Let’s keep this gravy train rolling with another product review. Today’s featured entrée: 2010 Panini Certified. These intros get harder to write all the time, especially when doing several in a row, so let’s just jump into this one…
The Box – Click for Detail
Hobby boxes come with 10 5-card packs for a total of 50 cards. I purchased this box from Dave and Adam’s Card World for $85, which translates into a moderate $1.70/card ratio. This is branching into the territory where I start to get nervous, but not out of the question. It’s not Topps flagship and it’s not Exquisite. It’s more middle of the road than anything. Mediocre product in general? Let’s find out.
Mr. Manning sure is getting a lot of face time this year
Base Cards: 46 (2 duplicates)
Rookie Cards (#/999): 2 (included in base card total above)
Gold Team (#/999): 1
Certified Potential (#/999): 1
Mirror Red Parallel (#/250): 1
Fabrics of the Game (#/250): 1
Mirror Jersey Prime (#/50): 1
Mirror Green Autograph (#/5): 1
Freshman Fabric Dual Relic Autograph (#/699): 1
Click images for full-sized scans
FIRST AND GOAL’S FOUR DOWNS:
1st Down, Design: I must say, Panini seems to be moving in the right direction, although their speed in getting there could be improved considerably. This is a decent design. It has enough design elements to lend itself to being a mid-shelf product but it certainly doesn’t look busy. I like that the side border-esque element still incorporates the photo’s background and I really like that the player is cropped by the bottom box, but allowed to free flow over the side borders. It adds an element of depth to the card that is nice. I do wish, however that Panini would stray from making all of their base designs so neutral with the various shades of grey boxes. I’d also like to see team logos on the card front, but I guess that is a minor point. One last suggestion would be something, anything, to vary the card back. After a while, all of Panini’s card backs start to look the same.
2nd Down, Inserts: For once, these are alright, but they could still use a fair amount of improvement. The whole backwards design thing isn’t AS painfully obvious for these inserts, but you can definitely still see it. I still don’t understand the jersey swatch window placement. The Polamalu looks a tad awkward with the obvious crotch shot and I really question the use of an all white jersey swatch on top of an all white, materialistic looking area on the Newsome card. At first, I thought I pulled a huge swatch…then realized most of that swatch was just cardboard. And once again I’m left feeling like on-card autos would have been a better option. Or at least better design work around the labels. Panini, we keep barking at you for backwards designing your cards because you plan where the jersey swatch windows and sticker labels will look good and then simply replace them with terribly desolate design elements to get to the more basic inserts. When we say we want you to do it differently, we don’t mean take the more basic card and just cut out a swatch window or slap on a sticker auto. Design each card as its own. It can’t be THAT hard.
3rd Down, Collation: I definitely was not pleased in this department, as you may be able to tell from my slightly smart ass scans above. No, the box wasn’t completely riddled with duplicates, but when I’m only getting 50 cards in an entire box, I sure as hell don’t want to see duplicates. And what is the deal with making rookie cards so scarce? I understand wanting to preserve the collectibility of them, but what’s the point when they’re so difficult to get in the first place? At the very least you could have given me two more rookie cards instead of veteran duplicates. Not cool.
4th Down, Overall Value: I struggle with this point. If I go by my box alone, the overall value, despite all of the product shortfalls, is fantastic. But that is almost entirely based on the fact that I was lucky enough to pull a Michael Vick auto #/5. There has only been one listed on eBay since the product released, and it sold for the full $400 asking price just 13 hours after being listed. Not too shabby. And yes, my copy is definitely hitting the bay as soon as I get a chance to list another batch of cards. I’m not trying to be greedy, but I’ve got to pay for these boxes somehow. If you got rid of that one card however, I would not feel nearly so optimistic about the overall value of the box. The base design is decent but not great. The inserts are tolerable but not stellar. The hits are adequate but not ground breaking. For $85 a box, I would normally expect a bit more. But then again, why would I expect more from Panini?
RED ZONE RESULTS: MISSED FIELD GOAL The product is by no means a complete throw away. It does, however, have its share of faults. The base design is decent, but it has that typical Panini-neutral flavor. The inserts have a solid theme, but still suffer from backwards design flaws. The collation was pitiful with a 4% duplicate ratio (I do however realize that this is still leaps and bounds above what some junk wax era boxes could boast). Overall, it really isn’t that bad of a product, but nearly all of my excitement was contained in 1 card, and that just not enough to cut it, or to get onto the 1&G scoreboard. I will say, as I said above, Panini products do seem to be improving, at least during this release calendar, they just aren’t improving fast enough for my liking. Hopefully by the end of the 2010 release year, or especially by 2011’s products, they will really start to click and produce some nice sets.
NEXT UP: 2010 Topps Unrivaled