SCU Go Live Report: 2016 Immaculate Football

As I always say – I love this product, hate the name. It is easily one of the best looking sets that Panini makes, and since the transition over from basketball, has been one of the only Panini sets I look forward to every year. Although there is ALWAYS at least one stupid posed picture hat set in the mix, on a piece by piece basis, I think its better than Flawless. Similarly, with other sets like Impeccable on the market as the only places where you can really get good looking on card content, there just arent many options available.

Check out some of the big hits up so far:

2016 Immaculate Ezekiel Elliott Jumbo Patch Auto /99

2016 Immaculate Dak Prescott Jumbo Patch Auto 4/99

2016 Immaculate Braxton Miller NFL Shield Auto 1/1

2016 Immaculate Deion Sanders Jumbo Patch Auto /25

2016 Immaculate Warren Moon Auto Logo 1/1

For 2016, as we have seen for all the previous years, Immaculate mirrors basketball almost exactly from a design perspective. The rookie patch auto cards are great looking again this year, and Im still curious to see if there is an acetate version that pops up, or if they decided just to go with the regular stock. I dont think I saw the acetate on the checklist, but I could have missed it. If it is gone, that is really a big disappointment.

Additionally, I dont like that they are trying to over complicate the patch auto subsets with jersey number cut outs, jumbo patches and dual and triple versions. I dont think any of the sets look any better than the regular base version, as the windows tend to over extend past the swoops in the design, which really hurts the overall look. Its not like these jerseys are game used, so I just dont get the obsession with “bigger is better” in this sense. Just make the card look good.

I also noticed that the Immaculate Moments set is back, something I really liked before. The problem is that it is starting to be more about finding players they can add to the checklist instead of creating cards for the actual “moments” that are infamous in the history of the NFL. Dan Marino winning rookie of the year is just an occurrence, same with Jared Goff being the top overall pick, They are not something that continues to be a talked about moment from the annals of NFL films.

The one issue I think that Immaculate struggles with is the value in breaking boxes as compared to other high end products. At around 400 bucks, I think that ventures well into “Super Premium” and I would hate to dive into a number of boxes here and walk out with as little as what Panini did in their adver-break. Sure they ended up with arguably the best player in the class, but that isnt a 1200 dollar card. That might cover a box, but what happens when Zeke isnt in the plans. What happens when you end up with Troy Brown as your box hit? That is a kick in the fucking nuts right there. I am sure there are quite a few Ricardo Louis / Troy Brown boxes out there. This is really a plague of super premium in general, but I have seen Immaculate struggle more than others in this space.

As we move into the latter part of the 2016 card calendar, I think Panini is making some improvements, and I hope to see a continued growth as we are forced to endure a Topps-less landscape.

Ezekiel Elliott is Doing What Odell Beckham Did and More

When the 2014 season started, there were a number of reasons why the class was exciting. Not only were there 4 rookie QBs who all had the goods to be an impactful contributor to their team, but there was such a deep skill position class that breaking boxes was a lot of fun. What no one expected was for Odell Beckham Jr to set the world on fire, and achieve value that no rookie WR had done in years.

Now that we have moved on, a new rookie has already done what OBJ has done and then some. Ezekiel Elliott might end up as the offensive rookie of the year, but he might also be the NFL MVP when all is said and done. Considering that no rookie has won the MVP in years, that could present hobby value that hasnt been seen since 2012.

Check out these prices:

2016 Impeccable Ezekiel Elliott Dual Relic Auto /75

2016 Certified Ezekiel Elliott Jumbo Patch Auto Mirror Red /75

2016 Prizm Ezekiel Elliot Cracked Ice Auto /75

2016 Origins Ezekiel Elliott Auto Booklet Jumbo Patch /10

I have often said that value in this hobby is dictated by position more than anything, but Elliott is running roughshod over the NFL, and could set records behind an offensive line that might be the best of the decade. Although Prescott has also seen some incredible numbers as well, its beyond rare these days for a running back to get the kind of attention that Elliott is getting from collectors.

