The true beginning of the NFL licensed card season begins next wednesday with two very different products. You already know my feelings on Hot Rookies, which I feel is going to be one of the biggest jokes in pre-draft products since Bowman Signatures in 2012.
The other is a product that I really had a lot of fun with last year in Bowman Football, which features NFL branded on card autographs first time this year:
Although the cards are not NFL uniform, they are still on card autos on Chrome stock, which never looks bad. Each box features 4 autos, which is hasnt changed this year, and that doesnt even begin to speak to the number of inserts and minis that will also be included. I would guess that there are all sorts of other autos to be added, many of which we might not see until release. Because of a tiny print run last year, color autos were almost falling at 2 per box, which led the MSRP to be left in the dust as collectors chased rare parallels of the auto rookies.
Add in redemptions for eventual on card autos in NFL uniforms last year, and Bowman was a pretty interesting break for pre-premiere releases:
I still stand by the notion that I believe it would be better for all the collectors out there if both companies refrained from putting out early products like this – especially if they look anything like Hot Rookies does. Its just not worth it, especially when you see how nice Inception looks each year. However, I also understand that there is a lot of money to be made with the new class, so companies race each other to get the products out. This is a bad situation that causes the issues I talked about in my break down for Panini's train wreck of a product. NFL logos in the corner cant save a terrible card.
If you HAVE to put out a product before the uniforms can be done, I would much rather it be done with hard signed airbrushed action shots on chrome than sideline shots with stickers like Score. At least make the cards look good like Bowman has done for the last few years.