2010 Panini Threads Is Live, Completely Stale

This year’s version of Panini Threads might as well be last year’s version, that’s how identical these sets are. They have the same looking rookie cards, a very similar base cards, and the main box hit lettermen autos have barely even changed one single bit. If I was a collector of stuff like this, having a continued rehash of sets like this would be EXTREMELY frustrating to me. Yet, as we do with seemingly every Panini set, the cards have not changed to a point where they are distinguishable from the previous year’s set. Its really unfortunate, especially when you consider that the lead dog in the card design and visual appeal world has bowed out of the licensed game rather ungracefully.

As with many of the Panini sets, there are highlights of cards that the design fits well with, but they are so low numbered that its going to be tough to see them as a factor in overcoming the failures. Due to the way these cards are always designed by the horrid design team over there, those successes will be greatly overshadowed by the parallels that look like someone forgot to affix the sticker. I mean, honestly, are we really supposed to be happy when cards like these are pulled out of our $100 box as one of the few hits? Give me a fucking break.

I don’t care how awesome Beckett thinks the horizontal card orientation is, the bottom line is that they are trying to draw your attention away from the train wreck hidden below. People continue to buy this product because they like spelling out weird shit with the letters, not because Panini decided that they were going to station the cards horizontally instead of the tried and true vertical. Eventually, manu-letters will lose their appeal (not sure why they havent already), and Panini will still churn out this set each year like its their brand new baby. Hopefully sometime in the future someone on their team will stop sleeping through deadlines and actually spend some time revamping each product to make it fresh again.

The first of the cards are showing up on eBay, and I guess its only a matter of time before we get a more in depth look at what Threads has (re)brought to the the table. Ill update this as more cards and big hits get posted.

Dez Bryant Rookie Collection Auto Jersey /25 – Compare with 2009′s Percy Harvin Auto Jersey

Joe Flacco Auto Jersey /10

Louis Murphy Auto Jersey /15

Dexter McCluster Letter Auto

Ndamukong Suh Letter Auto

Tim Tebow Rookie Jersey /299 – Ridiculous price for a jersey card!

Ryan Mathews Letter Auto /280

Tim Tebow Letter Auto /250

2010 Panini Limited Fails To Capitalize On Past Success

Leaf Limited used to be one of my favorite sets, and last year it actually succeeded in the places that Panini tends to fail. After seeing the pictures from the 2010 offering, I have to say that I am underwhelmed to say the least. Considering the part of the calendar that Limited has come to fill, it is going to have a very tough time competing this year when it looks the way it does.

My main disappointment stems from the new phenom rookie patch autos, which are a complete downgrade over last year’s great looking offering. Although they are going to continue to use the team word logos as cutouts, they went in a completely terrible direction with the general layout of the card. When you factor in that last year’s cards featured complete player pictures, the cutouts, AND the stickers, these new cards are epic fail all the way. Companies need to realize that having the brand logo and the team logo the same size as the player picture is the polar opposite of what should be happening. Right Triple Threads?

I will say that I LOVE the base design this year, which will definitely make a difference in the amount of cards that Panini parallels, but thats about it. All the other cards are pretty much exactly like last year, and I will fall asleep opening this, just like every other Panini product this year.

2010 Panini Certified Looks Worse Than Anything Yet

Leaf Certified Materials, now Panini Certified has been around forever. The Fabric of the Game subset has produced some amazing cards across the span of the product’s existence, and it is usually a celebrated part of the football calendar. Over the last few years, Certified has gone from a celebrated product to “meh” to absolutely terrible, and this year’s set may be the worst thing I have ever seen to come out of Panini’s house. Although we only have a few cards from the set, the common theme and design of the product is so bad, that I actually laughed.

The fact that Panini is willing to stake one of their most popular sets on a shitty design like Certified showcases this year, makes me wonder if the people over there are even trying with football anymore. If this year’s National Treasures Basketball is any indication, its not like they are focusing on the Basketball designs either, so this begs a very important question: WHO HIRED THIS BUSH LEAGUE DESIGN TEAM? Jesus, this is just terrible.

Starting with the base cards, it looks like someone was carrying the printing plates and dropped them on the floor on the way to the press. The result looks like a fractured mirror and it looks absolutely horrid. When you add in jersey and autograph in typical Panini fashion, like they did for the rice, it becomes a complete and utter Dexter McClusterfuck.

Oddly enough, the only cards that anyone cares about are not present in this preview, and those are the freshmen fabric cards. Last year’s werent a complete disaster like 2008, but they still left a lot to be desired. I figure these will shape up more like the 2008 than anything, if not a hell of a lot worse.

Lastly, the Fabric of the Game cards don’t look terrible, but that isnt the point. They are basically the 2009 design with minor tweaks, and that is BEYOND frustrating. It shows that Panini is getting very lazy with their updates, and its going to be a long time before we get any sort of innovation again.

Panini, you are heading the way of worry faster than I can say Ndamukong Suh, and that is a pretty scary situation for football collectors who depend on good looking cards to build their collection.




2010 Panini Classics is Live, Disappointing

Classics is live, and from what we see in a case break on blowout, there are going to be some pretty disappointing results for this product if things hold true for the rest of the cases out there. Although there is a reported two autos per box and two jersey cards per box, the presence of veteran player autos and worthwhile rookies is looking small. That is definitely the bad news that no one wants to hear, but there is more bad news that comes along with it.

First, the floating swatches are back. Some of these cards are so obvious in the backwards design that I am left wondering if Panini just forgot to add the sticker to the card. See, because Panini has the same formula for every one of these sets, the parallels make no sense along the way. Instead of starting with the blank base card and moving forward, they start with the auto jersey and take things away until they get to the base card. What happens is that you are left with weird looking cards that have swatches in weird places. The obvious solutions would be to avoid the jersey cards all together and add another band of autos to the checklist, but we know that Panini is still all about keeping the simple jersey around for posterity’s sake. Another solution would be to start with a good looking base card and add the jersey, then add the auto to avoid the look like they are floating. I know it takes some elbow grease, and that isnt something the Panini design team may be used to using, but it needs to be done.



Lastly, they really needed to re-evaluate the autos in this set, as the stickers are not looking like they show up against the background and player. These cards are 150 million times better than last year, but they still make me want to jump face first onto a pile of forks when it comes to the overall presentation. It really makes me angry that they are so lackadazical when designing their cards, as it is blatantly obvious that these cards were made without any creativity or effort. Again, still MUCH MUCH better than last year, but it leaves massive amounts of potential on the table.

Overall, I am pretty disappointed with what I have seen, hopefully things get better as more of the product is opened.

Taking Two Leaps Backwards With 2010 Absolute Football

I think that if you read my previous post about suggestions for moving forward in the industry, Absolute is the one set that infringes on just about every single one of those rules. Aside from the fact that the product hasn’t changed design-wise at all in the last however many years, Panini never seems to get how poorly the product holds up against others in the same price range. What used to be a fun product with innovative cards has become stale, overpriced, and poorly designed to say the least. I would even go so far as saying that this is the one product that Panini needs to axe or revamp, because right now, it’s a dinosaur compared to what it could be.

Now, I will say that this year’s offering looks better than last year’s horrid excuse, but it still has not veered from that same old design that never offers anything worth collecting in my opinion. This product will again be riddled with damage evident foilboard on EVERY card, sticker autos across the product, subsets that are paralleled to hell in the typical panini way, and cards that are so weirdly conceived that I don’t even know where to look. When you hearken back to 2005 and see how cool and popular Absolute Baseball was, this is a vanquished shell of that former greatness. Really too bad.

Here are the preview cards: