This is going to be a fun one, and I hope you guys will add some of the ones that I missed. I want to take some time to walk through some of the products that I think are the worst of the new millennium, and holy shit, there have been some fucking terrible ones. Im not talking about the annual shit storms like Prizm and Triple Threads, but more in the vein of individual examples of craptastic diarrhea. Some are so bad you just dont even know what to do. One coming out this week is on the list, and its not even in stores yet. Without further adieu…
2014 Panini Hot Rookies
This could easily be the worst of the worst. To say it was bad is an understatement like saying Barry Bonds only took a few steroids. This was the king of bad. Horrible looking design, horrible airbrushed head shots, sticker autos everywhere and a box format that made people beyond confused. In 2014, Score was a retail only product, so to make it high end, Panini foil stamped a logo over the score brand name on the cards. They printed the cards on rainbow foil, and these things could not look more disgusting. Inside the box, you had a pack of hits, a pack of base cards, and another pack of other cards. It was wrong in every possible way. I could also use 2014 Prestige here too, because they used the same pictures.
2014 Hot Rookies Victor Cruz Auto Relic – I guess they forgot to stamp the Hot Rookies logo over the Score one?
2008 Topps Lettermen
All I need to say is Sticker autos on manufactured letters and everyone will know exactly what I am talking about. What might be worse is that the box was insanely expensive, and was in the bargain bin before the year was out. Every last possible thing about this product was bad, and that’s going lightly, especially when you see the way the stickers were applied. The funniest part was when they made Superfractors a part of the set for no reason what so ever. I cant make this shit up.
2012 Panini Prominence
For having such a tremendous rookie class, Panini sure put out some terrible products in 2012. Prominence was the worst, combining all the gimmicky and bad elements of sets they had axed and rebranding them under this new product name. Panini is known for trotting out their dog boxes year after year, but the fact that Prominence was one and done should say something about how much of a train wreck it was. Signed rubber helmets, manupatch autos, manuletter autos, and those signed football fields. To be honest, every product that wasnt 2012 Contenders was relatively bad in that year, something that is a shame considering the importance of the class. It could be argued that the success of 2012 Contenders was only because it was a redo of the 1998 set. They really had no success at all from newly created designs that year.
2015 Panini Spectra
Yes, this is not even in stores yet, but I can already say its on this list. How could anyone resist seizure inducing stock patterns, poor design, and neon colored sticker autographs? Its the holy trinity of suck. Im not sure what is more scary: people at Panini giving this product a green light or that they actually decided to bring it back after 2014’s dumpster fire. Dont open this stuff alone, just in case you have a reaction to your eyes being blinded by the look. Also worth noting the price per box. Good god, what a bloodbath.
2012 Bowman Draft Picks
This did have on card autos, and it did have a great rookie class to support it. However, the monochrome look to the airbrushing made it so you could not distinguish one player from another. They might as well have used stock photos and we wouldnt have been able to tell the difference. It was expensive, it was ugly, and boy was it bad.
2006 Leaf Certified Materials
Someone at DLP (now Panini) thought it was a good idea to design a card with a background resembling a uterus and ovaries. Im not sure I need to say anything else, but it gets better. Clear stickers hadnt been used in DLP products at that point, so the old opaque gray ones were used. Just a ton of fun.
2009 SP Signature Edition
The cards didnt look terrible. The price of the box wasnt outrageous. On the other hand, the checklist was easily one of the worst that had ever been assembled. UD was on the verge of losing their NFL license, and needed to dump a warehouse full of unused sticker autographs. This meant creating 8 way autograph cards with all 8 players being 3rd string scrubs or even out of the league all together. Thats how bad it was.
Quantity does not always equal quality. There are some gems though, you just have to search through thousands of duds to get them.
2011 Panini Contenders
I dont really know why Contenders is such an enormously popular set. Some of the designs have been so bad that they should be joining 2011 on this list. Either way, I was literally floored by how bad the ticket design was for a class that looked pretty solid. Its worth mentioning that Panini tried to add value by photoshopping the tiniest little things to make the cards variations. Things like helmet brand logos, and shit like that. Easily the worst Contenders set there is, which is saying a lot considering 2009 exists.
2007 Ultimate Collection
My complaint with this set is not that the rookie cards looked bad. They didnt. It was every other card in the set. Instead of designing a full set around some nicer looking rookie cards, UD just used one design and changed the text on the card. It wasnt even a good design at that! Let us not forget the Triple Threads-like auto relics either. Consider that this was over 300 a box, and that is just inexcusable.
2013 Totally Certified (Well, Every Totally Certfied Set)
I dont understand why Totally Certified exists. Furthermore, I dont know why anyone would CHOOSE to name a set Totally Certified when a product with the name Certified is already in existence. What does being Totally Certfied mean over regular Certified? Awful, awful, awful looking cards that have no business being designed. Micro etched foil is bad to begin with, and TC just made the case more apparent. Stickers everywhere, oddly composed cards that looked like someone made them in MS Paint, plus more. Having one of the shittiest rookie classes of the modern era made this product worse, as if that was possible.
2008 Topps Finest
In today’s market, Topps Finest might be one of the top products that Topps makes. This was not the case in 2008. The set was a horrible example of how to parallel your refractors, including the usage of Manufactured NFL logo shield patches that, to this day, people argue are real. This is despite the fact that they are not to scale and not well made. The box format was similarly bad, well before 2010’s switch to the current format. Lets just say it, 2008 was not a good year for Topps.
Its kind of sad that there are so many I could add to this list, but dont really feel like reliving that horror. Its a gallery of barf to walk through, and that’s just not an experience I want to continue regurgitating.