Greatest Business Cards Ever?


In helping to build hype for the 2012 National Sports Collectors Convention, Panini has been previewing items that will be available as part of their wrapper redemption program. Today’s sneak peek is an interesting one. Available exclusively via instant redemption cards are these “gems”:

That’s right, those are authentic Panini America emlpoyee autographed “work-worn” relic cards.

Not impressed? Well, consider these facts: 1) they are being offered as part of the wrapper redemption program exclusively at the National – they will not be inserted into packs of normal product, 2) they are free – Panini doesn’t OWE you anything for opening their product, this is just a freebie perk, so get over it, and 3) Panini itself is poking fun at the idea of having these cards produced. You can read the entire “reveal” blog post here.

At the very least, it gives collectors a chance to meet some of the top “insiders” at Panini America and serves as a conversation starter…a conversation which will no doubt lead to topics such as “What do you like about our cards?” or “How can we better serve your collecting interests?”

Most interesting, to me at least, is the video Panini posted of the making of. Obviously it focuses on these employee cards, but I assume this is pretty indicative of how all relic cards are producedand is pretty cool to watch.

Now, maybe I need to revisit my business card design…


Welcome to the Big Leagues, Kid


Andrew Luck, the star quarterback who is already reportedly the Colts’ number 1 draft choice, is getting used to being in the spotlight. Every writer and analyst who has an opinion on football has either labeled him as the next big thing or a highly overrated soon-to-be draft bust. Almost all NFL talk in the past month has at least mentioned Luck’s name.

Now Luck is getting a little more attention than he may have wanted.

And it stems from a trading card.

Leaf uses Luck’s image to his chagrin

A report was released today that states Andrew Luck’s lawyer has issued a cease and desist letter to Leaf Trading Cards over the company’s use of a photo of Luck from the 2008 U.S. Army All-American game, an event for which Leaf holds trading card rights. Leaf has countered the attack by suing Luck claiming it has every right to use the images from that game.

You can read the full story here.

What do you guys think about this story? Is this another case of a young athlete with an inflated ego trying to pull his weight, or an example of a company trying to capitalize on the popularity of a young blooming star?

Airbrushed Goodness


PhotoShop is pretty awesome. I think we all know this. Here is just one more shining example.

Anyone who has even the slightest interest in football, or perhaps even sports in general, knows all about Peyton Manning signing with the Denver Broncos and Tim Tebow’s subsequent trade to the New York Jets. What some may not realize is how that created a potential problem for card sets. Most collectors hate the red-jersey-from-summer-mini-camp photographs on their cards. A good number dislike the player-in-his-former-jersey-but-with-new-team-card-logo-and-small-“Traded”-notation method. So what else can be done?


Topps has announced that these two high-profile quarterbacks will be shown in their new team jerseys in the company’s first 2012 football release, 2012 Bowman. There are even mock images available already:

Manning and Tebow in their new, albeit airbrushed, unis

Hopefully this example, along with a relatively normal off-season (compared to last season’s labor lock-out debacle), will lead to a much improved image bank for the upcoming football release calendar. Last year was just a bit irksome with so many draft combine and “incorrect” team logos due to everything being slammed into about two weeks before the season started.

This is a good start to 2012.

The Dutch Sternaman Collection


Just got this in from the Pro Football Hall of Fame:

An online exhibit titled, “The Dutch Sternaman Collection” launched today on The online exhibit focuses on the recent donation of a comprehensive collection of original documents from the early years of the NFL and the Chicago Bears.

It represents the most complete collection of its type in the Hall of Fame’s archives including original documents pertaining to one of the NFL’s most important historical events, the signing of Harold “Red” Grange in 1925 and his ensuing cross-country barnstorming tour with the Bears.

I took a look through the online gallery and this is actually really cool stuff. I have gained a greater appreciation for the history of the game through my HOF Spotlight features, and this is right up that alley. There is also a little something to excite the accountant in me, so that is a special bonus.

If you love football and have an interest in the history of the sport, do yourself a favor and visit this online exhibit. You won’t regret it.

Pryor to be Paid for Autos


Topps has sent out the following bulletin:

Topps announces that Ohio State star and recent Oakland Raiders signee Terrelle Pryor has signed a deal to ink his signature on the company’s trading cards.

Pryor will appear as an autograph subject in Topps products starting with 2011 Bowman Sterling Football.

Didn’t I hear something about Mr. Pryor getting paid for his autographs before…?

Bill Simmons Covers the NSCC


A lot of you have probably already seen this, but for those of you who haven’t, here is Bill Simmons’ photo essay of the 2011 National Sports Collectors Convention. As with previous installments, I’m never quite sure how many of the wise ass cracks are actual stabs at sports collectors and how many are really poking fun at himself. As a fan of both, I am quite amused with a vast majority of his reflections.

