I feel like I should have an epic Pearl Jam post seeing as how this past weekend was the Pearl Jam Twenty destination weekend in Wisconsin (and no, I didn’t get to attend), celebrating the band’s 20th anniversary. But alas, you just get another half-assed post that kinda, sorta relates a Pearl Jam song to a card.

Lucky you.

Title: Leatherman
Album: Given to Fly CD Single (B-Side)
Correlation: This one should actually be pretty obvious. The song is called Leatherman and this is a leather “card” of Emmitt Smith. See the connection? No? Well, it’s not a cryptic message, so read it again. And actually, I think there was an insert set a few years back from Donruss actually called “Leatherman,” but I’m not positive about that. I also don’t have any, so this is my best effort.

As a B-Side, there certainly aren’t many video options. Especially when that song also happens to be a rather rare live song. But have no fear, 1&G barely knows the definition of “No” and likes to deliver. So here is a live video for your viewing pleasure.

And if you needed any other football correlation, please note that Eddie is wearing a vintage Walter Payton jersey. But please don’t mind the two bottles of wine by his monitor.

I’m sure they’re full of mineral water.


HOF Spotlight: George Trafton


Name: George Trafton
Position: Center
Pro Career: 1920 – 1932
Team Affiliation(s): Decatur/Chicago Staleys/Bears
College: Notre Dame
Induction Class: 1964

Brief Bio: Like many of the early members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, George Trafton pioneered a position we take for granted in modern football. In an era with loosely-defined roles, Trafton was the first true center and the first to snap the ball with one hand. A fierce competitor who was not afraid to get into an on-field scrap, Trafton was also an intimidating defender who possessed a rare combination of halfback moves and linemen size and strength. Trafton was also a pioneer in team loyalty. While most professional players regularly switched teams, often in the middle of a season, Trafton played his entire 12-year career with one franchise.

Career Stats: 149 games played

Featured Card: 2007 Playoff National Treasures All Decade Signature Cuts #GT. Completing his career even before the 1935 National Chicle set, we look to this much more modern cut signature card for a taste of Trafton. Trivial Beckett value is $300. Unautographed common cards of Trafton (from sets like Fleer Hall of Fame and Swell Greats) can be found for around $1. Trafton autographs fall in the $125-$150 range for checks, index cards, and cards. Many collectors do not like cut signature cards, so these other autographed items could prove to be a nice alternative. If you haven’t formed an opinion about cuts signature cards yet, do some research. Look at listings on eBay, read other blogs (Wax Heaven has discussed this topic quite a bit), and go to a card shop or show to see them in person. If you like them, buy them. If you don’t, avoid them. It is your collection, so you get to make that call. Isn’t that part of why card collecting is so great?

NOTE: You can find all of my Hall Of Fame Spotlight Features by clicking the HOF Spotlight banner above.

Live Today: 2009 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia


Hitting hobby shop shelves and online retailer homepages today is 2009 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia. Carrying a per pack SRP of $40, this product is being released in cases of 18 boxes of 4 packs of 4 cards. Hobby boxes are currently going for about $120, a rather high price tag for 16 cards.

Base CardRookie Premiere MaterialsAbsolute PatchesMarks of Fame
War RoomTeam TriosAbsolute Heroes
Each tiny thumbnail leads to a full sized image

Per Box Breakdown: 4 packs of 4 cards each (16 total), including 4 Material or Autograph cards (at least 1 of which will be an autograph), 1 Rookie, 1 Parallel, 1 Insert, and 1 other Insert/Parallel or Rookie.

