Remember how white hot Derek Carr was during the offseason? What about Jameis Winston? Both were so popular among the prospecting crowd that I got in the mix too. At the national convention, you literally couldnt find their cards. Now, with the season almost 60% done, things have changed. Although Carr hasnt hit rock bottom or even close, he has clearly been overtaken by two names who look to have an inside track to the playoffs. One is Carson Wentz, and the other is Jared Goff.
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Right now, the Eagles look to be one of the best teams in the league. A crazy good defense with Wentz leading a high powered offense and scoring consistently. The Rams are on a good pace too, and like the Eagles are playing in a two horse race for the division title. Both Wentz and Goff have performed on an MVP pace, and its looking like they have a lot more room before they hit the ceiling.
Problem is, look back over the last few years. The hot hand gets so hot in the hobby that people start throwing money around like they are surefire hall of famers. Last year Prescott looked destined to be the next rookie to win a Super Bowl, and the year before that it was Matt Ryan. All in all, the league has enough parity that it is close to impossible to do what Brady, Manning, and Rodgers have done. Be consistently good on a consistently good team. Not only that, but drive immense value in your cards along the way. I might put Roethlisberger in that group too, but off the field issues and general distaste for him havent exactly put him in the top value tier despite his accomplishments.
My whole point is this – should we continue to dive in head first the second a QB gets a hot hand? Historical evidence says that is probably the worst possible thing a collector could do. There arent many guys who get to the point where Brady is in the hobby, and he is the only one in league history to have the resume he does. If that is the case, why treat other guys like they are on that level? We sure spend money like that, and its taken money away from players who are among the best ever at their position. Because those players arent QBs, they get half the attention, if not less.
I commented recently that out of the last 10-20 years, there have been only a small handful of players that have achieved upper tier sustained value in the hobby. When 40 rookies a year go to the premiere in LA, you can see the huge discrepancy that exists in comparative value. The chance that any rookie makes it to their second contract, let alone their fourth, is a shrinking percentage of success. With the rookie wage scale, having all that success with one team is even less common.
With no real progress to discovering what will be the next jersey card or booklet card innovation in the hobby, and with such little progress towards a heavily creative and compelling football calendar, Ive lost a lot of faith in the hobby’s potential to support an unsustainable industry. Football is more diluted than ever, thanks to Panini’s insane decision to guarantee 31 NFL products a year (plus more for NCAA). Regardless of said fact, no one seems to understand that dropping a mortgage payment on Derek Carr’s potential or Carson Wentz’s super bowl odds is not a good idea.
Ive become so disillusioned with the populace’s inability to process comparative value across rookie classes, that I just dont get why anyone is surprised that things can go south so quickly. Look at Deshaun Watson. On pace for a record year, and it ends on a non-contact injury in practice. No guarantee he will ever be able to recapture that greatness. Why do we continually fall for the biggest lie in sports?
What is that lie, you might ask?
That this one rookie card or this one player will be the next Brady, and that investing in that potential is worth the risk.
Spoiler alert – every single part of every single stat will show that 99% of the time, its the dumbest possible thing you can do.