Sadly, if you arent a QB, it takes this type of production to get value worth chasing, something I have commented on for the last few years. Players like Wentz and Prescott will have a much easier path to hobby supremacy a la Andrew Luck, and thats not even taking the team’s record into consideration.

If you look back to 2014, Beckham needed national coverage on one of the greatest catches of all time to even start to climb the value ladder the way Elliott is doing on a regular basis. The crazy thing is, because Dallas is such a popular team, the stakes are on display on national television almost weekly. That cant be undervalued, as it stems the casual collectors and sports fans to start trolling ebay for memorabilia. That’s how this hobby grows, even though the products Panini has on the market at the moment are absolutely fucking terrible. Even the visual equivalent of dog barf is getting crazy money, and that isnt a bad thing.

My only concern is injury, which is always a huge factor for a contact position. Running backs just dont have the career life that a QB does, because unlike the prized sons of the NFL, backs take it every time they get the ball.

In the end, even if Elliott doesnt reach the Super Bowl with the rookie record, he is showing stuff we need to see more often in the hobby. We need buzz, we need hype, because Panini’s garbage products sure dont do much to help grow the pie.

SCU Go Live Report: 2016 Panini Phoenix Football

Ive seen some of the products Panini has coming, and it doesnt look like all of 2016 is as hopeless as the first part of the Panini calendar. This set is one of the designs that literally makes me wretch, and that’s on top of the fact that they decided to call this product “Phoenix” for some stupid reason. I know they are out of ideas, but man this is fucking horrid.

Here is some of the disaster in progress:

2016 Panini Phoenix Dak Prescott Auto Relic

2016 Panini Phoenix Ezekiel Elliott Auto Relic – These poses are hilarious.

2016 Panini Phoenix Carson Wentz Jumbo Relic Auto

2016 Panini Phoenix Sterling Sheppard Auto Relic /199

We have all the symptoms of a normal garbage product from Panini. Stupid ass posed photos, tons of foil, and a GIANT box for the shit ton of sticker autos all over this product. The design is so bad that I honestly dont know what they were thinking. I mean, its just to the point where I dont even have adjectives left to talk about my utter disdain for what they do with their middle of the year products.

At some point, they are going to realize that their lack of brand loyalty has to do with how poorly they approach the creation of a product. As good as Impeccable was, they have so many other reasons why that is the exception to the rule instead of the rule itself. When you think about it, that is just fucking sad.

We havent really seen the full slate of what is coming yet, but some of the goods do look good. Limited is basically SPA, Immaculate looks like Basketball, which remains their best looking product, Contenders is not a total batch of dried poop like it has been in the past. I hope they figure this out, because I just dont have the energy to continue doing this for 10 years.

Is Dallas On Par to Have the Best Rookie Crop in Modern Hobby History?

Right now, there is nothing hotter than Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. If you need a top 5 for both rookie of the year AND most valuable player, these two will both be in consideration. Sure, during the Luck, Griffin and Wilson year of 2012, there was no chill when it came to the hobby’s reaction to massive success from day one. The difference, all of those players were on different teams. Right now, the Cowboys' crop is lighting up the value board in a similar fashion, with a record setting pace and a 7-1 clip on the season. Panini literally could not have asked for a bigger Christmas present.

