2016 NFL Rookie Premiere: First Look at Panini Origins

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Im not sure what to say here. We all knew that Panini has a HORRIBLE track record of building new football products, and we know that Topps literally took them to school with Inception for a number of years. In terms of products that are signed at or prior to the Rookie Premiere, there literally was no better product in the bag. Topps Inception was so good, it offered content that Panini could only dream about, before they could finally put out high end stuff like Immaculate much later in the year.

Enter Panini Origins.

When you see the pictures, you are going to look for the Topps logo and the Inception name. You will want to believe that a miracle has happened and somehow Panini does not have the exclusive. You will be wrong. Origins is very real. Panini literally has produced the equivalent of those fake sunglasses you can buy on the street. This is Panini’s Faux-kleys product.

Now, I am happy we get SOMETHING like Inception. The cards look good. They really did a good job ripping off Inception down to the blotchy background behind the player. Im glad the Rookie Premiere content that wont be 100% cards like those horrendous Pen Pals cards they have been touting.

I just find it fucking hilarious that Panini is so incapable of originality that they literally have to resort to this. You guys can all thank me for warning you when Khrome and Six Star become Panini’s newest product lines.

They arent being shy about this whole thing, and if they meant it like a middle finger to Topps, its not working. It only looks more and more like they have no idea how to cultivate their own brands from scratch. Seeing this should just reinforce how big of a mistake the NFL made. Too bad its not about the cards and its all about the money. If it were about the cards, this would be hard to shake.

I was depressed that Inception was gone, but I cant say I am less depressed that Panini is playing Weekend at Bernie’s with Topps’ dead sets.

 

SCU Go-Live Report: 2016 Topps Finest Baseball Product Review

All of you are likely familiar with Finest, but I would guess very few of you expected distribution 100% through non-traditional channels. Its been a long time coming, but Topps is the first company to take one of their top performing brands, and release it 100% through their online store. To be honest, im wondering what took so long. The cards have started to show up.

Here are some of the hits up so far:

2016 Topps Finest Mystery Redemption Auto

2016 Topps Finest Kris Bryant Auto

2016 Topps Fines Sandy Koufax Greats Auto /40

2016 Topps Fines Jacob deGrom Auto Red Refractor /5

The main thing here is that Topps has basically taken the distributors and shops out of the equation, hoping to go direct to consumer with this release. I love the idea, as it will open up the hobby production to everyone direct from a source that they have no reason not to trust. There are lots of places where you can buy cards online. Some of the places are reputable, others are not. I have no clue why this is the first time we have seen Topps use online store purchase availability, and hopefully this will be something that we see as an option from this point forward.

If you want to buy cases and boxes, here is the link.

As for the design of the product, the cards are very much in the theme we have seen finest use in the past. Very modernized backgrounds, colored refractors, and all sorts of inserts. Im not liking this design better than 2015, but I dont think it looks awful either. Being that this set has to differentiate itself from other Chrome stock products like Bowman and Topps Chrome, they have to take a different approach to avoid being lost in the shuffle.

I love that they havent cut back content just because the product isnt available in a traditional method. There are still on card autographs, and the checklist is still the names we expect. The variables are worth taking a look at before diving in, but singles could be worth picking up.

Again, I hope this isnt the last time we see Finest or any set come in this fashion. Card companies need to use their stores to competitively price their boxes and get them into the hands of collectors who dont want to buy online and dont have a hobby shop in their area.

Your Guide to the 2016 NFLPA Rookie Premiere

This is the event that everyone has been waiting for since the 2016 NFL Draft at the end of April. The one time that trading cards are the focus of the NFL world, and this event is the epicenter of that push. Over this week, the top NFL rookies will travel to LA and engage with the press, the trading card companies, and spend a day in their new uniforms for publicity photos. Here is a list of some important things to be on the lookout for, as this event feeds some of the most important pieces of the industry.

