I cant believe we have reached this point. This is really the last time we will have a Topps Football set in this format for the foreseeable future. Although its still possible that a set can be built with non-current players in the future, this is really the end of the set that has existed in some format for the last 60 years. Starting in 2016, Panini will own an NFLPA exclusive, which prevents a big base set of current players. Although giving Panini the rights to the NFLPA makes about as much sense to collectors as Tim Tebow on an NFL roster, it is what it is.
This situation leaves us to enjoy the final year in bittersweet happiness:
This year’s set is definitely a different approach than we have seen in previous years. It has a much more industrial/mechanical feel with the borders, devoid of any real foil embellishments. The base set is definitely something to be excited about, as the photos of the players continue to be some of the best in the game. Cards with full game shots and no real backdrop rarely exist anymore, and I love that Topps continues to make that a part of their flagship sets.
As for the autograph content, I have mixed feelings. Ill start with the stuff that looks REALLY good. Over the last decade plus, Topps has used the Rookie Premiere as an opportunity to get cards hard signed for their base product. As if they didnt already blow Panini out of the fucking water with Inception, they have added even more content to this set with signed retro cards that look awesome. They also have their basic contingent of hard signed other cards that look similar to Inception. The only draw back seems to be a relative SP list that is in play for the first time ever – something that could be a big issue for wax breakers.
In terms of the sticker content, this is where I have my issue. I hate that the base autos and other cards have frames around the stickers, one of my biggest pet peeves. I dont think the autographs need the box at all, and it actually takes away from a design I really like. The retro sticker autos are amazing with a great checklist in contrast, and should end up being VERY sought after.
Topps has a winner on their hands in terms of the look and feel of this set, and I believe that any discrepancies created in SSP rookie autograph content will be offset. It blows that the product has no concrete future, as the heritage of this product is a treasure of the hobby. It remains enormously popular, and the fact that Panini is now the only company that can produce cards is beyond enraging. Bottom line, this set needs to be made each year. End of story. I could give a fuck about league licensing. Obviously, my feelings mean as much as Tajh Boyd’s NFL career, so take it as you will.