Elite is an interesting product, if not only because of its place in the hobby, measured against the lack of true changes to anything regarding the set in many years. It has been around forever, going back to the previous eras of modern cards, and in football, the same is true. The problem is that in many cases, the product isnt really as relevant any longer because of the shift towards higher end releases in recent years. This year's set is the same configuration as it was prior to its disappearance in 2015.
Here are some of the bigger hits up so far:
I dont actually mind the base design all that much, but it seems like Panini is trying to rebrand the look of the set without really putting much effort into it. It has always looked more along the lines of what we saw with other pre-season sets and less about crazy patterns and stuff. The low numbered cards and parallels have always been a fun part of the set, and with a few major exceptions, Elite has been nice. The die cuts that have become synonymous with the set are even tasteful and not gimmicky.
My one complaint here is that there is a college element AGAIN with this set. Stickers and college jerseys are becoming the Panini M.O. and it is fucking annoying. We have premiere photos in the set, so I know Mini camp stuff and retouched action shots with pro uniforms are available. Im not seeing a lot of it.
The main box hits are the Pen Pals this year, and they literally make me want to claw at my eyes to make the pain disappear. Its retouched NFL profile pics, and the players look about as goofy as ever. They are borderline mug shots, and it is complete fucking garbage. Considering how good some of the on card stuff has been in the past for Elite, this is a giant slap in the face.
Overall, Elite will be forgotten by the time things really get going and Panini should be ashamed of themselves for that reason. Elite is a big brand for them and thanks to poor planning and product positioning, its a joke. Really too bad, because I was excited when I heard it was coming back. Then again, all products are coming back, including the shitty ones, as Panini needs all the help they can get to make their exclusive work.