2010 Topps Football is Live, But Only Some of the Rookies Get the Pro Photo Treatment

When I saw that 2010 Topps Football had hit retail shelves, I was extremely excited to have the chance to see what the rookie cards looked like before the hobby boxes hit shelves later this week. When I actually sat down and looked at some of the cards that were showing up on eBay, some looked to be everything I didn’t want in a card. Others, on the other hand, were great, but seemed to feature a tactic that Topps rarely uses outside of their sell sheets these days.

First the good. When you look at the top rookies of the class, almost all of them have great pictures and good looking cards. I like the Ryan Mathews’ card because its not the typical running back pose, but its not Mike Williams or Mark Sanchez with the price tag on the football from last year. I also like Toby Gerhart‘s pic, as well as Sam Bradford’s, and surprisingly even Tim Tebow’s card too. Dez Bryant has a nice pic like the others, but outside of these guys, there is some major disappointment in the way the cards were produced.

The main weird thing I have noticed is that for the first time in a LONG time, Topps didn’t update the pictures on the cards from the sell sheet. Usually they use different pictures for the mock up previews than the ones they actually put on the cards, and to see them use the same pics is odd. The other odd thing is that there are a lot of rookie cards where there is some evident paintshopping or airbrushing, and Im not sure what to think about it. I like that there isnt a with a tent in the background like there were for some of the cards last year, but im also noticing some parts of the shots that don’t look real.

When it comes to the bad part of all of this, we have some rookies that got a terrible picture with their first Topps card. Jimmy Clausen’s card looks horrible, same with CJ Spiller’s grimace displayed on his. Ndamukong Suh’s picture is really stupid looking, which sucks, because they had a cool opportunity to get a beastly shot from what I heard.

The reason these pictures are so important, is that the Chrome cards that have dumb pictures are usually worth less from my tracking of the autographs from years past. Because of the odd pictures Topps selected for 2010, its pretty obvious that some of these cards are going to fall under that experience. Either way, its not hard to get a cool shot from the hundreds or thousands that are taken at the rookie premiere, and I would MUCH rather have the stock pose for the position than one that looks like this ridiculous Arrelio
us Benn
picture. I know that the brand managers have great power over the pictures that are used, and I don’t understand why they cant save the experiments for the subsets instead of the first rookie card that actually makes a difference in the year.

Funny enough, this is one thing that Panini did a great job on with 2010 Elite, as every picture fit great with the final product.

Looking at 2010 Famous Fabrics and the Stephen Strasburg 1/1 Hat Logo

To me, Famous Fabrics is completely out of left field. No player pictures, no team names, no license, nothing. I think it stands for everything that is wrong with cards today, focusing more on the relics and the memorabilia parts of a card than the design of the card itelf. Honestly, its a little different in this situation because the cards are forced into this predicament, so they are obviously making due with what they have.

One way to do that is to include as much Stephen Strasburg stuff into the product as possible, and lucky for them, a card like the 1/1 Stephen Strasburg hat logo that just showed up on eBay is garnering all sorts of attention. The seller is asking the price of mid size used Honda, but im not sure he is going to get what he is looking for because of the card’s shortcomings. Without an autograph or a picture, the card doesnt have the appeal that a lot of the other Strasburgs have, but it will definitely get a lot of money. Its also unfortunate that its a USA hat and not a Nationals or MiLB hat, but again, that would be very tough to get if you arent Topps.

Outside of the Strasburg, there is little that this set offers to an autograph collector like me, and I think thats pretty apparent. At least in my opinion, unless you are that focused of a player collector or relic collector, you probably feel the same way.

Here is what I mean:

Jose Canseco 1/1 Logo

Quad Jersey 1/1 w/ Pujols

LeBron James Patch 1/1

Michael Jordan Patch 1/1

Wilt Chamberlain Patch 1/1

Alex Rodriguez Letter Patch 1/1

As you can see, the cards are “meh” without the licensing, but people still find them appealing because of the patches inside them. I would never consider even thinking about buying any of these cards, but obviously there is enough people that do like them. I guess that says a lot about what people value in the cards they buy.

NFL Draft: Panini Finally Has A Great Idea, But Poor Execution Abounds

Panini posted these pics on their facebook page earlier today, and I must applaud them for a great way to get the rookies onto cards with the teams that just drafted them. These look to be hard signed, which will be good for their early sets, I just hate the way these cards look. I have always hated the plastic helmets, and these dont really do much for someone like me. The design and the player pics look awful as well, but Im guessing these are pretty hastily made. Great idea, poor execution as usual.

We also got a new preview of Tim Tebow’s first cards in prestige, and I think that they are a complete downgrade over last year’s design. Although they feature a team logo and will most likely be SPed to death, the design isnt as good looking as last year. For base cards, the 2009 Prestige rookies werent terrible looking, and I actually had some of them signed at the rookie premiere over the ones from UD draft or Bowman DP & P. This year’s look awful.

Topps Platinum Breaks One Of My Golden Rules

I rarely like a card that features an overly prominent color in the background, unless its white or a team color. When you opt for an “in your face” presentation like with the Red parallels out of Topps Platinum, you are rarely ever going to get something worth looking at. The colors will either clash and look horrible, or they will only slightly clash and look slightly horrible. It is never a good thing, unless you are a Bucs, Patriots, or Falcons fans. Even then, it gets kind of overwhelming when the WHOLE background is red.

This is completely against the grain from the chrome red refractors, which continue to be some of the better looking cards on the market. When only the BORDER is red, there is usually enough in the picture to match the outside and look great. Bordering a card in red is never a bad thing when it comes to chrome, but Platinum went more cowbell than needed and blew it all to hell.
The platinum cards, in my opinion are ugly to begin with, if not only because of a lack of a good design concept. The boxes on the card that contain the card info and swatch look awful in proportion to the rest of the cards, and there is no way I would ever support buying any of this product because of it. If the main hits dont look good, the product is a dump.
Its now less than a week until the expected release of SPA, lets hope it doesnt make similar mistakes.

Topps Platinum is to SPA As CZs Are To Diamonds

Topps Platinum has started to pop up on eBay and though some of the cards remind us of chrome-y like goodness in a good way, others remind us of horribly laid out cards with oddly placed pictures, patches and stickers. Jeff from New Card Smell has posted his thoughts if you want a more positive take on things. My commentary is not going to be as favorable.

Im sure most of you are familiar with Bowman Chrome’s disastrous rookie auto jersey cards from this year. You know the ones where the jersey window obscurred a good part of the player picture? Yeah, I get a similar vibe off these cards, mainly because they are using the player picture in such a weird way.
Instead of building the card around a good and well thought out space for the player picture, they decided to shove it behind three photoshop layers of sticker spaces and chrome backgrounds. When you try something like that, your competition with SPA ends in a loss.
Now, you may say that this product is not meant to compete with SPA, but its tough to ignore when the price point and the box set up is pretty much the same. The difference is that SPA is all on card, and one of the favorite sons of the hobby, while this is a rehashed chrome bastard to get rid of stickers. I dont mind the regular base cards all that much, they could pass for chrome if they came out around the same cards. However, when you start getting up into the autos and especially the auto patches, things get awfully ugly.
We will see how more of the box breaks shake up, but so far, this stuff looks to be not worth your time.