I would like to start by saying that when I was younger, I LOVED the Playoff brand. They were sorta high-end, but had some really nice and classy designs. I will admit I was out of the hobby for a few years so I do not know exactly when the change happened, but I know that I am not pleased with this product. Panini, which currently owns the Playoff name, has once again created a Frankenstein checklist with a plethora of insert and parallel sets. Most of the cards feature a relic and/or autograph, proving that Panini is only interested in gimmicks and trying to get the most money out of collectors. Granted, I am not a high-end buyer. I probably never will be because I have too many interests to devote enough money to card collecting to buy those high-end products. Maybe this product will give collectors their money’s worth, but at about $7.50 per card, and that’s going with a big online retailer, I find it hard to believe. Normally I try to give all new products equal share on this site (when I remember that they are being released, sorry 2009 Topps flagship) and just present the facts, a few images, and my humble opinion. But this product takes the cake. I did not even bother typing out the long list of sets included with 2009 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia because there are a total of 95 freaking sets, including all of the inserts and parallels. To see the entire and freakishly long list of sets, you can view the pdf sell sheet here. To me, that is completely ridiculous. It’s as if their design team came up with a bunch of ideas and the manager just said “oh hell, let’s just use them all!”. Either that, or Panini execs are trying to make up for the fact that Leaf R&S and Score looked almost identical this year.

Do some of the cards from this product look cool? Sure. Do I think it’s entirely too expensive? Certainly. The only “absolute” things about 2009 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia? It is absolutely ridiculous and I will absolutely not be buying any.

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.

Die-Cut Goodness


I have never proclaimed to be the most hip or up-to-the-times guy out there, especially in the world of card collecting. This is probably most obvious in my love for die-cut cards. Today, many collectors spend hours and a lot of money tracking down cards that feature game used relics, autographs, and/or the latest prospect to make headlines. Some wax-aholics have grown tired of this trend and have labeled the use of manufactured patches and sticker autos as horrible “gimmicks” used by the card makers to ship an extra few cases to people who still think Beckett’s “hi” value column is gospel. Some people have even gone as far to say that gimmicks have been around for years, which explains the explosion of holograms and die-cut designs in the mid-to-late 90s. Well, if die-cuts were just a gimmick to ship a few more cases, then call me a sucker because I love them.

What you see below are two of my favorite die-cut cards from my personal Emmitt Smith collection (some day I will use other players as examples, but for now, my Emmitt cards are pretty much the only ones I have scanned). The one on the left is the 1998 Fleer Ultra Touchdown Kings insert. The first time I saw this card online, I knew I wanted it. There was just something about the antique feel and all those great die-cut angles that I loved. Needless to say, I made the card my own during one online shopping spree that added several Smiths to my collection.

The card on the right is the 1998 Playoff Contenders Leather insert. I thought this was one of the coolest designs for a die-cut card because it is so simple yet effective. The card is shaped like a football and even has a leather feel to it. I’m not sure exactly what it is made of, but I’m convinced it’s not the normal card stock we have all grown to know and love.

Click images for full sized scans

So maybe I’m a tool for still enjoying these cards, but I’m not too concerned about that. I think part of my fascination with these cards is that it reminds me of my younger days when die-cuts were all the rage (a.k.a. gimmick) and my face lit up every time I was forunate enough to pull one from a pack. There was something special about getting a card of your favorite player(s) that didn’t look like all the others.

I know that I am not the only person out there that still loves die-cut cards. Why do YOU still enjoy your old die-cuts?

HOF Spotlight: Bert Bell


Name: Bert Bell
Position: League Administrator; Owner
Pro Career: 1933 – 1959
Team Affiliation(s): Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, National Football League
College: Pennsylvania
Induction Class: 1963 – Charter Member, posthumously

Brief Bio: In an era before professional football was big business, Bell founded and bankrolled the Philadelphia Eagles in the midst the of Great Depression from 1933-1940 and co-owned the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1941-1946. As NFL Commissioner from 1946-1959, Bell was a pioneer. He established far-sighted television policies that protected much needed gate revenues for home teams while allowing fans of away teams access to previously unavailable games. Bell recognized the NFL Players’ Association despite heavy opposition from league owners. He also established strong anti-gambling rules which proved to be the beginning of strict NFL conduct codes. Bell viciously fought and eventually saw the merger with the rival AAFC league. Bell suffered a fatal heart attack while attending a game between “his two teams,” the Eagles and Steelers.

Featured Card: 2006 Playoff National Treasures Charter Class Signature Cuts #BB. Obviously as a non-player member, it is difficult to find cards of Bell, although his induction certainly helps as several junk wax era sets and modern autograph insert sets focus on HOF members. Trivial Beckett Value is $450.