On the Radar: 2016 Panini Gala Football Product Preview

After seeing Panini taking their normal bowel movement on the Certified preview today, it reminded me I still have a few other dookies I have to talk about. Certified is fucking terrible, but it has absolutely nothing on how much of a disaster Gala Football is.

After a DISMAL performance on the NBA side, combined with a desperate need for products to fill their insanely oversaturated product calendar, Panini settled on bringing Gala to football. Its so bad I have no words. Yes, I “just cant even.” Its true, when talking about Gala, I have been reduced to a high school girl talking about her ex boyfriend on Facebook.

Here is what the finished cards look like in Basketball:

2014-15 Gala Dikembe Mutombo Silver Screen Autograph

2014-15 Gala Harrison Barnes Cinematic Signatures

2014-15 Gala Kyrie Irving Starring Role Auto

2014-15 Gala Tony Parker Award Winner Auto

The theme of the set is the beginning of our journey into darkness, as Panini has chosen to use movies and Hollywood type elements to build around. Not only are they so odd that they illicit a laugh, but the design doesnt do them any favors. Are we really supposed to think that Starring Role Signatures is something people will want in their 180 dollar box? I guess Panini’s product team sure thinks its the answer to everyone’s problems. Who needs razor thin margins when you can have COMING ATTRACTIONS MEMORABILIA AND ACTION AUTOGRAPHS! Im not kidding, they actually named a set “Action Autographs.” It sounds like a name that is used as a placeholder while you think up the real name for the set.

Continuing into the design of the rest of the cards, the looks range from blah to train wreck, including the standard usage of acetate, which they cant make a product without. Why they decided this was worth continuing to produce is beyond me, but like I mentioned before, they are HURTING for ideas.

Bottom line, this product is like watching a bad movie. One that is almost deliberately bad. This is the Sharknado 3 of the hobby, and that isnt singing the cult classic song the way SyFy wants us to with their purposefully bad movies.

If you buy a box of Gala, my thoughts are with your family. I honestly have no clue what the fuck they were thinking. Great job NFL, thanks for dooming us to the dark ages of Panini garbage.

On the Radar: 2016 Panini Certified Football Product Preview

After seeing the preview for 2016 Certified Football, I am walking away with one quesiton:

WHAT THE FUCK IS PANINI DOING WITH THEIR TOP BRANDS?

That’s about it. You would think they would want to invest in their legacy products, but nope, they leave them to rot with the worst designs around:

2015 Certified Marcus Mariota Auto patch /5

2015 Certified Jameis Winston Auto patch /15

2015 Certified Amari Cooper Auto /10

2015 Certified Todd Gurley Auto /10

For the last few years, Panini has run their most important brands of the year into the ground, or in the case of Elite, just took it off the calendar all together. With 2016 so far, they have done nothing to show they are interested in creating good looking trading cards, instead opting for lazy design work with even worse thematic choices for the programs.

I havent even gotten around to writing a preview for Gala, but holy fuck balls, that shit is ugly. Of course, Gala means about as much to football as Johnny Manziel means to the Cleveland Browns at this point, so its not as big of a deal when they set that product ablaze before it even hits the production line.

Certified on the other hand, has been around for over a decade, and though it has delivered some of the most hideous examples of modern card design in history, people love it. Sometimes a blind squirrel finds a nut, and they get something right, but not in the last few years.

Panini is obsessed with two things in the way they build their cards, and both of them make me sick. Sick that they were given the reigns for my favorite sport, and sick that even with a guide dog, this blind squirrel is still starving for visual appeal. They love separated areas for each element of the card and those goofy ass posed pictures. You can imagine why they need Fathers Day and Black Friday to clear product now.

Much like the rest of the products they do during this time of year, Certified is a certified disaster. The main box hits look terrible. They used a big white box to house the sticker, which is being used instead of on card for the 19th product in a row for them. Aside from a lack of hard signed autographs, the card looks like the player is being sliced off at the waist. I have no idea why anyone thinks this looks good, as a faded area would be much easier to stomach. Alas, this is the way Panini builds their shit, and it bothers the hell out of me.

The fabric of the game looks better than last year, as does the gold team, but considering how much of a dumpster fire they were over the last few years, Im not sure that says much about the product’s potential.

Panini will literally put out 20 of these types of sets this year, and all 20 will not be good. I can already tell you that. If it isnt a super premium product that is designed by the basketball team, the cards will be shit. That’s just the way it works. Topps had their duds too, but they rarely fucked up twice in a row. If something didnt work, they axe it, with Fire being the only exception to the rule.

I can assure you that I am inching ever closer to giving up on football all together, and I dont think I am alone in saying that. The days of Upper Deck and Topps are gone, and here we are, left with the garbage. Someone needs to take it out to the curb, because it smells to high hell.

SCU Go-Live Report: 2015 Leaf Q Product Review

I like what Leaf has been doing as of late. A lot.

