SCU Go Live Report: 2016 Absolute Football

If you go back 10 to 15 years ago, Absolute was a relevant product. You could even argue that in 2011 and 2012, when the product was hard signed that it was somewhat relevant. These days, when barely any single relic cards have any value, and sticker auto relics are EVERYWHERE, this product is as forgettable as it gets. In fact, the same could be said about many/all of the Panini products released in 2016, save Origins. Well, we all know how Origins came to be, so maybe that isnt a good example of a victory. Hope Topps gets a nice thank you basket for that rip job.

Here are some of the cards up so far:

2016 Absolute Ezekiel Elliot RPA 5 piece Relic Auto 1/1

2016 Absolute Dak Prescott Rookie Premiere Materials Auto

2016 Absolute Brett Favre Marks of Fame Auto 5/5

2016 Absolute Jerry Rice HOF Relic Auto

2016 Absolute Cam Newton Glass Redemption

I mean, the design isnt that bad this year all things considered, as the rookie premiere materials actually are as good as they have been in recent memory. The problem is that they dont really add anything to a product that is desperate for something to happen. Just because a product has been around so long, doesnt give it a pass to be ordinary. It surely doesnt give it a pass to be stale year after year.

The funniest thing is that Panini is already adding redemptions for sticker autographs of their main rookies and has been doing so for a few products now. Considering they just had a CAPTIVE audience at the rookie premiere, where these things should have gotten done, is beyond laughable. Maybe breaking out the crayons for sketch cards and doing Instagram human bobbleheads isnt the best plan, boys. Even if the players and NFLPA is complaining, you overpay so much for this event and license, its time to get busy and figure it out. Redemptions in September are not acceptable for stickers.

They also have redemptions for Glass cards, which look interesting to say the least. Absolute used to offer oversized glass cards a number of years ago, and they actually ended up being relatively cool display pieces for the time. If they can get these glass pieces shipped and set, they could be a focal point of the product again. If they turn out lame and unimaginitive, then it will just be Panini’s par for the course as usual.

Bottom line, here is the issue. Panini is responsible for too many products when they ALREADY did such a poor job with product differentiation. Outside of Treasures, Contenders, Flawless and Immaculate, I dont see much worth in what they do. Prizm continues to be sticker, Impeccable is a wild card (and potentially more expensive than its worth), and the rest just blur together. Just a sad state of affairs. They really need to put those heads together and find a way to innovate that doesnt involve consistent theft from the competition.

Who Are the Best People to Collect in the NFL?

I just posted a few days ago about how injury has such a huge effect on people, and how careers can change in an instant. With all of that consideration, what does that leave for collecting potential in the NFL? Who are the best people to collect when the environment is so uncertain? Here is my take, and some of the cards you need to pick up.

#1 – Aaron Rodgers

As a Vikings fan I hate the Packers. I hate them so much. Mainly because year after year they are in contention despite not having the weapons or having a ton of injuries. One reason is because Aaron Rodgers is easily the best player right now in the NFL. Although Tom Brady’s resume is far better, its clear who is more talented at this particular moment. Rodgers already has a Super Bowl under his belt, and might be on his way to another. Collectors love that accomplishment, and also like that he is a TOUGH signature to get. Because he wasnt at the rookie premiere in 2005, he doesnt have 1/4th the bulk others do now. Some rookies, especially with Panini at the helm, will have 10,000 autographs their first year. Rodgers, during his whole career, cant even be close.

His autos obviously sell for huge dollars already, so be prepared to open your wallet:

2005 SP Authentic Aaron Rodgers RC Auto Patch /99

2015 Black Gold Aaron Rodgers Sizeable Signatures Auto Patch /10

2015 Flawless Aaron Rodgers Red Auto /5

#2 – Tom Brady

He will be a unanimous first ballot HOF inductee. He is at the top of or near the top of the greatest NFL players of all time, and his career is almost over. Although his signature has been more common because of deals with Topps in 2014 and Panini in 2014-16, you cant buy a nice card of his for less than 300. He has won more Super Bowls than anyone in the last generation, and he has been in more AFC title games than anyone in history. The guy owns pretty much every meaningful record when it comes to winning, and though he likely wont reach Manning, he has put on a career unlike anything I have ever seen. He might be a product of a system with Belichick, but collectors dont care.

