In the years that Absolute has been around, I have never really been a fan. As its morphed into a set that pretty much represents everything I hate (foilboard heaven, poorly designed jumbo patches, stupidly themed subsets), I think there have been some major questions why it continues to exist the way it does.
For a long time, hit per pack products were special because hits were rare. Now that jersey cards have little to no value in the hobby, this product should have been gone a LONG time ago. Alas, here we are, decades later, with the same configuration, and a regression in autograph quality.
I liked the base cards in this set over the last few years, as I think they focused on game photos and little else. This year, they tried a more stylized approach which would be great, minus the fact that the nameplate is smack dab in the middle of the card. I dont get who thought this was a good idea, but it looks awful.
Rookie Premiere Materials
There are many Panini autograph legacies that I literally cannot stand. This is near or at the top of the list, mainly because they have been some of the most poorly designed cards of all time. There were some improvements in content, switching to on card autos in 2011, but that looks to be gone. Instead we are left with a boring and played out concept that no longer has on card autos. You would think, with such a weak class, this would be the year to step it up, but they decided to go the other direction.
2012 Absolute Nick Foles Rookie Premiere Materials Auto Logo 1/1 – One of the worst 1/1 logos ever.
Tools of the Trade
One of my favorite sets of 2012 was Tools of the Trade, as they really looked like someone knew what they were doing in the design. The black background with silhouetted players looked TREMENDOUS, and I had high hopes for this year. I really like the 2013 version, highlighting on the photo where the swatches come from, and returning with the black background. These are the best cards in the preview.
I was a HUGE fan of the base rookie autos last year, especially because they were the first to feature game shots of the RCs not at the premiere. It was a simple design that highlighted the player, and I loved it. This year, they are basically 2013 Prestige ver 2.0, which isnt a good thing. They arent necessarily bad, but it is just exceptionally boring.
Plates and Patches
This set has migrated between brands for so long that I have lost track. Considering how important brand identity is in this hobby, I would definitely advise against this practice. I dont think these cards are bad this year, they just dont give me anything special. If I am paying 40 bucks a pack, I deserve something nice. These are just kind of “meh” all around.
Leather and Laces
I hate event used footballs for a big reason. At the premiere, the players are thrown a ball and then throw it back. It is then placed in a bucket to be cut up. How is that something that should be commemorated in a card? At least with a jersey, they slip it over their head, but this is ridiculous. Now Panini is commemorating this with an entire set? Give me a fucking break. Yuck.
Again, this review is for a set that I have never really liked in the history of its existence, so that should say something about how I look at it. I think there was a significant opportunity to do something awesome with Absolute over the last few years, but regression on content and holding the price at the same is insane with such a weak class. You can easily open a 150 dollar box and get two scrub autos and two jerseys, and that is NOT okay. For every good vet auto available, you see some of the players on the checklist that are 8th tier at best. When the best rookie player you can pull out of a box will go for less than the price of a pack, that is not a good strategy. I hope this is the last year we see this product built in this manner.