If you were a hobby outsider, you would probably get the impression from his essay that all sports collectors are awkward, over-weight, middle-aged men with far too much disposable income. As an insider, you are able to discern that while that may be the overwhelming stereotype (just because it’s true doesn’t mean it’s not a “stereotype”), there are plenty of other types of collectors out there.

Well, at least we range in age…

Who Does #2 Work For?


Pop Quiz: What is today?

If you answered “Friday,” “the day after yesterday,” or “a nice day for a white wedding,” you are technically correct. You also happen to be a bit of a smart ass.

If you answered “May 20,” you are also correct. Congratulations on having a calendar nearby. But do you know why May 20 is important (at least to me)?

For those of you following along at home, you may have answered “Ooo! Ooo! I know! 1st & Goal’s second anniversary!” And you, my friends, would be the most correct.

That’s right. Today marks two years since I started 1&G. And unfortunately, much like marriage, the second year is obviously a bigger accomplishment and more monumental, but for some reason the first anniversary just feels more special. That’s not to say I’m not stoked to be posting something for my third consecutive May 20th (think about what anniversary means and you’ll get the math), I just don’t feel like going bonkers by writing an absurdly long, comprehensively retrospective post like I did for Anniversary Numero Uno. I will point out that I did accomplish the one feat I missed in my first year: I successfully held two group box breaks in year #2, simultaneously at that. Woot.

Looking back over the past year, I wouldn’t say I necessarily accomplished everything I had hoped, but I’m still here, so that should say something. I also officially started my own business this year, taking First and Goal Sportscards to the masses in a whole new way. That was fun. I have no where near the time or money I’d love to dedicate to growing that business, but that’s okay. One day at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day (unless you talk to Chuck Norris fans).

Looking forward, I’m not going to be terribly ambitious in year three. I’d just like to keep the gravy train rolling. Obviously I’m hoping to expand my business and find more interesting things about which I can blog, but I’m okay with the status quo at this point in 1&G’s life. I just hope I’m still going strong NEXT May 20.

But because I’m sucker for a good giveaway, let’s have another Birthday Bash Contest. What the hey? Again, I’m going to go with the “mystery prize” concept if only so I can tailor the prize to the winner’s collecting interests. Here’s how it will work:

Find a way to connect to 1&G other than through this blog, and then report back with a comment on this post telling me how you did so. Some examples could be:

   1. Find and “Like” us on Facebook. There is a convenient little Facebook logo near the top of the side-bar. Use it. Click the “Like” button on our Facebook page and then leave a comment here to let me know you did so. Already a fan? Just tell me in a comment here and that still counts. This method is worth 1 entry.

   2. Follow us on Twitter. There is also a convenient little Twitter logo to your right (you may have to scroll up by this point). Follow our Twitter feed and then leave a comment here telling me what your Twitter ID is. Again, if you’re already following along, just let me know and you’ll still be entered. This method is worth 1 entry.

   3. Buy something from our eBay Store. Yep, you got it: Another site, another logo. That will take you directly into our eBay Store where you’ll find a fairly good selection of collecting supplies and various football singles and packs. And you may want to bookmark this page as we’re looking to expand our product offerings in the near future. This method is worth 1 entry per order.

   4. Pre-Order some box(es) of upcoming football cards. What? I can’t pimp my own business? All of the upcoming football releases are available to pre-order in our Pre-Sales Store. Every box you pre-order is worth 10 entries.

   5. Pimp this contest on your own Blog, Facebook page, or Twitter feed. Do so and then just leave a comment here with a link directly to said pimpin’. This entry is worth 1 entry.

Comments on this post for methods #1, 2, and 5 can be consolidated into one comment. All entries must be submitted by 11:59pm EST on Monday, May 30 (Memorial Day). If calendars aren’t your thing, just look at the blog logos. If they are still birthday-themed, the contest is still open. If they aren’t, the contest is closed. How’s that for simplicity?

So there you have it. Technically your entry quota is limitless because you can use any or all of the entry methods above. It might seem a bit selfish, but I’m hoping to begin exclusive Facebook and Twitter content/contests and those will only be fun if people are actually paying attention.

And now, as is tradition around these parts, we we will have the ceremonial singing of “Happy Birthday” by Binky the Clown:

Wow. That was great. I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did.

So until next year, may all of your packs be unsearched, your autos be on-card, and your relics game-used. As for me, I’m still waiting to see what else lies ahead on the Yellow Brick Road…