I was shocked last year when Panini decided to bring Flawless to football, especially at a price tag that was suited for Basketball. The singles havent performed very well long term, and though the box price remains high, its more because of group breaking than anything. The thing is, because the product came out SO early last year, it had a completely different appeal to it. There were no high end cards of that caliber even close to the stuff in Flawless and that added a lot. This year, its the last product, and boy its looking like that was a huge mistake. Thankfully the design is much better than NT was, so I can look to get some singles of the guys I collect.
Here are the big hits up so far:
Right now, the football market as a whole is insanely soft for singles, with many collectors already into offseason mode and planning for the upcoming draft class. Similarly, Panini JUST released National Treasures a few weeks ago, and the dust hasnt even settled on that set. Production delays happen all the time, but this is a bit ridiculous. There is no reason why the two biggest Panini products of the year should hit within two weeks of each other. No way.
My biggest gripe with Flawless has always been that it offers nothing unique. In fact, it offers less chase content than both Treasures and Immaculate, by a significant margin no less. Add in that at $1500+ per box, it costs 3 times the amount, or 5 times the amount if you consider where Immaculate is in price right now. Asking people to pay that much for what they get in Flawless is so insane I cant even put it into words. People will come in the comments and say “Well the price supports what people will pay…” but Im not sure that is a true representation with group breaks in the mix. This is a set built almost explicitly for that format, and its maddening to see how little Flawless offers outside of an encased hit per box. I wish Upper Deck was around so we could see what they would do with a price tag of this nature. I have a feeling it would literally be the most crazy content ever put in a box.
That isnt saying the Flawless cards dont look great, but with NT delivering such similar content so recently, its not special at all. I really like the quadruple exposure cards that Panini previewed a long time ago, and the main autograph patches in the set are definitely the best looking cards Panini has made so far this year. I just dont see why we dont get something more on the level of what NT and Immaculate offer for chase content, and that is why Flawless singles dont hold up. Treasures literally has cards with like 50 NFL logos on them, including logos all over the product. Flawless has none of that, despite Panini offering them in just about every other product this year. Panini has so much Event Used shit in their warehouse that they can put 18 logo cards in Black Gold but none in a box that costs a ton.
I havent even started discussing some of the names on the checklist, which is like a who's who of college players that didnt pan out in the NFL, mixed with HOF guys who dont charge much for their autograph. Paul Hornung, Charlie Joyner, and Dan Hampton are all there, and they are coupled with FLAWLESS MEDIOCRITY in Danny Amendola, Julius Thomas, and other current guys. Lets not forget guys like Antonio Freeman and Dallas Clark, who were good but dont sell. These guys probably dont want 150 bucks a card like Montana or Emmitt, and collectors cant see how they are in there to cut corners where corners shouldnt be cut.
Of course, guys like Montana are in there, but I have already seen him, Thurman Thomas and Tony Dorsett in uniforms that arent their main team, which cuts value even further below on the secondary market. No one wants a Dorsett Broncos card over a Dorsett Cowboys card, and its poor planning to buy those relics knowing people are going to devalue their presence.
Bottom line, if you are looking to enjoy Flawless, pick up some singles, because they are nice. The cards are good looking and they do hold Treasures like value for the first few weeks. Once the novelty wears off, the prices will drop hard. Just join in on the massive amounts of group breaks before diving into personal boxes. It will be much more price friendly and if you get skunked, you wont be out 3 grand on a case.
I hope that the day of reckoning for this highway robbery comes fast. Its disgraceful to see them too lazy to even put on a ski mask when they mug their customers.
EDIT: User Pazerbaijan on Blowout just posted this analysis and I think it is amazing. Panini is such a fucking joke.