First, Leaf Metal draft is the best looking pre-draft set of the year so far, and Trinity hasnt even come out yet. Both make and will make Panini look so silly in their horrid looks, that is embarassing. Value seems to be creeping upwards as well, which is always something that Leaf has competed with against the bigger companies. Q is the first product that they have taken the super premium approach on, outside of repacks, and I like it just as much as the other stuff they have been doing.

Check out some of the cool cards:

2015 Leaf Q Babe Ruth Bat Relic

2015 Leaf Q Tom Brady Auto /5

2015 Leaf Q Al Pacino Auto

2015 Leaf Q Chevy Chase Auto

2015 Leaf Q Lionel Messi Auto

The look of the cards is very Exquisite-esque, and I dont think that is by accident. I like the foil embellished simple design, and the on card autographs for some of the top names of all sports is cool. Although not every autograph is on card, the stickers are from people that normally dont sign much, or are a big enough name that it doesnt matter.

I especially like the checklist, which is a hodge podge of big names from all over the world of sports, including some fun autographs from Al Pacino and Chevy Chase. If you remember back to the Oliver Stone movie Any Given Sunday, Pacino played head coach Tony DAmato, a role that seems to follow him around more than many of his parts. I loved the movie, and this card is a must have for me.

Overall, if Leaf wants to keep putting out products like this, they are definitely going to get my attention. Its hard to produce a super premium product without a license, and its clear to me that Leaf is definitely swinging for the fences. I see them try things that most of the card companies arent going to try, and so far it looks like a success with a small print run.

Really good work all around.

Bowman Big Pulls Starting to Surface: Kenta Maeda Superfractor On Ebay

Every year, prospectors and team collectors look forward to the release of Bowman baseball, mainly because of the potential of pulling the top chase cards in the hobby. Low numbered parallels in the set can sell for thousands or even tens of thousands as history has shown. There is no other set not named Exquisite that carries this sort of aura, and this year’s Bowman set is no different. In fact, someone pulled and listed one of the biggest cards available in the Kenta Maeda Bowman Superfractor Auto 1/1.

Funny enough, its not even close to the only card that is going to break the 1k mark, something that is awesome for a box that costs less than 100 bucks:

2016 Bowman Yoan Moncada Orange Shimmer Auto /10

2016 Bowman Ultimate Prospect Auto – 24 players /10

2016 Bowman Kenta Maeda Gold Refractor Auto /50

2016 Bowman Dansby Swanson Orange Refractor Auto /10

2016 Bowman Alex Bregman Gold Refractor Auto /50

I love watching Bowman sales, as its like people watching at the local tourist trap. Every so often you see someone walk by that just makes your jaw drop. Sales on some of the main prospect cards are much like that, with some so high it makes you wonder how someone could drop that kind of money on someone with no MLB experience. With the flame out rate of prospects as high as it is, prospecting has become as risky of a venture as ever.

That still doesnt mean people wont shell out big bucks for a guy they are collecting – even if he isnt among the top prospects in the set. That’s what makes this so much fun to observe. I dont see other mid range products generating this type of attention, especially when the Bowman name is attached to so many products each year.

As much as I want to believe that Yoan Moncada is the best thing to play for the Red Sox since David Ortiz, I just cant help but think about all those guys who have been worth as much with so little on their resume. Although, to be fair, I doubt the people who buy these cards are spending money so far outside their price range either. When the Moncada super eventually hits, that’s going to be where things really get nuts.

Overall, Bowman remains a spectacle of a sort that rarely exists in the hobby any longer. We need these types of things to continue, as I see the target market as a shrinking resource, not something that growing. Ill support the reckless spending of people as long as its contributing to more collectors buying Bowman as a result. For right now, that looks like the case.

The gamblers in all of us want to pull the slot machine lever at 60 bucks a pop and hit the jackpot. That pie in the sky mentality is what drives a lot of us to break wax, but as we see with Bowman it actually happens quite a few times.

How Did the First Round of the 2016 NFL Draft Shake Out For the Hobby?

2016NFLDraftlogo

I love the draft. Its my favorite event of the year other than the Super Bowl, mainly because there is so much that goes on and so much action. Aside from some horrible things that happened to Laremy Tunsil last night, I would say it was one of the more interesting first rounds of recent years. Starting the night with two QBs isnt a bad thing either.

Jared Goff

Pick: 1
Hobby Potential (2016): High
Hobby Potential (Long Term): Fair to Good
Hobby Pick Grade: B

The hobby loves quarterbacks, especially quarterbacks that are taken number one. Its a distinction that gets you extra love from the collectors, and Goff will be getting some nice values as a result. I personally dont think he is going to be the next big thing or even a top guy, but this is the era we are in. Teams think they need QBs at the expense of everything else. The Rams arent all that great of a team, and that is going to hurt his development too. Going to be interesting how he does.

