recent years. Maybe that is comparing apples to oranges, but if I really like apples, why would I need to bother with oranges? In the end, this set wasn’t able to get on the scoreboard, but turning the ball over so deep in the enemy’s terroritory could lead to a great defensive play. It’s not a definite, but the possibility is there.
NEXT UP (tentatively): 2010 Donruss Elite