Check out Dak’s cards right now, reminiscent of 2012 prices:

2016 Leaf Metal Draft Dak Prescott Auto RC BGS 10

2016 Contenders Draft Dak Prescott Auto RC

2016 Impeccable Dak Prescott Dual Relic Auto /75

Here are Elliott’s by comparison:

2016 Origins Ezekiel Elliott Auto Booklet Jumbo Patch /10

2016 Impeccable Ezekiel Elliott Dual Relic Auto /75

2016 Leaf Trinity Ezekiel Elliott Inscription Auto BGS 9.5

Even though the 2012 class was about as good as it gets for the hobby, all three players really werent playing for teams that had a huge collector base AT THE TIME. Colts, Seahawks and Redskins were definitely collectible teams, but nothing like what Dallas is. There are four main teams that a million people collect, one being Dallas, and the others being New England, Pittsburgh, and Green Bay. To have two players like Elliot and Prescott on such a juggernaut for the hobby hasnt happened for a very long time, if ever. Considering that both are playing out of their mind, and collectors live for future potential according to the play on the field, this is just nuts.

Its clear that even though Dallas is playing in one of the top divisions in football, they should lock up a playoff berth in the next few weeks according to their trends. If Prescott and Elliott remain healthy and out of trouble (Elliott), and go deep into the playoffs, we could see values that would make Roethlisberger look like child’s play. Hell, Elliott is already outselling Adrian Peterson during his 2007 run with history.

Coming into this year, we all thought that this rookie class would be one of the weaker ones in the decade. Very little buzz, two QBs that were drafted out of sheer necessity instead of talent, and not much depth in positions that traditionally have a lot of value. Lots of quantity, not much quality. As it turns out, Wentz and Prescott both have played well, Lynch even got a few snaps, and Goff is about to get the reigns. On the receiver side, there has been a lot of contribution from across the board, with Coleman, Fuller, Thomas and others all playing above their expectations. Elliott has shown that Running Backs arent dead in the hobby, coming from a widely collected college into a widely collected team. His performance would be ROY without a doubt, except the top candidate hands him the ball.

I think that this class would be setting records except for the sheer ineptitude of the Panini product team, as their sets have been so lackluster its not even worth calling their performance “poor.” With wins for Impeccable under their belt, and some good looking stuff on the way, hopefully this year wont end up the way it started. Hopefully Panini will carefully and unceremoniously remove their heads from their hind quarters and actually start to plan out how to bring some value to their products, more so for non-group breakers, and we could see something awesome.

How World Series Game 7 Could Change the Hobby

Last year, Kris Bryant was on of the most coveted rookies we have ever seen. Now that he is a front runner for National League MVP and is playing alongside other Hobby darlings in Kyle Schwarber and Francisco Lindor, there are hundreds of collectors watching with baited breath to see if this is a night that can change their collections forever.

Here are where some of the top cards are right now:

2013 Bowman Chrome Kris Bryant Auto RC

2015 Bowman Chrome Inception'ed Kris Bryant Auto Orange /25

2014 Bowman Chrome Kyle Schwarber Gold Refractor Auto /50

2011 Bowman Chrome Francisco Lindor Blue Refractor Auto

Starting with the Cubs, its no secret that they are on the verge of history, and not just because they are potentially going to win for the first time in 108 years. Its rare that a team comes back from 3-1 in the hole, and even rarer for it to be 3 games in a row that they have to win.

Both Bryant and Schwarber, along with Addison Russell have seen enormous spikes in their cards since the series started, and that’s on top of the already huge postseason boost they have already been enojying. Considering that we really havent seen Trout or Harper in a situation like this yet, its something that everyone who collects baseball cards should be paying attention to.

If Cleveland can pull it off, Lindor has solidified himself as an up and coming superstar, and that is similarly good for business. To think that he is ANOTHER rookie from the ridiculous class that made their debut last year. I just cant even put into words what these players are doing, and it shows in the wax from 2015 shooting into the stratosphere as more people look to cash in.

Personally, this was a rough year for my team in Baseball, but man this has been fun to watch. I know that when we look at the overall hobby landscape, events like this rarely happen. We have seen rookies make a splash in the NFL and NBA, but it has been a once in a lifetime type of thing where so many hobby collected players are poised to win a championship on such a huge stage at once.

I cant wait to see what happens and I hope that we continue to see matchups like this on a more regular basis.