Panini Takes Over

For the first time ever, only one company will have the license to create physical trading cards. Panini paid through their nose to get this opportunity, and the rookie premiere is the first time that they will be on stage as the primary vendor for the event. You can expect a publicity blitz, both from the NFLPA and Panini about how much this partnership means to everyone, and its very likely the players will be involved as well. Panini’s adverblog will be on tilt with premiere coverage, and they will want to make sure that you see them at every turn during this week. They pay A LOT of money to throw this massive get together, and they want that money to count.

2016 Product Content

During this week, Panini will likely be putting out tons of content around their 2016 product lines, including previews of what some of the content looks like. We know that last year, Panini only had one hard signed set that was signed at the premiere, and the rest were sticker replacements like acetate scraps, manu-patch scraps, and other junk that isnt trading cards. Im VERY curious to find out if they pull their head out of their ass and get some real work done on hard signed material for the rookies. Im not holding my breath though.

Here are some of the cards that have been signed at the premiere from previous years:

2012 Prestige Draft Ticket Andrew Luck Auto

2014 Elite Blake Bortles Inscriptions Auto RC

2014 Prestige Odell Beckham Road to the NFL Auto

Unfortunately, the company who made the best use of the premiere will no longer be there to get cards signed:

2015 Inception Jameis Winston Inscription Auto

2015 Inception Amari Cooper Laundry Tag Booklet Auto

Topps Digital’s Presence

Much to Panini’s chagrin, Topps will not be completely shut out of this event, and I could not be more happy. If last year was any indication, Topps will have representatives from their digital team in attendance, and they will be gathering content for use in their Huddle app. Huddle recently signed a new long term deal with the NFL, so expect that this will continue to be a big deal for them long term. Topps has already made a fool of Panini’s digital team with some incredible draft based content, and I would expect that to be the case here as well.

The draft content should foreshadow some incredible stuff:

2016 Huddle Jared Goff Gold Draft Variant /10

Event Used Relics

If you think all those swatches used for rookies during the 2016 year are game used, you are sadly mistaken. In reality, these swatches are created by the thousands when players are asked to slip a XXXXXL jersey over their head for 3 seconds. Those jerseys are cut up and put into cards through the whole year. This is the event where all of that gets done, so keep an eye out for funny things that happen as a result.

Action Photos in Uniform

Despite the fact that Panini seems to be hopelessly obsessed with goofy ass posed shots taken indoors, the event was originally conceived as a way to get publicity and card photos for many different companies. This should continue to be the case, as long as Panini just does away with action shots all together. I wouldnt put it past them given their history of asinine photo choices on their cards. Either way, there will be a lot of organizations in attendance and its likely that we will get some nice looks of the top guys in uniform for the first time on the field.

Overall Perception of the Event

In the end, Im still bitter at the fact that Panini has taken over. This event is the first of many big reminders that a world of poorly designed cards in worthless box formats is on the way for the foreseeable future. Im excited that Topps Huddle will have a place at the table, as they could easily change the game in the long run. If they can outshine Panini on both the digital and physical front with some great content, nothing would make me happier.

Even with all the bitterness, im still excited to see what happens over the course of the week.

nflpa-rookie-premiere-logo

2016 NFLPA Rookie Premiere Attendee List Released

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Finally, after a number of weeks to speculate, we finally have a list of all the players who will be attending the rookie premiere in LA this week. The rookie premiere is the most important event of the card year, as it is where photos will be taken of every major rookie to be used in trading cards for the whole year.

In case you are unaware of what this list is all about, the players below will dominate autographs and relics for the next football year. Its obvious there are some major surprises on the list, and from what it looks like, everyone who is supposed to be on the list is on the list.

My biggest issue is Moritz Bohringer, who was a fun international story from the draft. He is a German player who wowed with speed at a pro day, and the Vikings took a flyer on him in the 6th round. The issue is that the Vikings really have no reason to keep him on the roster, and basically wasted a draft pick on the off chance he can play. From the reports I have seen, his chances of making the team are slim to none, and in fact, he is a long shot to even make the practice squad. This was likely something forced by the league, and here we are holding the bag. He will have international appeal, but its still yet to be seen if he can gain residual value enough to necessitate his inclusion on this list.

