Let me start off by saying that I consider Immaculate to be Panini’s preeminent super premium product. Although it does have its drawbacks, it offers the content that I believe should be in products that cost significantly more money. The design has been the best that Panini does for any of their sets, and as a result, I believe that it is much more impressive than sets like Flawless or National Treasures. This year looks to be no different.
Here are some of the bigger hits up so far:
Because this is a direct port from Basketball to Football, the designs are basically identical – something that we should all be happy about. The best cards in the product are the jumbo patch autos, which remain some of the best auto patch cards that Panini makes. Being that they have some hard signed cards from non-rookies all over this set, it only makes these cards that much more desirable.
I also like the normal auto patch design as well, although I dont find it as attractive as the jumbos. Obviously, that is a likely situation to happen, so im not too concerned. The design is very similar to 2014, which was nice in its own right, and I think that a continued progression of the way these look should be an indicator that Immaculate will continue to be great.
Other subsets like Immaculate moments and other cards are back too, all of which look as good as last year. I especially like the college connections cards, which feature the player in college and pro uniforms side by side, with a swooping signature area in the middle. Pretty sleek looking, even though I dont really like the use of NCAA cards in a pro product when its not absolutely necessary.
The main drawbacks are pretty much the same as last year. Stickers are littered in among the hard signed cards, which detract from the overall appeal of the programs that have them. Considering there will be 100% on card sets in the future, I think its a fucking horrible idea to not put Immaculate at that level, even if it means pushing it back a few months. It deserves that kind of attention.
I also hate that there are a considerable amount of set that use the MEGA patch theme for the design, which is basically a giant swatch with a thin border around the edges. Although people in the hobby have become accustomed to chasing relics and what is inside the relic cards, rather than good looking cards, its not something I like at all. With a product like Immaculate, it is the perfect time to use a booklet format. I mean, isnt that what booklets are for? They might cost more money to make, but man they will look so much better. At the very least, using patches this size is MORE than adequate.
Lastly, with the NCAA themed Immaculate product coming out later this year, I hate that there are college cards in this set that have no pro branding on them. The dilution of pro products continues to happen, and I feel like it is beyond unnecessary if Panini is choosing to also release a full college product.
When I look forward into the competition free football landscape, Im saddened that there wont be other companies producing high end anymore. However, if Immaculate continues to look as good as it has over the last two years, Ill at least have something to chase.