I have already posted a few articles about Panini's most recent attempt to make Playbook a viable brand, but I wanted to go a bit further into it now that it is live. There is not a doubt in my mind that some of these cards are cool and deserve some positive attention, but for some of these other cards, they go without available adjectives to describe my hatred.
It should be an odd situation that the best sets in this entire product have no autographs on them. A top subset without autographs rarely happens in this hobby, and Panini has hit it out of the park twice with some really cool cards. There are a few other nice cards that can fall under this as well:
The first of these two is the Game of Inches set, which features a dynamic action shot of the subject spread out over two slhouette style booklet cards. I know this was a difficult card for Panini to pull off, and man do most of these look like some of the better display pieces that I have seen. My one complaint is that for some of the players, they are STILL using photo shoot event used jerseys some 2 to 3 years later.
Here is what they look like:
As for the Down and Dirty subset, which is now on its second year, the cards again look amazing. This was one of the first sets that I can remember focusing on unwashed game used materials and they continue to impress me with these awesome cards. I absolutely love them, and to this day, I am curious if they smell as much as I think they will.
Here are the new ones for this year:
I think that once we get a better look at some of the other cards from each of these subsets, its going to be much more apparent how cool some of them can be.
Now we are getting into the meat of playbook, as it is very clear that Panini has made some terrible decisions with this set. First off, they moved away from the white bordered booklets, which was a mistake all in itself. However, to add in single card acetate autographs is about as bad as you can get, as they were unsuccessful in presenting it in a way that looks good.
Here is the acetate in booklet form, which works with the silhouette style player on one side, and auto/relic on the other:
Here is what Panini tried to do with these as single cards – barf:
Similarly horrendous is the player selection on some of these cards, as it should come as no surprise that practice squad lifers Connor Shaw and Asa Watson are back for another go around. Imagine opening a box, and your autograph booklet is a guy that has no real reason to be in any product. I would be fine with another Michael Sam card over this crap, as Sam at least has a claim to fame.
Ohhhh boy, there is some ugly here. I mentioned in a previous post that Panini inexplicably used reprinted cards from one of the worst products of the year in their new Orange Hot Rookies autographs. Not only did they use a set that never should have made a first printing, but they didnt even use players that collectors might actually want. Nope, more guys destined for an NFL career spent with a butt attached firmly to a bench.
I honestly cannot elaborate on any reason why this choice was made the way it was, as every excuse I can come up with is met with piles of laughter larger than the new Cowboys’ mecca in Dallas. You just have to wonder who decided this was an idea that was worth putting on the calendar the first time around. Good god.
In fact, the whole player checklist can be considered ugly, as there are more turds on this checklist than one could ever imagine. If they want to have autographs of crappy rookies, save it for Contenders. That’s why Contenders exists. Dont waste my fucking time with third string scrubs in a product like this.
Playbook may have its moments, but I still dont have a good explanation for why it was brought back for another go around after three abysmal years prior. Panini sure has a great understanding of how to run a sport license, right?