Today, Topps released their fourth preview of the year, 2013 Topps Finest Football. This has been a favorite of mine for the last few years because of the superior design, and the addition of some awesome on card autos very early in the year. Finest was one of my favorite products of 2012, even though it was exceptionally tough to pull the good rookies in your box. I would even go so far as saying it was one of the best designed products of the first half of the year.
This year’s design play off of the familiar format, and use a robot style theme to showcase the rookies. The format is going to stay the same with a patch auto and a jumbo auto per box, with two mini boxes in the master. Although I think last year’s patch design was superior to this year’s, I do think that the rest of the set is an upgrade. I like the way the cards are designed, especially with the borders being more top and bottom, and the theme looking as good as it is.
I think the jumbo design is really a transition of the 2013 Inception Jumbo design over to the chrome technology used in finest, and I think the design is very nicely done in both situations. I love cards with a rectangular swatch positioned horizontally below the sticker auto, and I think that the full player picture really adds pop much like it did in Inception. These were my favorite cards in 2012, and I am interested to see how they work in 2013.
As for the new and updated patch auto design, with the vertical jumbo patch, im not quite sold on it yet. I think that the swatch seems to DOMINATE this design, and it doesnt fit completely into the borders on the left of the card. I think that when this is put into practice it will look much nicer, but the mock ups are not doing it any justice. Last year, the patch size was a bit smaller, but it still worked well.
Lastly, I love the die cut and rookie card auto design, and as they did last year, fit very nicely into the structure of the set. My only question is what will happen when the rookie class shakes out to be as weak as it is looking, and 2013 products that are based on the rookies dont perform as well. This could end being a tough break with no breakout superstars.
As always, I will be looking forward to this, so I hope that it turns out as nicely as it has in the past. Topps has done a great job making this brand relevant again, and with added on card content, things have a tendency to work out well.