I ripped a lot of Prizm this year. It should come as no surprise, mainly because of my unhealthy obsession with Topps Chrome when it was here. I see Prizm as the most like for like replacement of Topps Chrome, even though the collecting community seems to think Optic is worth considering as well. Since Optic is a fucking train wreck of a set thanks to these hilarious photos, Prizm is the last line of defense, stickers and all.
Here are some of the bigger cards so far:
2017 Panini Prizm Randy Moss Tribute Auto /10 – Awesome looking card.
The problem isnt that this year’s set isnt worth ripping, because it is. Opening a bunch of packs of Chrome cards is always fun. Topps set the bar high there. I think the design is pretty standard this year too, which is a VERY good thing when you see how bad it was in 2012-2014. When I say bad, I mean, “grab a torch and set it ablaze for fear it will rule over the depths of hell” bad.
The problem is the rookie class, and this is something we will forever need to be mindful of for the rest of time. Although its clear that 2016 was a historic class, im curious how much we should consider 2017 as a predecessor. There have been top performances from guys like Kareem Hunt, Leonard Fournette and Deshaun Watson, and even Mitch Trubisky might have some long term value if he ever decided to throw more than six fucking passes in a game.
Unlike 2016, however, collectors have been relatively lukewarm in dumping any real money into singles of these guys. I find that extremely concerning, especially as we get into the latter half of the year where box price average goes up almost five fold. Can you imagine dumping 600 into a box of NT knowing that its going to be hard to move? Crazy. Box price MSRP was high last year because of the class, but I dont think the cost is going to come down without those guys. Its still going to be high as shit, maybe higher than it has been previously. That’s a big challenge to stomach, as we see that regardless of the collector’s desire to collect a year’s products, the prices will never go down. They could very easily sky rocket, but MSRPs are never going to drop in any significant way. Look at 2013, the class was horrendous, and it wasnt like NT was 200 a box to help move the set.
I discussed recently how troubling the trends are for football, with only a handful of guys really being truly collectible since 2007 or 2008. Forty go to the premiere each year, but maybe one per class ever becomes worth the money. Add in a distribution model that doesnt help to highlight products that fucking blow, and its even worse. The manufacturers never have to answer for their mistakes, because no one ever buys from them directly on a mass scale.
Then you see a cool idea like First Off the Line, only to find out that collation in the boxes is about as bad as it can get, and many low parallels dont look to be included at normal or even reduced rates. Not only does that make the promotion feel dirty, but it undermines the value across the entirety of the product.
Prizm should be one of the new Legacy sets by default, if not only because the hobby wanted a Topps license about 1000000x more than a Panini exclusive. Chrome was one of the most important sets of the year, if not THE most important set. I have heard some ridiculous proportion of grading in Football was Chrome. Having a product slated to clearly fill that gap is insanely important. Panini doesnt seem to understand this point, and collectors seem to be confused as well. You know a company has importance when everyone starts to look for replacements for this or that. What is the new Exquisite? What is the new Chrome? Guess what – Panini hasnt shown they have the chops to answer those questions in a consistent way. Prizm is a nice product, but it isnt the wild success that it should be.
Part of that is the uncertainty of the rookie classes, and how important a good offensive crop of skill players is to any given year. The product doesnt have the loyalty to stand on its own, so without a good class, its dead in the water.
At some point, we wont be immune to the gambling mentality that seems to dominate the hobby as of the last 5 years. At some point, it WILL catch up to us. Scary thing is, there might not be a way for us to stop it alone. Most of that onus has to be with both the manufacturers and the distribution companies.
This shit just isnt sustainable as we can see right now. Kareem Hunt is setting rookie records and his card is not the most valuable in the class. Deshaun Watson is setting similar records and his card isnt even close to what we saw in 2011 with Newton or in 2016 with Prescott. He doesnt play for a widely collected team, and that is a huge problem. Hunt plays a disposable position and will almost assuredly be searching for work in 6-7 years if not sooner.
How do we combat that horrible outlook? Might not be possible, honestly. So why should we spend 120 bucks a box to rip prizm, other than to have fun? The answer cannot be more clear, but for whatever goddamned reason, we are so addicted to the dopamine rush of ripping packs, its cloudier than ever. Im both upset and bitter, and I dont think im alone in that. Hopefully something changes soon.