With his career, his top cards are some of the highest asking prices on eBay:

2002 Topps Ring of Honor Tom Brady Auto

2015 Immaculate Tom Brady Jumbo Patch Auto /10

2014 Topps Five Star Tom Brady Auto

#3 – Andrew Luck 

He may have had a rough year last year, but he is still the brightest young star in the collecting world. He has shown that his skill is capable of bringing a mediocre team deep into the playoffs, something that many QBs would be incapable of doing. Collectors already know that he is worth the hype, and his cards are not cheap. Its for a reason. As the Colts draft more stars, and shore up their defense, you can be sure that Luck will continue to grow and win. This potential drives his value, and I dont see it dropping anytime soon.

You can see he is already a top collected player:

2012 Topps Chrome Andrew Luck Auto 1985 RC

2012 Contenders Andrew Luck Auto Ticket RC

2012 Exquisite Andrew Luck Auto RC /99

#4 – Cam Newton

The loss and subsequent press conference at the Super Bowl aside, Cam Newton has a very bright future in the NFL. Even though the Panthers should have been much more of an opponent for the Broncos than they were, it isnt the end of the road for Cam. The only issue is that im not convinced many of his autographs from his rookie year are real, as his signature doesnt make sense when held up next to his verified one. Cam doesnt sign a ton, and has a reputation of being a diva with the manufacturers, so its possible that his card signings could end up being limited in the future. I suspect the Panthers will be competitive for a number of years to come, so collectors are going to recognize that he is worth dumping money into. If only Panini hadnt made 2011 their personal trash heap for card design. Man, each one of their main sets had one of their worst years in history.

These prices are post Super Bowl and still going strong:

2011 Topps Chrome Cam Newton Atomic Refractor Auto RC 50/50

2011 Topps Five Star Cam Newton Auto Patch RC

2011 Exquisite Cam Newton Auto Logo Patch RC /99

#5 – JJ Watt

This is my bold and amazing hot TAEKZ for this article, as I believe that defense is WOEFULLY undervalued in the hobby. Watt is one of the people who continued to have value even though he played on the other side of the line. If you need any more convincing, Watt is quickly on his way to being the next Peyton Manning as the face of the NFL, and that will make a difference in the way see his value on the secondary market. The only drawback is that Watt has already started talking about the injuries and how it could prevent a longer career for him, and that might be a big piece of a reason he shouldnt be on this list. I just think he deserves credit for bringing some sort of worth to defense.

Here are his top cards:

2011 Topps Platinum JJ Watt Auto Green Refractor RC – Not many on card RCs exist. This is one of a few.

2011 National Treasures JJ Watt Auto RC

2015 Flawless JJ Watt Auto Red /15

With a big trade today, and big injuries already grabbing headlines, this season is already shaping up to be ridiculous. Hopefully we will see that the NFL headlines continue to favor hobby friendly situations, as its clear that sales are not heading in the right direction all around.

Teddy Bridgewater Injury Highlights Tough Spot for Football Collectors

Yes. I am heartbroken by Teddy’s freak injury. One that seems just completely unlikely, and might take away the prime of his abilities if it doesnt heal the way it should. That is a scary thought for many football collectors, as this sport is prone to situations where injuries can make things go horribly wrong.

Capture

Although Baseball and Basketball have injuries too, career longevity in MLB especially makes for less of an impact on things. In football, making it 10 years is beating the odds and then some. Players can play for a long time, but with the cheaper contracts for draft picks, we have seen teams decide to rip and replace much more often. When injuries take away a full year, especially ones like this, it can change the whole trajectory of a player’s future, even if he comes back full strength.

As a Vikings fan, I bought Teddy because I collect Vikings. Having met him a few times, I also collected him because he was nice to the fans and a great guy off the field. It seems like he has a great head on his shoulders, so I definitely bought in. He was going to be the face of the team with Peterson having so many issues, and I was fine with that. My collection hasnt gone to waste, and im definitely not selling, but its hard to go through this year long absence for the second time in a few years. Peterson’s situation was self imposed, and much more of a detriment to my fandom, but the fact that the Vikings were supposed to be so good makes this even more difficult.

