Every once in a while, a company comes out with a product that makes you scratch your head. Either the product line doesnt seem to be that interesting, or the design is just completely awful. Recent football cards have been all over the place, to tell you all the truth. Although Panini tends to be very familiar with this market space of poorly conceived sets, its rare that Topps’ football team enters this territory. NFL Rookie Premiere is not one of those products.
Topps has had rookie premiere autographs for over a decade in their flagship product, but never a full set:
The rookie premiere was so popular, it was even extended out to the NBA and NHL as well:
Im sure there are people out there who dont even know what the Rookie Premiere is, which Ill do my best to explain. Each year, the NFLPA gathers the rookies in Los Angeles to take pictures for the first time with their uniforms on. 35-40 top rookies come each year, and it is a VERY big deal. Over the last 10-12 years, it has also become about signing a shit ton of autographs and having the rookies wear hundreds of jerseys to be cut up over the course of the card year. Both companies participate and both companies do it relatively the same way. This set is celebrating that event, which ill get to in a second.
After seeing the preview today, Im pretty baffled by the choice to put this set out. Although, I know the 20th anniversary of the photo shoot was this year, I dont know how many collectors will identify with the photo shoot theme for a product. They may be familiar with the result of the premiere spread across all sets for the year, but not the event itself. This set may have been better suited as a deliverable right around the time inception comes out, especially as a photo shoot themed release. Instead, we are getting this in November, which doesnt seem to really fit much of anything. Even worse is that it looks to be all sticker autos, which means we all have even less of a reason to buy it.
Do the cards look all that awful? Not really, they arent that bad. However, the product itself isnt unique or special in any way, and though a lower price point exists for it, I see it more of a poor choice of themes than anything else. By November, we will have already had some really nice sets from Topps, and this just doesnt fit right.
Topps is not going to like how this product performs, just from the reaction I am seeing. A lot of people just dont know what to do with it.