What Is Going On With Elite?

Now that Elite has been out for a few days, we are getting a good picture of how much the cards are going for. Suprisingly, prices are not as expensive as I thought they would be, which makes me wonder as to how collectors are perceiving the strength of this draft class. Even the top running backs of the class are selling lower than I expected, as the Peterson effect would usually have prices of Spiller and Matthews through the roof. On top of that, players like Dez Bryant, who play for highly collected teams arent feeling that bump like I have seen in similar situations for previous years, and im not sure that it all has to do with how the cards look. So, that begs the question of whether or not it’s the class or the product.

When it comes to the argument that the class is responsible for a normal pricing bump that follows the first post premiere NFL uni product, I think there is definitely merit. This draft was so defense heavy, that most of the elite prospects were Defensive Linemen who normally wouldn’t command high prices. Outside of the defensive line, there were a handful of great CBs, LBs, and other player positions that have no demand in the hobby in normal cases. Bradford is the top QB of the class, but he is being outsold by Tebow, who is looking more like a career backup than anything at first glance of his skill set. Bryant is the top WR of the class, but he fell far in the draft due to character issues. Spiller is the top RB by a nose over Ryan Matthews, but people arent buying in to his stuff like they would in previous years because its more generally understood that Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson were more the exception to the rule than the rule itself. That, and most of Johnson’s success came in his second year, not his rookie year like Peterson.

As for the actual product, this may be the first time that NFL uniforms may have been detrimental to a product. Even though people like me bought into a product we normally avoid like the plague due to college stuff, other collectors were expecting it. Then when you also factor in that the design is more simple and plain than previous years, all those collectors that usually shout “OOOO SOMETHING SHINY!!!” when they buy a card, may not be as excited. Again, even though I am just about 100% focused on design and love simplicity over the eyesores of last year’s thunderstorm cards, there are a lot of people that want foil and other crap like that because they think it looks better (or may have vision problems that prevent them from liking good looking stuff).

Overall, Elite will have a following regardless of anything because it has brand recognition, but I am acutally pretty surprised that prices arent higher. Although Im not sure as to why its happening completely, im sure it’s a combination of all of the above. I will say that it takes a lot for me to want a box of something, and I bought some of this product. At the very least, that says that things are getting better with Panini rather than worse. They still have buttloads of sticker products with no hint of any veteran cards worth buying, they may love ridiculous amounts of parallels, they may have floating swatches, but they did good by me here by including NFL uni cards as early as possible. Considering that people like me are rising at a more rapid rate due to the way products are being produced, you would think that things would be at a much higher price point. Obviously, something else is at work.

Drew Brees Epic Wins The NFL Card Market

Back at the end of the 2005 season, Drew Brees was broken and battered. His shoulder was in bad shape, and the Chargers were going to move in another direction with a new player. Even though Brees was completely capable of returning from the injury with great success, San Diego wanted to let Phillip Rivers have a chance with uncertainty surrounding Brees’ effectiveness upon his return. Here begins one of those stories, you know, those ones they make movies about 20 years from now.

Down and out, Brees is welcomed with open arms to a horrible team in New Orleans, a city that is rebounding from a terrible disaster. The city was in shambles, and new coach Sean Payton wanted Brees to help build the walls back up. He wasnt sure where Brees would be coming opening weekend, but he had faith in him to get the team on track. Although the Saints wasted their number 2 pick (in hindsight) on a player that still has yet to pan out, they were fortunate to draft players like Marques Colston, Jahri Evans, and Roman Harper to bolster their ranks.
In a last to first miracle of sorts, the Saints went all the way to the NFC Championship game with the team on Brees’ injured shoulder, thus silencing any critics for bringing him in. Since that time, Brees has been one of the Best QBs in the NFL, even coming close to breaking Dan Marino’s single season yardage mark.

Now that the Lombardi Trophy has come to NOLA, Brees career now has a bullet point that is hard to ignore. Collectors have been on board for a long time, with his Contenders rookie auto prices well above 300. Now that he has won the big one, the raws are selling as high as 450-480. That is elite territory, outselling Adrian Peterson, Ladanian Tomlinson, and of course Phillip Rivers. Im sure that it wouldnt make a single bit of difference to Brees, but it should make quite the difference to his collectors. I would say that this card is great investment, but that is a given among everyone right now. Brees is primed to be the best for many years to come, and now that he is part of the QB Super Bowl winners club, his value is assured. If he wins again, expect crazy things from those prices.
Remember, performance, dominance, and team popularity drive price, and right now, he is it. Although his off season price should settle in around 425, the contenders card will not stay there. The SPX isnt a bad shot either, as it is a little cheaper, and is part of a widely collected set.
For me to say that Brees is worthy of his popularity is like saying Jerry Rice was just an okay receiver. What he has done for the city and for the team is remarkable, and to have him as your collecting target is not a bad idea, especially considering how much hobby focus he is about to receive.