How Not To Do A Cut Auto, Volume 1,000,000

Topps has a record of doing terrible things to cut auto cards, and in all honesty, they arent even the only one to do it industry wide. Either way, this card was brought to my attention, mainly because of how terrible the card looks. As usual, Topps didnt even try to make this card look good, and did even a worse job cutting the sigs. Cosigners has always been one of the worst looking products on the market, so this definitely doesnt surprise me.

Bascially, Cut autos have jumped the shark, and this one from 2007 was a good example of it. Collectors still clamor for any cut they can get their hands on for some reason, but this should show a little bit of why its important to think twice before emptying the bank account. For this price, one could easily obtain a Mantle Signed ball, a Dimaggio signed ball, an Arod ball, and a case to display them.
With that in mind, why even let the thought cross your mind to buy this junk?

Worst of the Worst 2004-2009 #2 – 2008 Topps Lettermen Football

Over the last five years, there have been quite a few products that havent lived up to billing. Whether its shorted hits, bad design, or lack of content in a box, there were more than I can count. Here is my countdown of the worst of the worst, and I will go into a little of what makes them so bad. Of course, for some, the shittiness extends beyond mere words, but ill at least try to capture it with each post.

The number two worst of the worst, 2008 Topps Lettermen, was so bad that it actually crossed the barrier between sports blogs. Blogs that usually commented only on Baseball or other sports picked this up because no one could fathom why Topps would ever put out a product like it. Back when this came out last year, letter hype was at an all time high, with many products trying to capitalize on the signed manufactured letters and how popular they had become. First being released in Basketball, Topps took letters to a whole new crappy extreme by creating a product that was exclusively focused on signed letters. The price was astronomical, the cards were horrible looking, and the concept reeked of Topps rushing to capitalize on a fleeting fad.

Then they decided to bring it to football, and I am still shocked to this day what ended up happening. Unlike Basketball’s autographs signed directly on the letters, Football incorporated the worst looking cop out of autograph technology in the history of this hobby: sticker autos on manufactured letters. Let me repeat that so you don’t have blood shoot out of your eyeballs. STICKER AUTOS ON MANUFACTURED LETTERS. This means that instead of doing letters in a way that at least made this product stomachable for many collectors, they decided it wasn’t worth their time to even get the prime focus taken care of correctly. This horrible idea took cards that already looked like boring and unimaginative shit and made them 1000 times worse.

Oh, but wait, it gets better. They also created manufactured number patches and manufactured logo patches where the sticker wasn’t even put on the card in a normal place. Instead of going across the manupatch like the stupid letters, they were put off to the side and affixed vertically. The results were visual abortions. I have to say though, my favorite part of this whole thing was when they took all the different craptastic designs and X-fractored them to create hundreds of needless parallels. As if having stickers on your letters werent bad enough, now you had more parallels than Triple Threads, all numbered for each individual letter. Fucking gross.

Lastly, as with all Topps high end products, the price was just as much of a drawback as the product design itself. This pile of two week old camel shit cost about as much per box as a Matt Ryan SP Authentic Rookie Patch Auto. Yes, instead of buying one of the best cards of the year, you can have a 200 dollar box of turds. I have never said this in my life, but I would actually support you buying a box of Triple Threads over this. I cant tell you how much I laugh at the people who bought cases of Lettermen and thought they were getting “OMG SIKX MOJOZ!!!”

When it comes down to it, I just cant imagine who decided this was a good idea. Im guessing it was the same people who created Triple Threads, Sterling, and all of the rest of the products that triggered the golden rule of Topps. Now that Topps football is gone, we can all rest easy, but I have a feeling that Baseball is going to feel the brunt of this blow. My condolences to those fans.

Tuff Stuff Wants To Discover What’s Wrong With The Hobby

Recently, Tuff Stuff has taken it upon themselves to go over what readers think is wrong with the hobby and to look for possible solutions. I think its a bold step, but in my opinion, a generally horrible idea in this format. First, the average reader has no fucking clue as to what is truly the more IMPORTANT bad things, and that will lead to a pretty boring list. Second, half the major problems in the hobby stem from things the magazine does themselves. Anyways, here is what their list will probably be, followed by mine.