2016 Contenders Draft Jared Goff Auto Ticket

2016 Leaf Metal Draft Jared Goff Black Refractor Auto /15

2016 Score Jared Goff Artists Proof Auto /25

Carson Wentz

Pick: 2
Hobby Potential (2016): High
Hobby Potential (Long Term): Fair to Good
Hobby Pick Grade: B+

For some reason, people like Carson Wentz more than Jared Goff right now, and its a bit odd. Both of the two top guys were looking to be rated similarly, and may end up being interchangeable for the rest of the year as a result. Its not like Goff was miles ahead. Like Goff, I dont see a huge reason to dump all sorts of praise on Wentz as the future of the Eagles, but at least they look to be on a better track than they were with Chip at the helm.

2016 Leaf Metal Draft Carson Wentz Blue Refractor Auto /50

2016 Score Carson Wentz Gold Zone Auto /25

2016 Leaf Ultimate Carson Wentz Black Auto /10

Ezekiel Elliott

Pick: 4
Hobby Potential (2016): High
Hobby Potential (Long Term): Good
Hobby Pick Grade: A

This is a great, great, great situation for football cards. Widely collected team gets who is likely the most widely hyped prospect. Although RBs have little value in the hobby these days, Gurley showed that rookie seasons can be fun for collectors. I see a big drop off in his cards after this year, as second year RB cards NEVER sell. The position is a black hole for hobby value these days, and that is sad. Elliott is not as good as Gurley, but he should be a fun player to watch behind the best Offensive Line in the league.

2016 Contenders Ezekiel Elliott Bowl Auto /99

2016 Leaf Ezekiel Elliott Gold Auto /25

Corey Coleman

Pick: 15
Hobby Potential (2016): Fair
Hobby Potential (Long Term): Low
Hobby Pick Grade: D+

Ahhhhh Cleveland. Thanks for taking a WR and ruining his collecting appeal. Its not that there arent Browns collectors out there, its just that no one has confidence that they can develop anyone of worth. Coleman has talent to be a good WR, but does anyone believe RGIII is going to find the magic pill that reverts his body and mind to 2012? Even if Coleman turns out to have nice production, at best I see him as another Mike Evans type guy in the hobby.

2016 Leaf Metal Corey Coleman Gold Refractor 1/1

2016 Contenders Draft Corey Coleman Cracked Ice /23

Will Fuller

Pick: 21
Hobby Potential (2016): Fair
Hobby Potential (Long Term): Fair to Good
Hobby Pick Grade: B-

Im not quite sure why Houston wanted to pick a WR over some of the other desperate needs they have, but when you overpay for a QB like they did with Osweiler, I guess you have to surround him with weapons to make it less likely he is going to suck. The issue is that DeAndre Hopkins is the number 1 in Houston, and that means Will Fuller is just going to be used like Mike Wallace was in Pittsburgh. He is a speedster, and he might not get much of a look outside of that for a few years.

2016 Score Will Fuller Auto Showcase RC

2016 Leaf Metal Draft Will Fuller Red Refractor Auto /5

Josh Doctson

Pick: 22
Hobby Potential (2016):Good
Hobby Potential (Long Term): Fair to Good
Hobby Pick Grade: A-

I really like Doctson. Its really too bad, because I HATE THE REDSKINS. He is going to be the best receiver in the class, and it is really shitty that he is going to a team that I cant stand. The main issue with Doctson is not his skill, but that he has a TERRIBLE signature, and that will hurt his long term value in some ways. I think this guy will be one of the main sleepers of this class. You watch.

2016 Prizm Draft Josh Doctson Purple Flash Auto

2016 Score Josh Doctson Purple Auto /25

Laquon Treadwell

Pick: 23
Hobby Potential (2016): Fair to Good
Hobby Potential (Long Term): Fair to Good
Hobby Pick Grade: B+

I was very happy with this pick, obviously. Vikings are a widely collected team, and Treadwell looks like a good receiver to pair with Teddy and Stefon Diggs. That being said, he isnt going to have the long TDs or be a focus as long as Peterson is around, so that could limit his production for the first couple of years. The Vikings are a dink and dump team in the passing game, and hopefully Treadwell will give them some good receptions in that respect.

2016 Score Laquon Treadwell Blue Auto /50

2016 Leaf Ultimate Laquon Treadwell Gold Auto /50

Paxton Lynch

Pick 26
Hobby Potential (2016): Good to High
Hobby Potential (Long Term): Good
Hobby Pick Grade: A

Here is something everyone needs to know. Lynch is not going to play in 2016 barring injury. He may not play in 2017. He is a project with major upside, and a great potential to eventually be a popular player. That means his cards are going to slump, and collectors hate waiting. If you have Lynch’s cards, now is the time to sell if you dont want to wait that amount of time. The reason I gave this an A is because by the time everyone gets he isnt going to play, we will already be most of the way through the year. The Broncos are a popular team and that will mean a lot of bump for his value.

2016 Leaf Metal Draft Paxton Lynch Blue Auto /50

2016 Contenders Paxton Lynch Bowl Ticket Auto /99

I still think this class could end up being a dud, but with some of the teams added now, maybe not as much. I guess we will have to see.