Every year, there is at least one player that gets bit by the injury bug, and this year it was the Vikings’ turn. Collectors feel the pain too, with values dropping amid uncertainty, and its clear that the market doesnt sustain these types of disruptions well. We already see the football market and values dropping as more people leave the hobby, and its just crazy to me that people still “invest” in cards.

Seeing that careers can be over in an instant highlights that poor investment quality even further, and I am curious to see what happens when collectors really start to see career shelf life shorten even further. Players like Calvin Johnson retired much earlier than expected because of injury concern, and I dont think he will be the last big name to do so. Collectors need to be more and more wary of what is going on in the game, and take notice of the value trends before dropping huge dough on something that isnt just for “fun.”

I hope Teddy returns and has the career that we all hope he will have. Even if you arent a VIkings fans, bad injuries are never something you like to see.

The Dak Prescott Hype Train is Boarding Now

CaptureThere is one story out of the pre-season and his name is Dak Prescott. Not only did he play among the best in pre-season, but with news of Romo’s broken back, he is on track to play from week 1. Quarterbacks in the hobby are the only real value left in the hobby, and its clear that no one wants to miss out on Russell Wilson version 2.0. The problem is, all we have is a tiny sample size in a time when nothing matters.

These prices are literally insane:

2016 Origins Dak Prescott Blue Auto RC /25

2016 Certified Dak Prescott Orange Auto Patch /199

2016 Donruss Dak Prescott Auto Relic RC

2016 Leaf Metal Draft Dak Prescott Auto RC

Looking at the prices his cards are getting, it makes you wonder what people are thinking. Has he played well so far? Yes. Is he starting for an insanely popular team? Yes. Will he be the HOFer that people are paying for right now? Umm, signs point to odds being HEAVILY against that. The sad thing is, sales seem to be down across the board in football for obvious reasons, and any ray of sunshine gets more exposure than we could have ever predicted.

Bottom line here is that Prescott hasnt seen anything but vanilla on the defensive side, and that is a huge issue. Now that he is on a national stage, its going to be interesting to see how he handles the pressure. We have seen many pre-season champions turn into regular season bums, and that continue to be a reason why I have no idea why people are so eager to dive in head first.

I mean, comparative value in modern cards is so out of whack as it is. This phenomenon with Prescott seems to be the next in a line of many. He isnt the first guy to be in this position, and he wont be the last. However, if he can lead the Cowboys to a few wins, it might mean that the decision to put an aging Romo back in the saddle is a bit harder than it would have been.

Collectors will always be gamblers on potential, and that rising tide will lift all boats.

SCU Go Live Report: 2016 Panini Origins Football

I was a big fan of Topps Inception. There were so many reasons why it was a game changing product that it isnt even worth recounting them all. Panini, being the uncreative bunch of rip off artists that they are, decided that it was worth their time to rip off every last little detail, and the result is Origins. Yes, they couldnt even come up with their own product. That is the company that now owns the NFL. Perfect.

Here are some of the bigger hits up so far:

2016 Panini Origins Ezekiel Elliot Booklet NFL Logo Auto 1/1

2016 Panini Origin Carson Wentz Booklet Patch Auto /25

2016 Panini Origins Dak Prescott On Card Auto RC

2016 Panini Origins Jared Goff Red Auto On Card /49

The sad thing is, Panini really failed to see all the minor details that Topps used to their advantage, and as a result, the product is about half of what it could have been. The stock isnt as nice, the retouching of the photos is less professional, and there are more 00 jerseys than there should be. Players like Braxton Miller were assigned a number the day after the draft, but has 00 in his photo. I dont get it.

All in all, I bought a few boxes just because I know on card autos and Panini are like oil and water. You dont get on card unless you wait for super premium with them. I was so disappointed in the quality of the product that it makes me sick to think how Topps lost out on a license where they produced the top cards on the market hands down.

Overall, if you are looking for Diet Inception, this is it. Origins does a good job of making a knock off version of inception, but as we know, knockoffs never measure up to the real deal. Plus, its Panini basically conceding that their design team cant match wits with Topps, as this literal copy shows absolutely zero creativity.

Football is a sad state of affairs this year, especially if this is all we have to look forward to. At least Inception will live on in Digital.