TUFF STUFF PROJECTED LIST (not in order of importance):
1) Redemptions – I have said it before, its more the players than the companies that have problems with redemptions. If the players dont sign, the cards cant go out. I think the expectations set by the company, replacements for unsigned cards as well as lack of updates are the bigger problems. I will give kudos to Topps for publicizing their redemption updates via twitter.
2) Number of products – I cant tell you how much I hate it when people say that product variety is a problem. There are five million car companies, but no one ever complains that they have too many choices. Number of products as a complaint is shit. Just buy what you want and shut up.
3) Lack of kids/cost of boxes – Again kids havent been the primary focus of the hobby since the late 80s, and yet people think they are the answer to everyone’s problems. Complete crap. As that relates to the cost of boxes, its easy to blame the companies again, but the players are just as much to blame. There are still a lot of lower end products that are good, and yet the variety thing comes into play again. Yes, there are very costly products, but they dont account for everything.
4) Fake patches/cards/autos – I agree with this one, but the only solution is a photo database that is easily accessible to everyone. There are a few users who have taken it upon themselves to take care of this themselves, but it isnt perfect.
5) Some sort of eBay complaint – eBay sucks at doing some things, but is great about others. I will say that I would take eBay the way it is any day than having to buy singles at shows or at stores.
MY LIST (not in order of importance):
1) Price Guides – There is no reason for a price guide, especially one that is run by people making money off the hobby. The guides out there present unrealistic expectations of value, and cause more problems than they solve. Their existence continues to show that this hobby is more about vanity and money than about fun.
2) Boring concepts / Gimmicks – This hobby has spiraled into a snoozefest of products that are not designed well and feature horrible concepts and themes. Its time to get a better design team in there that focuses more about a good looking product. No more rehashes, no more copycatting.
3) Beckett – Their arrogance of their place in the hobby, as well as the fact that they serve more as an ad vehicle rather than an objective source is detrimental to the people that still follow them. Beckett as a group is underhanded, vindictive, and ethically objectionable, and has yet to provide a worthwhile contribution to the hobby. They also have a public relationship with a card company that breaks all sorts of moral rules.
4) Grading/Authentication – there is no need for it, especially by humans. Besides being completely subjective and arbitrary, it is commonly used as a publicity machine as well as a way to please large customers. On top of all of this, Beckett sells their own graded cards. As for the authentication, there are so many stories of people sending in IP autos they themselves have gotten and not getting auth. Just shows that humans are just that, human.
5) Complacency of the companies towards Fake autos/Fake Patches – There hasnt been much done to counteract the criminal empire created by thieves on eBay. Ebay wont do anything, the card companies wont do anything, and the collectors only have so much of a voice. Until a bigger focus is made policy, we will continue to be victims of the great douches of the hobby.
6) Boxes for Review – Again, this whole practice solves absolutely nothing, and creates a ton of problems. There are currently more than 50 different groups of people who receive free product the companies. More than half hold a vested interest in the product’s success. That means, ad money, publicity, reviews, etc. This is not just for highly produced stuff, but also the very limited products too. Beckett received 4 boxes of 2009-10 Exquisite Basketball. That is close to 2400 retail dollars of swag. Completely unacceptable considering that they price cards for over 50% of the uniformed hobby.
7) Lack of communication – Card companies are about as transparent as a lead door in this industry. There is rarely any info transmitted that actually gives collectors what they want, and that needs to stop. There needs to be better websites, more feedback, and more involvement with the collecting public. Talk to the boards instead of with Beckett.
8) Brand/Player/Sport exclusive contracts – there is nothing worse for collectors than exclusive anything. This should be at the top of everyone’s list. The fact that there is only one NBA license and only one MLB license is ridiculous. It is also ridiculous that players like Jordan, Kobe, Lebron, Jeter, Griffey, A-Rod, Pujols and company are only able to sign for one brand. That is a poor situation. Look at the NFL, there is no exclusives and it is one of the best places to start a player collection. So many choices, and that is a great thing!
In all reality, there could be a huge economic disaster, worse than the last few years, and the hobby would still survive. People like to collect shit. That will always be a given. The industry part may fall by the wayside, but cards will always be a commodity. So, to put together a list like this is easy, but pretty much ineffective. The effective part comes from the buying public, as they need to put their money where their mouth is. I have been practicing this for the last few years, only buying the stuff I like, instead of wasting my money on stuff that is just there, or buying because I am bored. As a result, I have a collection to be proud of, rather than a hoarded mess of cards I have no connection to. Hopefully others will follow suit and not give their money to products and company that shouldnt get it.

