Prestige Gets The First Favre Vikings Jersey Card

Panini just posted a slide show that boasts some pretty terrible cards for the upcoming set. Among the ugly and uninspired cards in the preview was one very interesting little tidbit that seems to have escaped my radar.

It was inevitable that Brett Favre would eventually have jersey cards from his first (and possibly only) year with the Vikings, and it looks like Panini has beat everyone to the punch. Of course, with Upper Deck and Topps out of the game until recently, there really wasnt much competition other than the extreme price of securing the actual swatches. One Favre gamer went on NFL auctions for over 12K, and the Vikings GU Jersey distributor had them selling at 20K a piece on his site. With Favre changing jerseys each half, there are at least 32 out there, but with Panini’s NFL license, I bet they get a deal whenever they need it.
Im hoping that this isnt the first of many jersey cards like this, as these particular cards arent going to leave any sort of lasting legacy. Until we can get an on card signed jersey card of similar ilk, I would believe there are going to be a lot of unhappy Vikings fans. With Platinum supposedly featuring on card signatures for Topps this year, hopefully that will be the first opportunity. Otherwise it will continue to be Panini claiming the first rights to Favre’s first autographed Vikings card with the cop-out stickers in Certified last year.

Panini Takes ‘Bush League’ To An Unprecedented New Level

When the signatures on your cards look like this, its probably best not to display them. It makes me wonder if these are actually just the good ones, complete with bubbly and streaky signatures across the board. Could there be worse ones out there? What the fuck are they thinking? Those horrible looking sigs sure dont complement that awful design very well.

Now, with preliminary reports of Gridiron Gear being a complete and utter waste of space, Panini really needs to re-evaluate things if football is going to continue to be viable for them. For fuck’s sake, these guys are complete fucking amateurs. How long until SPA again?
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Product Review: 2009 Donruss Limited Football

For the past few years, Limited has been one of DLP’s best sets. It features the best cards, with the best designs, and the Lettermen are some of the only game used signed letter cards in the biz. This year, with the Panini switch over, there was definitely going to be some major shakeups, some turned out good, while others did not.

Design/Creativity

There is a lot to talk about here, as usual, so I will start at the bottom and work my way up. First off, I hate the base cards again for this set, as they look like they are straight out of the Star Wars trilogy. Too many busy diagonals and the player right in the middle. When you factor in the (still) ugly mirror and raibow foil, it looks awful. Sadly, this also means the scrub autos look horrid, the legend autos are just as bad, and those 1/1 logo base card parallels that we love also suck. It was a poor foundation for this set, and it really put a huge downer on a good looking set from years past.

As for the focus of the set, the rookie patch autos, they are the best they have been since I have started collecting Limited. For once, a company actually uses a diecut pattern that makes perfect sense, and looks good to boot. I bought the Harvin, which brings me to the major problem with these cards. The list of players that have redemptions for one of the most important Panini sets of the year is fucking staggering. Harvin, Nicks, Maclin, so on and so on, all are redemptions. For such awesome cards, I could not believe what I was seeing.

Also, Im not sure why Panini has become so obsessed with blowing smoke up our asses with these stupid ass event used pro-bowl cards. I can tell you right now that ten out of ten times, I would much rather have game used jerseys than these pieces of shit, even the letter patches they inserted here. Plus, not many of the collectors that pull/buy these cards understand that they arent game used, and that really isnt fair to prey on the simple.

Although I think the concept itself is stale, I do like the look of the slideshow signatures this year. The card design is a little busy, but the cards look okay compared to the past. I still don’t know why they just don’t get the cards themselves signed, as the slides have a pretty limiting space once they are put into the windows. Im still waiting for the first mini screen to be put into a card, where you will actually see the player at the premiere doing their thing. That would be cool.

Rating =

Autograph Cards

There are a lot of autograph cards, and most of them look okay, despite being 100% stickers in a mid end market that has moved away from labels. I said above that I absolutely love the rookie patch autos, and I will stick by that. The design of the cards, as well as the placement of everything just worked remarkably well, especially with the word logos from all the NFL teams. There arent very many parallels of the cards either, which makes them even better.

The Cut autos went from looking cool on the sell sheets to weird in the packs, and im not sure why it changed. On the sell sheet, the cards when from having pictures on them to being pictureless in the packs. On top of that, the space, without a player picture, almost looks like a glory hole viewing the cut itself. Its really too bad that more companies are going to pictureless cuts, as UD has done the same thing almost exclusively. I believe the licensing is the problem, as you have to work with estates and stuff rather than the players.

I love the dual autographs they have in this product again, very well done. For most of the duals, they paired a rookie with the top living superstar from that team’s past, thus leading to some cool combos. Sanchez/Namath, Crabtree/Rice, etc. They also did ones like Montana/Rice, Aikman/Emmitt, etc, which fills out the set really well. These are low numbered, and are some of the top pulls in the set.

