Last week, amid the drama of National Treasures and the simultaneous release of Five Star, Exquisite Football was also released. It is likely going to be one of, if not THE last licensed CLC football product from Upper Deck, something that is going to sadden a number of people who loved the brand. That isnt saying the brand is done for good, but maybe just not sticking around in the same way.
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I have always been a huge fan of the Exquisite brand, especially in its days as the premier high end product for any of the sports it was produced in. These days, it still has tremendous value, and has birthed some of the more interesting cards of the last few years. It continues to be a fun set to chase your favorite players, including some of the big rookies for 2015, which accompany this year’s crop.
To release this set on the same day as National Treasures is not really the decision I would probably go with, but I understand they are limited by Panini’s usurping of their exclusive license. At the same time, I have stood by the fact that a product like this would SEEK AND DESTROY early on in the calendar year, as no other high end products are really released until halfway through the season. Because this is college licensed, the production can begin as soon as the rookies declare, with planning done months before that.
Either way, most of the cards look great. My favorites are definitely the dimensions jersey autos, which have taken a page from the past versions of the card, mix in a little bit of the tweaks made by Strata, and added some Exquisite flare. I also think the puzzle type art cards are pretty interesting, as are many of the HOF autographs from across the release.
Im not as much a fan of the rookie auto patch design this year, as the foil embellishments intrude too far into the cards surface. It leaves very little room for the player to sign, and creates a tough visible area for them to be seen unless the player is wearing a light jersey. Its not the worst its been since 2010, but its far from the best.
Additionally, the price of the product is significantly more expensive than the other two that were released over the course of last Wednesday, and that was a complaint I heard a lot of people making. However, from a group break perspective, this is a much more moot point, as people were able to divert the extra cost that way.
If this is indeed Exquisite’s last licensed year, I think it ended well but not in the insane way that it started. I think this was Upper Deck’s chance to really make a splash and show people how much they could be missed, but instead, it felt like just another year of a product that has been around since 2005. Considering so many of the cards still looked really good, UD should consider that part a victory, but I cant help but feel some potential was wasted.