Product Review: 2009 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia Football

Ok, I have waited to post this review to see if there was anything that could really redeem this set in my eyes, and so far there has been very little to do so. I saw a few boxes broken with pretty horrible results (unlike Beckett who had some great results, as usual) and I just cant find a reason why this set was done the way it was.


Aside from the rehashed RPM design and stale concept of the entire set, the actual design of the rest of the product’s ridiculous number of subsets is horrible. Starting with the Tools of the Trade all the way through the War Room stuff, it all just screams typical Panini crap design. In addition to an awful look, each card features weirdly cut swatch windows and the ugliest of gaudy raibow fucking foilboard.

Since the RPMs are the focus of this set, Ill start there. The design is pretty much the same it has been since 2003 or whenever. It hasn’t really changed other than the fact that they now have as many parallels as Beckett has conflicts of interest in their magazine. Yeah, that many. You have the regular “NFL”, a diecut of the NFC or AFC, their number, a jumbo jersey, a jumbo patch, a brand logo, a nfl shield, a jumbo jersey auto, a jumbo patch auto, a brand logo auto, and a shield auto, among others. The stupid thing is that so many of these parallels feature swatches that intrude into the player’s photo, thus making the card pretty pointless and fugly. In addition, they used stickers for everything, so the black autos (some of which still feature college number inscriptions) don’t really work well on reflective board and dark colors. Also, the fact that almost EVERY parallel features those stupid and needless football swatches, makes me want to scream. I don’t care about some football that a player played catch with for two throws. It has less connection than including a napkin they wiped their hands on during lunch. DITCH IT.

Moving into the subsets, Panini has pretty much outlawed square swatches in their design, as if that would solve the problem of them placing them in horrible places on the cards. Unlike the other companies, however, instead of making symmetrical borders to the windows, they pretty much just cut them out like a five year old with their first pair of scissors. Then, when you think about the crazy lines on the card that Panini has been known for, and you can see where asymmetrical swatch windows would look ridiculous. Those swatch windows are often placed where they break the line borders on the cards, making it seem like they were not factored in when the card was designed. This is pretty common with Panini products, because they parallel every one of their cards to fucking hell. First they create the base card, parallel that 10 times, then add in a swatch, then add in an auto. Its all very backwards, and leads to an awkwardly balanced card.

The only redeeming part of the entire thing may have been the Absolute patches. These cards look good because they arent paralleled (big shock). They feature jumbo patches, placed correctly, and usually with multiple breaks in a huge window. It fits well, and makes me wonder why the set wasn’t done more like these cards. These cards will be prime for the patch fakers to exploit, but they look like they may be the only part of this set that actually had some thought put into it.

Rating =

Autograph Cards

The autograph cards in this set pretty much fit in with the rest of the crap that is featured ad nauseum in Absolute. They are rarely well done, and not one of them is on card. The stickers arent focused on like Topps’ bordered boxes, but they are hard to miss on the rainbow foil board.

I would say that the Canton absolutes (a horrible conceived concept of a subset) is the best looking of all of them, but im not sure why they didn’t focus more on getting design filled with cards that could actually go well with the stickers.

The RPM autos are numbered to 299 and have five billion parallels, so the effect of pulling one is getting to be a lot less than it used to be. Then when you see some of the players STILL having stickers with their college number on it and you start to get even more frustrated. When you look at the jumbo swatch autos, its clear that there is just too much on the card to begin with, especially with the inclusion of the stupid football swatch in the corner.

Rating =

Relic Cards

Holy fuck, I don’t even know where to start.