The Rookie Lettermen arent that bad this year either, as the design hasn’t changed much in the last few years. They are some of the only signed rookie premiere used letters, other than NT, and they are actually a great idea. The problem is that this year, they signed with a huge, thick paint pen, so a good portion of the autos look really weird. Having a situation like this is fucking typical Panini. Great.

If you havent seen the crown royale 2008 cards, consider yourself lucky. These are some of the worst autograph cards of the year, and are obviously left-overs from last year that were inserted to claim they have an on-card element for the set. The stupid part is that they signed in dark pen on a dark card, and you can barely see the auto. The diecut design is fucking awful, and I cant believe people are thinking these cards are a good addition. So let me get this straight, you dig into the store room for a rejected on card set of the 2008 rookie class in a 2009 set? Someone tell me how that made it through QC. Panini and on card autos never mix, they are like oil and water. Holy hell.

Mainly, the only real complaint I have about the autographs in this set is that they have redemptions for rookie premiere players. I have said it before and will say it again when the same thing happens for Gridiron Gear, THIS IS FUCKING INEXCUSABLE. Planning is key, and if you cant get the captive audience at the premiere to sign all their shit instead of signing thousands of extra autographs for friends and employees of the company, you need to answer for your mistake. Bush league right there.

Rating =

Relic Cards

Where the auto cards succeeded, the relic cards failed, poor designs, horrible concepts, and floating windows. All the normal stuff. Starting with the base cards, they used a sort of “up arrow” for their jersey cards, and with a diagonally proficient design going the other way, it looks like the players are getting smashed by the closing doors. This also takes away the great logo 1/1s from last year, which looked great, as this year it’s a toothy box instead of a circle.

The pro-bowl laden jersey part of this product is completely worthless, and I hope it do
esn’t sneak into NT to ruin it even more than it has for Limited and Certified. Its scary to me that people are paying hundreds for these cards thinking they are game used, when really they are from a player event during the pro-bowl weekend, where the players did the jersey on, jersey off dance like the rookie premiere.

Personally, those pro-bowl cards arent even the worst of the set, as that title belongs to the jumbo jersey cards. Each rookie and some veterans have a card where they are being attacked by a big block of jersey that looks about as out of place as you can get. They have stupid parallels where they change the floating box to a diecut jersey, but overall, these are the worst relic cards I have seen in a long time.

Rating =

Value to the Collector

Limited is the first Panini set of the year that I would support buying. The cards will hold their value, the boxes are pretty good as the price comes down, and you have a fun break if you can pull one of the cool cards from the many auto sets.

Right now, the price is already around 80 bucks, down from 100, and for two autos that isnt a bad deal when you see some of the possibilities. I still say that the plain relics should be ditched industry wide for a year or two, but those cards arent why you buy Limited.

Im also VERY glad they went back to the 1 pack box, as last year it was overkill with as many cards as there were. The one pack box should be something that more companies adopt, as football and base cards are only good in two sets, both with Chrome in the title.

Rating =


Overall Impressions

Limited is the best Panini product this year, and probably will be that way through National Treasures. They went back to what works for them, and this set shows the improvement. I still think it gets blown away by a set like SPA, where all the autos are on card, and it starts at about the same price, so that will need to be considered once the best products of the year come out.

See, Topps owns the beginning of the calendar, Panini owns the middle (poorly), and Upper Deck gets the end. Obviously, this set is the product MVP of the middle, and with on card autos, it could have been one of the best of the year maybe.

We will see how the rest of the year turns out.

Average Rating =

2009 Product Leaderboard (SO FAR)

1. Topps Chrome (4/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Donruss Limited (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Bowman Chrome (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Donruss Certified (3/5 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)
11(t). Upper Deck SP Threads (2/5 GELLMANS)
11(t). Upper Deck SPX (2/5 GELLMANS)
11(t). Playoff Absolute Memorabilia (2/5 GELLMANS)
11(t). Bowman Sterling Football (2/5 GELLMANS)
11(t). Donruss Threads (2/5 GELLMANS)
11(t). Donruss Classics (2/5 GELLMANS)
11(t). Donruss Elite (2/5 GELLMANS)
11(t). Playoff Prestige (2/5 GELLMANS)
11(t). Bowman Draft Picks (2/5 GELLMANS)
19. Score Inscriptions (1/5 GELLMANS)
20. Leaf Rookies and Stars (0/5 GELLMANS – NR)

