I think its relatively a sad state of affairs when I have to get excited so much over a set like the Tools of the Trade from 2013 Absolute Football. Because of the situation we are running into, these cards should not be the top of the mountain when it comes to everything Panini puts out on a regular basis. Regardless, these cards are awesome on the veteran side, and I always want to give credit where its due. Its due now.
The biggest success of this card is the darker background combined with the player picture’s orientation on the card. To add in the swatches and the link to the part of the player they came from is an awesome idea. So far, we are seeing a variety of swatches used, including facemasks, shoes, and jerseys, all of which are positioned in different ways on the checklist.
That’s not saying everything is all rainbows and butterflies, as for the first time in a long time, Panini is moving forward with a rookie version, likely to offset the subtraction of other parts of the product.
As we see with most sets that Panini does, the cards don’t transfer well at all to the rookie side. The player pictures are all closely cropped busts, the swatches are all the same, and they aren’t depicted in the same way as the veterans. Everyone already knows how much I DESPISE swatches of event used football, and to see that Topps took a lot of liberties with different varieties of swatches in Prime, this was a letdown.
If I am Panini, and want to continue with this set, I go back to the roots we saw in 2005 with the baseball versions. Use this set as the opportunity to really go nuts with the different types of swatches available to purchase. Gloves, shoes, helmets, wristbands, you name it. If its as good as the last two years have been, ill be a fan.