The thing that most pissed me off were these pro-bowl tools of the trade cards, and it bothers me what people are saying in response to their addition to the product. First, none, yes none, of the pro bowl swatches are game used. They are all from an event that was held at the event. The same will be true for triple threads and everything else. These swatches will be a focus of a few more sets this year, which makes me throw up in my mouth when I think about it. Panini has singlehandedly taken a nice pull out of the set and turned it into a joke. The cards look stupid, and I cant even think as to why people are so excited over them. At least with the rookies, there is no choice, but with the vets, there is a choice. Event used crap should only be used when there isnt anything else, and to try to slip one through the five hole and make people believe these are real is junk.

Then, I saw the rest of the cards. I tried to find a relic card that wasn’t bad, and aside from the absolute patch set mentioned above, there is absolutely nothing. Most of the time, 3 out of 4 hits in your box will be a relic card, and you should see what some of them look like. None of them look like they were designed with a swatch in mind.

Lastly, enough with die cutting weird crap into the cards. Jersey numbers are one thing, but when you start diecutting the name of the fucking conference they play in, you are walking a thin line between shit like Sterling and Triple Threads and normal junk. Maybe this is just a signal to stop with the plain swatch cards.

Rating =

Value To The Collector

People freaking love this set because they are blinded by the swatches and autos they can pull. In reality, there arent many strong points in terms of memorabl
e parts of the set, so everything kind of blends together. That means that there are no cards that really are worth buying these boxes for, and the value of the whole comes down considerably. The Auto’ed RPMs will hold value until Limited and the like, but once those come out, it will be tough to get much for any of them.

The boxes will cost more than average products, and its rare that you will make your money back. Because the set is so over dilluted with poorly designed jerseys and stuff, it will be tough to find boxes that will make you feel good about the purchase you just made. As with any product like this, its always better to buy the singles than to spend 120 dollars and buy this.

Rating =

Overall Impressions

To me, its pretty sad what Absolute has become. It used to be something that was a fresh start to the products with rookie material in it, now its just ugly, boring, and poorly conceived. Even the Tools of the Trade cards have sunk to a below bottom standard, and that makes me angry. Im hoping that eventually Panini gets the point and realizes what they are doing has put them at the bottom of the barrel for design in football.

Average Rating =

2009 Product Leaderboard (SO FAR)

1. Topps Chrome (4/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Upper Deck Football (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Philadelphia (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Topps Football (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Icons (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Heroes (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Draft Edition (3/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Playoff Absolute Memorabilia (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Bowman Sterling Football (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Donruss Threads (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Donruss Classics (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Donruss Elite (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Playoff Prestige (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Bowman Draft Picks (2/5 GELLMANS)
15. Score Inscriptions (1/5 GELLMANS)
16. Leaf Rookies and Stars (0/5 GELLMANS – NR)

Review Not Necessary: 2009 Leaf Rookies And Stars

I didn’t actually realize that Leaf Rookies and Stars comes out as well as UD Philadelphia, but to tell you the truth, I am glad that was the case. This is due to the fact that even though Rookies and Stars looks nothing like last year’s product, which is a feat for Panini, it could be the worst design choice of the year. In fact, im not even going to waste the hour writing the product review, only to give it less of a score than Score Inscriptions got.

R&S takes the same idea as Inscriptions of going “urban” with the design, incorporating graffiti like bordering, as well as a weird obsession with paint spills. The text and font choice is just as bad, as the way it is featured could not look more stupid. Imagine the way a neon sign looks when it is turned off, and you have the font for some of the subsets of R&S. Otherwise its just weird looking stencils.

This product is also FILLED with floating plain swatch cards with hundreds of parallels, just the way Panini loves to do it. Honestly, why are these cards even necessary? Oh, right, because they are too lazy to fill out a whole set.

Lastly, we have the worst of the worst. As if you thought the Panini style Manu-patch autos werent enough in Prestige, THEY’RE BAAAACKK! Only this time, the players are stuffed onto a smaller border and covered in a paint spill. Cmon, enough with this poop of a product.

Ill be honest, of all the products that have been released since 2007, Leaf Rookies and Stars is the one product that I have never bought a single, pack, or box of, mainly because the cards have always been so stupid looking. The main rookie part of this set has helmet off pics, so it makes it even less attractive to me, and the design has NEVER been good.

Add this set to the list of products that needs to get the axe.