Here is a funny realization. When I was getting ready to write this product review, I thought I’d go back and remind myself of how I viewed 2010 Panini Threads to see how much the product has changed. Right in the intro, I mentioned how I wasn’t doing so well with doing product reviews on a timely basis or even in order of release. I mentioned “If I do this again next year, hopefully I’ll be more relevant than I’ve turned out to be this year.” Yeah. About that.
On that note, here is a product review of a product that released about two months ago:
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 $87.50, which translates into a $0.46/card ratio. That is an increase over last year, although I have a feeling I got a discount last year for buying the box so late, but it still lands Threads squarely as a lower mid-shelf product.
Panini picked a good year to opt for rookies over Peyton for its packaging
Base Cards: 177 (7 duplicates)
Rookie Cards: 24 (included in base card total above)
Silver Parallel (#/250): 2
Gold Parallel (#/100): 1
Platinum Parallel (#/25): 1
Star Factor: 3
Gridiron Kings: 2
All-Rookie Team 2010: 1
Heritage Collection: 1
Triple Threat: 1
Rookie Auto (#/299): 2
Heritage Collection Jersey: 1
Heritage Collection Jersey Prime (#/50): 1
FIRST AND GOAL’S FOUR DOWNS:
1st Down, Design: In a word: decent. Last year’s design was spotty at best. Ultra-neutral. No logos. Blech. This year is better. We have material-esque design elements which tie in nicely to the “threads” theme of the product. We also have team color schemes right on the front of the card and team logos to boot. The card back is fairly attractive and shows a strong correlation to the card front. But while the product design is improved from last year, it could improve even more. The team logo is often lost in the photograph’s background. I’m personally not a fan of an all-horizontal set (issues with 9-pocket pages), but that is strictly a matter of opinion. Lastly, while I love the fact that the rookie cards look nearly identical to the veteran cards, I thought the photography used was terrible. Granted, when nearly all summer activities are cancelled and you can’t show anything college related, there aren’t a lot of options for rookie photographs.
2nd Down, Inserts: In a word: meh. The inserts, in my mind, were terrible. The parallels aren’t all THAT different, other than their serial numbers. The base inserts have obvious backward design flaws and just don’t do anything for me at all. I was especially a fan of the base heritage collection card. Could we make it any more obvious where the jersey swatch window has been replaced than with a beige fabric looking square? Yikes. The autographs were better than last year in that there was a faded area added to the card to help the autograph label “pop,” but there is still no evidence of actual effort to make the autograph cards special. Last year’s saving grace was the Gridiron Kings insert. This year, that is no longer the case. I’ve loved Gridiron King inserts of the past and this one fell terribly short. The artistic PhotoShop filter and slightly canvasy card stock don’t replicate original artwork on premium stock. For shame.
3rd Down, Collation: In a word: improved. Last year, I pulled 177 base cards with a staggering 21 duplicates. This year I pulled 177 base cards and just 7 duplicates. I am almost never comfortable with duplicates from a single box, but at least the duplicate rate was slashed by 2/3 from last year. The obvious pickup was rookie cards. Last year’s box yielded just 6 (1 in 4 packs) while this year’s gave 24 (1 per pack). That’s another marked improvement. I wouldn’t say the collation was spectacular, but improvement in any area is appreciated.
4th Down, Overall Value: In a word: lacking. I just don’t see this being a hugely valuable product. I’m sure there are some great chase cards that could more than pay for several boxes, but the average card just won’t pull its own value in card stock. The base set, while better than last year, still isn’t something to write home about. Overall, I would say this was a rather forgetable box break. I’m not saying you won’t have better luck or won’t like the set, but after buying and reviewing as many different products as I have (which pales in comparision to others) I would put 2011 Panini Threads amongst the lower tiers of esteem.
RED ZONE RESULTS: LOST FUMBLE Specific elements of the product are definitely better than last year, but the overall product is still a lost cause in my opinion. I just didn’t feel like I had opened something special after all of the packs were empty. Some products have an overall appeal and you think “wow, that was fun” after busting a box. Some products deliver a few outstanding cards even if the majority were worthless. With 2011 Panini Threads, I didn’t get either of those feelings. As it turns out, 2011 Panini Threads is just another forgettable product from Panini America that fails to light up the scoreboard.
NEXT UP: 2011 Topps Finest