If there is one thing I am happy about when it comes to Panini, its that Flawless is coming to Football with a reduced price tag. Anytime a product seems to be 100% on card is made, Im going to try my best to support it. Flawless does look pretty good, and I think we should definitely give it a look.
Flawless was created in Basketball because of issues that may come up when 2016 rolls around, and it did produce some pretty incredible cards:
Here is why I think this type of a set will do better in Football than it ever could in any other sport. First off, cards that feature game used swatches with crazy patches in football rarely come along. To make a set that brings well designed cards along with those crazy patches is going to be big. There has been a significant shift towards more logos and relics on event used rookie stuff, but not with vets. When the vets get nice patches that look good, crazy prices follow.
The same thing goes for on card autographs, as the only real autograph friendly NFL licensed product out there is Five Star. Everything else has sticker elements to it. Basketball hasnt really had this same issue, both on the patch side and the autograph side. Add in that no player exclusives exist yet, and it just spreads the wealth a bit more.
Basically, let me put it this way. Flawless may be the first product in a decade that will put a big focus on both relic content and hard signed autographs – IF EVERYTHING TURNS OUT CORRECTLY. I always put that disclaimer in there, as Panini has been known to fuck things up more than any other company. The checklist could suck, the redemptions could be plentiful, and the price tag could break the 800 dollar mark.
There is a big reason, im sure, that it hasnt been formally solicited to the dealers yet. Although I dont expect it to be 1200 a box, it could easily cost well above where it should be. Here is why I am saying that. This product was nothing special in Basketball, at least in terms of special and unique content. With such a high price tag, there should have been ridiculous patches and logos everywhere. Instead, the price tag looks to be high because of seeding rates of the top tier players. The fact that nothing in this product has broken the modern ceiling price, in a sport GOVERNED by high end, says a lot.
For me, as a singles buyer, its not as special when I can pull the same cards in other products. Its much more interesting when the cards are crazy, rather than giving breakers a better chance to make back their money. Of course, this is just personal opinion, based on my collecting habits. If I were a breaker, Im guessing I would feel differently. When you pay 1200+ per box, you expect something more like this.
For football, based on previews, it should be a different situation. Now, the bar is a lot lower, as I said above, mainly because of previous releases. Football cards have been horrendously awful for a long time. Though we get excited over great looking sets like Five Star, its only because our standards are so low after years of torture at the hands of sticker autographs and shitty content.
Will Flawless fix everything? No it wont, and though it solves some of the content issue, it will come at a HUMONGOUS cost to the people breaking it. Let us not forget that we had a calendar FULL of hard signed products with nice content from Upper Deck in 2009. None of those will even sniff half the box cost of what Flawless will sell for per case. Im sure the UD folks from back then would tell you how mouth watering a budget like Flawless’ sheet would have been.
Dont get me wrong, I am VERY eager to see how this turns out. On the same token, you wont find me in line to break boxes. I just cant see how this will work until we get a price. Even then, skepticism will be part of my DNA when it comes to any new Panini product.