This is one of the bigger weeks for Football cards as Topps releases its flagship brand, even more so with a strong class. Its clear that they are banking on a big year for 2014, as the checklist that was just released is definitely showing some surprises.
Here are some of the cards already up:
This set will likely be lost after next year with the Panini exclusive kicking in, and it should be abundantly clear how big a loss that will be. For now, Ill bask in the glory of one of my favorite sets of the year. Here is what to look forward to.
Rookie Premiere Autograph Changes
As I mentioned during the first preview when the product was solicited, it was the right call to switch the format of these cards. Because of the limitations of the premiere, Topps had said it was getting tougher and tougher to get the rookies to sit down for their pics, which led to inconsistency in the set. Using the inception pics looks better anyways. These cards should end up being VERY nice.
Here is what I mean by inconsistent:
2013 Topps Geno Smith Rookie Premiere Auto – On site pic from RPS
2013 Topps Montee Ball Rookie Premiere Auto – On site pic from RPS
2013 Topps Zach Ertz Rookie Premiere Auto – Retouched pic
Better Autograph Content
Back in 2013, Topps started adding base veteran autographs to their checklist to make up for a weaker rookie class. This is in addition to the other non-rookie autograph content that was already present. Typically, it is rare to have really top level players constitute the checklist, but it looks different this year. This year, there will be another push for top signers, including from what I am seeing on the release, Tom Brady.
If you are unware of the 1985 design, its time to familiarize yourself with it, because it is featured in this year’s set. Not only is it one of my all time favorites, but it lends itself perfectly to retro content. They used it last year for a rare auto redemption that turned out great, and I am happy they are bringing it back full scale. I was never a real fan of the tall boys or any of the helmet off pics used for the minis, and these cards definitely look really good from the previews.
Largest Set in Years
I am not a set collector, nor do I identify with the motivation to painstakingly put together a huge base set. As I high end collector, I strive for the biggest and best single cards I can find. This year Topps seems to be going back to its roots in building a huge product with tons to collect. There are going to be a lot of happy people there.
As mentioned above, the base set is of LITERALLY no interest to me, but I do love the rare variations that tend to carry tons of value upon release. Top rookies and players can easily generate 20-30 dollars in a non-parallel non-autograph which says a lot. The variation checklist is pretty large this year, and I cant wait to see some of the pics. *CROSSING MY FINGERS FOR AN ADRIAN PETERSON ORANGE PEANUT CARD!*
Nicely Designed Inserts
This is where Topps has always beaten the shit out of Panini, as their design team has always been miles ahead. However, last year’s inserts left A LOT to be desired. After seeing some of the previews this year, we are FAAAR past that point, thank god. Some of them were horrendously bad.
In all likelihood, Topps should hit eBay tomorrow night, with early breakers listing their pulls. Time will tell how the product performs, but I am predicting big things a la 2012 with such a strong class.