2016 Panini Black Friday Packs are Hitting Early

Well, even with a historically popular rookie class in Football, and a pretty solid class in Basketball, and Panini still has to clear all those products off dealer shelves by making shops order their shitty products rotting in the warehouse. To do so, the Black Friday giveaway is back for another year, even though content seems to be reduced again for the umpteenth year in a row. Collectors, for some god forsaken reason, feel like these garbage packs are worth buying the crap they wouldnt normally buy, and that’s why this still happens.

Here are some of the okay looking cards:

2016 Black Friday Eli Manning Base Auto

2016 Black Friday Richard Sherman Base Auto

These on the other hand, make me want to claw my eyes out with dirty fingernails:

2016 Black Friday Ezekiel Elliott Santa Hat Relic /10

2016 Black Friday Aaron Rodgers Manu-patch Logo

2016 Black Friday Kenyan Drake RC Auto

The packs are up early, as they always are, and like we see most years, the cards range from looking meh to looking like OH MY GOD KILL IT WITH WHITE HOT FIRE bad. Some of these cards look so fucking hideous that I dont even think I would want them out of free packs. That’s how bad this gets.

There are some redeeming qualities, as the Super Bowl cards always look good, and some of the base veterans arent horrible. That being said, the rest of the content isnt worth even THINKING about buying random crap to get the packs.

A word of warning – DO NOT BUY BLACK FRIDAY PACKS ON EBAY. They are easily searched and easily separated so that every hit is taken out.

Overall, you will see Panini pimp this giveaway like its the best thing from sliced bread. You will see shops try to justify the cost of taking on excess garbage when they already have a stock to begin with. None of that should need to happen. If products were built and printed the way they should be, these types of programs wouldnt be forced by dealers sitting on heaps of trash they cant move.

Just say no to Black Friday, and dont force your shop to participate. Buy product that deserves to be bought, and try to get them to use their voice to explain to Panini that overprinting the worst products of the year cannot be a method if shops are expected to continue buying new wax.

On the Radar: 2016 Panini Black Gold Football

Its really quite unfortunate that Panini already has released a college version of this set, as I think that it has some of the best cards that they make each year. For whatever reason, they seem to think that diluting a product with a worthless NCAA branded high end product is beneficial overall, while I contend that its a waste. Although Black gold has some seriously ugly cards combined with the winners, the college version hurts the splash that this makes.

Here are some of the nicer looking cards from last year:

2015 Black Gold Marcus Mariota Sizeable Signature Auto Patch RC

2015 Black Gold Stefon Diggs NFL Shield Auto Patch RC 1/1

2015 Black Gold Dan Marino Jumbo Patch Auto /25

2015 Black Gold Jerome Bettis Auto

But, as we have seen with Black Gold, the garbage ruins the rest of the product:

2015 Black Gold David Johnson Auto RC

2015 Black Gold Jeremy Langford Metal Auto RC

2015 Black Gold Davante Adams Jumbo Patch Auto RC

Last year’s set was an improvement, but the absolutely horrible box configuration and pricing was prohibitive to opening this stuff. It made it another in a long line of group break products, to the point where there are very few singles available. Very few people opened 2015, and with a college product added this year, it could be even more of a bloodbath. Bottom line, Panini’s products dont really measure up to people breaking alone, as the quality of the box content just never comes to fruition unless you hit the top guy. If you dont, good luck.

The Sizable Signature cards are among my favorite sets that Panini makes, as I love the acetate approach with a silhoutette style design. I also like a lot of the other cards in the preview, as the similar type of acetate design works really well as a way to get the relics and autographs together without interference in the presentation.

As good as those cards are, OF COURSE we have the typical posed photograph shit show that Panini has made their trademark. I cannot understand why this is a thing. I just cant. I hate it so much as the players look stupid, and therefore the cards look stupid. Panini needs to fucking stop trying to make the players look vulnerable. This is the goddamn gridiron, not the Victoria’s secret fashion show. I swear to god, I will continue to be a harsh critic until Panini’s design team decides to pull their fucking head out of their fucking ass.

Similarly, why are these stupid ass hood ornaments back for another year? They are poorly designed and the gimmick isnt even that good to begin with. I mean, I dont understand the lame ass metal symbols to begin with, and the giant boxes that obscure 75% of this card makes little sense.

All in all, this is as close to a pure singles product as you can get, as its clear that boxes will be a kick in the nuts for a breaker. Im sure Dak and Zeke will continue to carry the hobby for this year, but could you imagine what might happen if Panini actually made great content and great products? Yeah, me neither.

SCU Go Live Report: 2016 Immaculate Football

As I always say – I love this product, hate the name. It is easily one of the best looking sets that Panini makes, and since the transition over from basketball, has been one of the only Panini sets I look forward to every year. Although there is ALWAYS at least one stupid posed picture hat set in the mix, on a piece by piece basis, I think its better than Flawless. Similarly, with other sets like Impeccable on the market as the only places where you can really get good looking on card content, there just arent many options available.

Check out some of the big hits up so far:

2016 Immaculate Ezekiel Elliott Jumbo Patch Auto /99

2016 Immaculate Dak Prescott Jumbo Patch Auto 4/99

2016 Immaculate Braxton Miller NFL Shield Auto 1/1

2016 Immaculate Deion Sanders Jumbo Patch Auto /25

2016 Immaculate Warren Moon Auto Logo 1/1

For 2016, as we have seen for all the previous years, Immaculate mirrors basketball almost exactly from a design perspective. The rookie patch auto cards are great looking again this year, and Im still curious to see if there is an acetate version that pops up, or if they decided just to go with the regular stock. I dont think I saw the acetate on the checklist, but I could have missed it. If it is gone, that is really a big disappointment.

