Its been a long year and a half without Topps in football, and as you can imagine, I am deeply distraught over my favorite products no longer being available. Some of them had been around for decades, others were a one and done, but they are all missed. Panini's track record of building new products is an absolute umitigated disaster, and that is on top of a calendar that was already severely lacking in regular top performing products. With that, here are the Topps products I want to see again if/when Panini deservedly loses the exclusive.
In my mind, there is no better football product available over a long period of time. It has been THE most consistent product in existence (in combination with base Topps), and when you see the way the community reacts to dogs like Optic, its clear how much Chrome is missed. Chrome created a market that has yet to be replicated, at a price point that is as low as it gets. There is a reason the top card of the year was always from this set, and why it isnt a contest anymore.
Topps Definitive Collection
This was the product of the year in 2015, and it SUCKS that it only got one year on the market. Panini has tried to build Flawless in a way that doesnt just appeal to group breakers, but they have failed year after year. At 1500 a box, Flawless is basically unbreakable if you are an individual. Its just too much money for cards that historically dont hold value the way Contenders or Treasures do. Definitive offered better looking and more interesting content than Flawless ever did, at a price that started below Treasures.
Definitive is a beast in every way:
Let me start by saying that Panini’s blatant rip off looks exactly like Inception, but its not Inception in quality and execution. Panini ripped off the idea, but failed to use the right stock, right configuration, and right quality in the way the product was built. Its like buying Foakleys instead of Oakleys. In the end, its just a cheap knockoff that looks just like the real thing.
Here are some of my favorites:
Another great Chrome stock product, good enough that Panini modeled a portion of their calendar to mirror all the Chrome stock products with a copycat. Chrome was Prizm, Finest was Select, and Sterling was inexplicably built into Spectra. It all started in 2011 when Topps reconfigured everything for a modern approach. Once the new configuration was launched, the brand took a great turn for the better, and delivered some quality hard signed and sticker autos quite early in the year. Its always fun to rip en masse, as well as ripping by the box. I feel like this is where Panini has given up, as so many of their products seem to be configured at the case level, which makes them attractive solely to group breakers.
For a set that started out as shitty as Supreme did, they really, really turned it around. Tons of veteran autos, amazing patches, and some really cool booklet cards that I chased on a yearly basis. I think the final year of the set was even better than most years, with awesome die cutting action that brought a 3D element to each card. Panini just hasnt found a way to replicate much of this success at this price point.
Overall, I know its going to be a ton of time before any of these are even able to make a comeback, but a man can dream right?