Joey Bosa of the Chargers is the only defensive player attending, which is a bit shocking with the story around Jaylon Smith and his new position among America’s team. Sure, Bosa was the third pick, but he will definitely be a box killer just like any Defensive player not named Polamalu or Watt.

Noticeably absent is Jacoby Brissett, drafted by the Patriots in what looks to be insurance against Brady’s suspension. Obviously Garoppolo is going to take the snaps, but with this pick, its seems like they could be aiming for some redundancy in the lineup. Considering the Patriots are a popular team, this surprises me.

Other than that, everyone who should be on the list is on the list. Goff, Wentz, Elliott and company are all there, as are every other QB taken per the unofficial “Tom Brady/Tony Romo Memorial QB Invite Rule.” This “rule” exists so that Panini will not miss any cards of anyone who could possibly play at the most valuable position. Obviously Brissett is the only exception.

Here is the list – more to come as the week progresses.

Moritz Bohringer, Vikings
Devontae Booker, Broncos
Joey Bosa, Chargers
Tyler Boyd, Bengals
Leonte Caroo, Dolphins
Corey Coleman, Browns
Alex Collins, Seahawks
Connor Cook, Raiders
Pharoah Cooper, Rams
Trevor Davis, Packers
Kenneth Dixon, Ravens
Josh Doctson, Redskins
Kenyan Drake, Dolphins
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys
Tyler Ervin, Texans
Will Fuller, Texans
Jared Goff, Rams
Christian Hackenberg, Jets
Derrick Henry, Titans
Hunter Henry, Chargers
Kevin Hogan, Chiefs
Jordan Howard, Bears
Cardale Jones, Bills
Cody Kessler, Browns
Ricardo Louis, Browns
Paxton Lynch, Broncos
Braxton Miller, Texans
Malcom Mitchell, Patriots
Chris Moore, Ravens
Paul Perkins, Giants
Dak Prescott, Cowboys
CJ Prosise, Seahawks
Keenan Reynolds, Ravens
Demarcus Robinson, Chiefs
Sterling Sheppard, Giants
Wendell Smallwood, Eagles
Michael Thomas, Saints
Laquon Treadwell, Vikings
DeAndre Washington, Raiders
Carson Wentz, Eagles
Jonathan Williams, Bills

On the Radar: 2016 Leaf Trinity Football Product Preview

With the departure of Topps, there is one company that is really looking to blow things out of the water, and as we have seen Panini is not that company. Leaf has really raised the bar this year, and delivered compelling product after compelling product, and now that we are getting a good look at Trinity, I must say, Im quite impressed. Where Panini is showing that they are more focused in churning out overproduced ugly products with stickers, Leaf is delivering on card like they always do.

Trinity has been a staple for years, and with each new edition, I always look forward to seeing their amazing dedication to awesome inscription cards. The whole set really has been great as a complete package.

Here are some from the last few years:

2015 Leaf Trinity Jameis Winston Inscription Auto

2015 Leaf Trinity Marcus Mariota Auto Patch

2014 Leaf Trinity Odell Beckham Inscription Auto Plate 1/1

2014 Leaf Trinity Teddy Bridgewater Plexiglass Auto

This year they are choosing to go with a horizontal design, and I must say, I am in LOVE. This will end up being the product that everyone should expect out of a bigger company like Panini, but it seems like Leaf is the only ones holding themselves to a higher standard of quality.

Logos or no logos, the look of these cards is stunning, with the silhouetted player and the simplified approach to keeping things clean on the design. Giving the player all that room to write works to the benefit of the set, as the inscriptions continue to be something that makes this set worth buying in bulk.

Im still upset that these sets are cut down online because of the logos being absent, but I feel it almost doesnt matter when the cards look as good as these do. Inscriptions make autograph content unique, and in an era where each rookie signs 25k cards per year, this makes the set special. With Leaf boxes also delivering top signers at a great rate as well, this product is a winner all around.