Additionally, I dont like that they are trying to over complicate the patch auto subsets with jersey number cut outs, jumbo patches and dual and triple versions. I dont think any of the sets look any better than the regular base version, as the windows tend to over extend past the swoops in the design, which really hurts the overall look. Its not like these jerseys are game used, so I just dont get the obsession with “bigger is better” in this sense. Just make the card look good.

I also noticed that the Immaculate Moments set is back, something I really liked before. The problem is that it is starting to be more about finding players they can add to the checklist instead of creating cards for the actual “moments” that are infamous in the history of the NFL. Dan Marino winning rookie of the year is just an occurrence, same with Jared Goff being the top overall pick, They are not something that continues to be a talked about moment from the annals of NFL films.

The one issue I think that Immaculate struggles with is the value in breaking boxes as compared to other high end products. At around 400 bucks, I think that ventures well into “Super Premium” and I would hate to dive into a number of boxes here and walk out with as little as what Panini did in their adver-break. Sure they ended up with arguably the best player in the class, but that isnt a 1200 dollar card. That might cover a box, but what happens when Zeke isnt in the plans. What happens when you end up with Troy Brown as your box hit? That is a kick in the fucking nuts right there. I am sure there are quite a few Ricardo Louis / Troy Brown boxes out there. This is really a plague of super premium in general, but I have seen Immaculate struggle more than others in this space.

As we move into the latter part of the 2016 card calendar, I think Panini is making some improvements, and I hope to see a continued growth as we are forced to endure a Topps-less landscape.

Ezekiel Elliott is Doing What Odell Beckham Did and More

When the 2014 season started, there were a number of reasons why the class was exciting. Not only were there 4 rookie QBs who all had the goods to be an impactful contributor to their team, but there was such a deep skill position class that breaking boxes was a lot of fun. What no one expected was for Odell Beckham Jr to set the world on fire, and achieve value that no rookie WR had done in years.

Now that we have moved on, a new rookie has already done what OBJ has done and then some. Ezekiel Elliott might end up as the offensive rookie of the year, but he might also be the NFL MVP when all is said and done. Considering that no rookie has won the MVP in years, that could present hobby value that hasnt been seen since 2012.

Check out these prices:

2016 Impeccable Ezekiel Elliott Dual Relic Auto /75

2016 Certified Ezekiel Elliott Jumbo Patch Auto Mirror Red /75

2016 Prizm Ezekiel Elliot Cracked Ice Auto /75

2016 Origins Ezekiel Elliott Auto Booklet Jumbo Patch /10

I have often said that value in this hobby is dictated by position more than anything, but Elliott is running roughshod over the NFL, and could set records behind an offensive line that might be the best of the decade. Although Prescott has also seen some incredible numbers as well, its beyond rare these days for a running back to get the kind of attention that Elliott is getting from collectors.

Sadly, if you arent a QB, it takes this type of production to get value worth chasing, something I have commented on for the last few years. Players like Wentz and Prescott will have a much easier path to hobby supremacy a la Andrew Luck, and thats not even taking the team’s record into consideration.

If you look back to 2014, Beckham needed national coverage on one of the greatest catches of all time to even start to climb the value ladder the way Elliott is doing on a regular basis. The crazy thing is, because Dallas is such a popular team, the stakes are on display on national television almost weekly. That cant be undervalued, as it stems the casual collectors and sports fans to start trolling ebay for memorabilia. That’s how this hobby grows, even though the products Panini has on the market at the moment are absolutely fucking terrible. Even the visual equivalent of dog barf is getting crazy money, and that isnt a bad thing.

My only concern is injury, which is always a huge factor for a contact position. Running backs just dont have the career life that a QB does, because unlike the prized sons of the NFL, backs take it every time they get the ball.

In the end, even if Elliott doesnt reach the Super Bowl with the rookie record, he is showing stuff we need to see more often in the hobby. We need buzz, we need hype, because Panini’s garbage products sure dont do much to help grow the pie.

SCU Go Live Report: 2016 Panini Phoenix Football

Ive seen some of the products Panini has coming, and it doesnt look like all of 2016 is as hopeless as the first part of the Panini calendar. This set is one of the designs that literally makes me wretch, and that’s on top of the fact that they decided to call this product “Phoenix” for some stupid reason. I know they are out of ideas, but man this is fucking horrid.

Here is some of the disaster in progress:

2016 Panini Phoenix Dak Prescott Auto Relic

2016 Panini Phoenix Ezekiel Elliott Auto Relic – These poses are hilarious.

2016 Panini Phoenix Carson Wentz Jumbo Relic Auto

2016 Panini Phoenix Sterling Sheppard Auto Relic /199

We have all the symptoms of a normal garbage product from Panini. Stupid ass posed photos, tons of foil, and a GIANT box for the shit ton of sticker autos all over this product. The design is so bad that I honestly dont know what they were thinking. I mean, its just to the point where I dont even have adjectives left to talk about my utter disdain for what they do with their middle of the year products.

At some point, they are going to realize that their lack of brand loyalty has to do with how poorly they approach the creation of a product. As good as Impeccable was, they have so many other reasons why that is the exception to the rule instead of the rule itself. When you think about it, that is just fucking sad.

We havent really seen the full slate of what is coming yet, but some of the goods do look good. Limited is basically SPA, Immaculate looks like Basketball, which remains their best looking product, Contenders is not a total batch of dried poop like it has been in the past. I hope they figure this out, because I just dont have the energy to continue doing this for 10 years.