On the long list of dud products that have come out over the last few years, rarely is something as bad as 2013 Prominence looks to be. Whether it was the disastrous 2011 Timeless Treasures with its white pleather autos, or the horrid attempt at pre-draft high end with 2012 Bowman Signature, there have been quite a few dogs – including 2012 Prominence. Its like no one bothered to review the situation prior to green lighting the set, and as a result, we have a complete train wreck for 2013. I am literally running out of bad adjectives to describe my feelings, because its that fucking terrible.
Prominence officially goes live today, but I am going to be SHOCKED if people are breaking this the way they did with any other product this year. The set is poorly conceived – mashing together played out and stupid elements from 5 other defunct products, into one super turd of a set. Its like Panini ran out of ideas on another plug in for their bloated calendar, and decided it was worth taking the easy way out. The problem is, they chose the worst possible vehicles to make that happen.
Personally, I cannot stand signed fabric in any way, shape, or form. It looks awful, it fades, and it almost always prevents the designers from properly composing the card. Obviously, this means that Panini will make it into a prime focus for many of their products, as the signed pieces of fabric with embroidered logos have been in their sets since 2007. What makes this more insane is that these cards are a stupid idea to begin with, as I have never understood why collectors want a signed piece of polo shirt for their PC. Because of the way Panini originally conceived these cards, the only element that can be designed is the border of the swatch, which doesnt present a good opportunity to showcase the designer’s skill. Then there is sometimes where the border is more of a hindrance than a help.
The pull out Gridiron Gems cards have been around for a very long time as well, but like so many of the elements in this product, its just more signed fabric with a border. Although the fabric can be pulled out for EXTRA APPRECIATION (YAY!) it doesnt give any reason to continue producing these cards. When the product itself isnt strong enough to be relevant on its own, there is little to no reason why it should be preserved. Collectors do like these cards for some god forsaken reason, however its clear that didnt translate enough to keep Gridiron Gear alive.
Similar things can be said about the signed black and white letters, as Threads looks to be gone for now. I always hated these manuletters, mainly because they were preying on the success of player worn letter autographs with crappy knockoffs. They couldnt even get them done in an effective way to showcase the team colors, instead just throwing every rookie a handful of unaffiliated black and white letters. Just what I want for my collection, right? That never stopped people from buying these, something that always confused me, but I guess our standards are just low enough to consider these to be cool. People dont seem to understand what happens to signed fabric over time.
As for the rubber helmet cards, I mentioned before that as a pre-draft idea, its not bad. However, when the players have been done with the premiere for almost 4 months, its not that novel any longer. Add in that the autographs are stickers instead of on card like they used to be, its even more questionable why they are in this set. What is even more hilarious is that there are versions where Panini was too cheap to use the rubber helmet, instead just printing the picture on the card. What a joke.
There has been no more evident “F minus” this year than this set. Even in a pass/fail grading system, Prominence would be below the requirements to fail. Yes, this product is one of the first to be worse than failing miserably. Its a complete disaster in every possible understanding, and its going to be interesting how quickly this crap can be moved to closeout. I already foresee that we will be forced to buy boxes of this shit to get our Black Friday packs in November, right alongside Rookies and Stars and other similar products. Double win all around!