Panini Gives Us All A Good Laugh With Limited

So far, the cards out of Limited are showing strong on both ends of the spectrum. They range from amazing and really cool to complete and utter fucking shit that we are used to from amateur cards inc. Hailing from the definite cool end of the spectrum, the rookie phenom patch autos look AMAZING. The problem is, some of the checklist seems to be redemptions. Normally, that wouldnt be a problem if the cards were hard signed, but these are all fucking stickers from players who were present at the rookie premiere.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the NFL rookie premiere, let me enlighten you. For an entire day, you have the players at your disposal to take your photos, do your intereviews, and MOST importantly, sign their goddamn shit. As we are slowly starting to realize, Panini had one of the biggest and most EPIC fails with their planning, as obviously they did not get the stuff signed that they needed to. Hell, maybe the players didnt have enough fucking time to sign Panini’s complete slate of sticker auto cards. There may just have been that many. This is of course, after they had over 50 helmets to sign for different friends of the company, hundreds of cards for the attendees, and football after football for other people in attendance. Again, not out of the ordinary in terms of what usually happens for every company, but when you force yourself into redemptions because of it, you become a quintessential bush league player. Then again, when you see stuff like these bubbly autos in other products, it becomes clearer why things look like they are being run by monkeys.
You see, this isnt the first time Panini, or DLP at that point, has failed to get their shit signed. Back in 2007, 99% of the Adrian Peterson auto stickers in limited were redemptions as well. He was even the guy on the fucking packaging for half the products. This was also the case with Troy Smith, and Chris Johnson, as well as others. Of course, if these were hard signed cards, it would be completely different, let me reiterate that point. However, Panini is more focused on inserting 2008 hard signed cards into their 2009 packs than really doing it the right way.
So far, here is the list of redemptions for their 2009 stickers:
Hakeem Nicks
Tyson Jackson
(Among others, surely)
This begs the question, if they couldnt sign all their stickers at the premiere, just how many labels is Panini actually using? It has to be above the number humanly possible to be signed, which then makes me laugh even more, especially with all the “We are moving towards hard signed stuff” marketing that they are shitting out their ass.
Considering this is a set that again features smoke and mirrors with the event used pro-bowl jerseys, and ball and pylon stuff from the super bowl that may not even be game used, a black eye has started to develop for 2009 Limited. Its really too bad, because this set definitely had potential, even though their cuts dont have pictures on them.
So, Panini, WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR DEAL?!?

A Comment On What Makes A Hard Signed Card

To me, on card signatures have the rare ability to make a bad product better. They add a whole extra element of a set that becomes immediately more collectible because the signatures are not applied by someone other than the players themselves. There is much more room for the player to sign, provides space for creativity in the signature, and most importantly, looks better than a label without a doubt. Upper Deck has long been the company that has moved completely towards on card signatures with more than a handful of products done completely without labels. SP Authentic, Exquisite, Ultimate, Heroes, Black, Philadelphia, Draft, and others have all featured signatures that are hard signed without gimmicky ways of trying to fit into that category. For these sets, the autographs are signed onto the card itself, not some cloth manu-patch piece that is pre-built and signed at the rookie premiere or something. Granted, not all of the sets are done completely with good examples, and there are ones that use horrible half-gimmicks for their “on card” autos, but there sure are a lot that are done the right way.

Recently I read an interview with Panini where they got on the subject of on card autos versus stickers. They were talking about how with the Basketball products they were going to try to get as many on card signed parts to their sets as possible. They touted that they were already focusing on providing collectors with on card signatures and used Prestige as an example. Here is what I am referring to (the bold is mine):

“Panini came in and listened to collectors, as you can see by the increase in on-card autographs starting with Prestige. We feel that our wide array of non-sticker autographs helps give our products that added value, but our goal is to incorporate as many on-card autographs into our programs as we can, without passing that cost onto the collector. “
I will say that Panini has made a small effort to “increase” the amount of non-sticker autos in their products, but there is FAAAAAAAAR from a “wide array.” The manu-patch autos that Panini is counting as hard signed have been included in not one, not two, but three different products. These are not on card signatures in any way to me. Aside from being stupid, gimmicky, and ugly, they are a cop out in the hard signed realm of this business. Upper Deck and Topps both used manu-patches similar to these, but Upper Deck has far surpassed any on card offering in other aspects, thus giving them the opportunity to do so. Topps does not hide their love for labels, and does not try to blow smoke up our asses in saying that they are giving up on theirs. I hate their labels, but at least there is no bullshit on what to expect.
Panini does not have any focus at all on the hard signed elements of their products, and when they do try to break the mold, you either get this, or something like this. So, it means that when Panini does get around to actually getting on card stuff in their sets, they are awful at it. They either use horrible pens that bubble and look shitty, or they use paint pens that chip, smear and look amateurish. Then, to say you have a “wide array” of on card offerings is total and utter crap.
Bottom line, an on card signature is a signature signed on the card. Its not on a manu-patch, its not on a letter, its on the fucking card. Even if there is a set filled with redemptions, its still on card signatures that we know and love. Perpetrating some half assed attempt at trying to pass off shit as gold is not going to make anyone happy. Regardless of this stupid marketing ploy, hard signed autos need to be the rule rather than the exception, regardless of company, redemptions or no redemptions. I will wait for quality, I will not put up with rushed crap.