After we have seen a few days worth of flawless, I think that the conversation has enough ammunition to really break down where the product got it right, and where the product went quite wrong. I was excited to pick up some singles from the set, as its clear the cards look pretty amazing. However, the singles arent the only thing that need to drive a product that costs over 1300 a box.
Panini needs some major credit for getting a product of this magnitude done as quickly as they did. I know that the veteran signature gathering process started at the end of last year, which is exactly the way products should be done. When you plan out your calendar and you plan out your best for the year, why not get going early so you know you have time to get everyone signed. I have yet to see a redemption, which is crazy awesome in its own right, but having the caliber of players sign on card like they did is quite impressive.
Here are some of my favorites so far:
I really like the clean white look of a lot of the cards. You cant go wrong with white when its a product like this. I also need to thank the lord that they realized cracked ice probably wasnt the best program to run in a set like this. That doesnt mean there arent stupid looking cards, but very few for a Panini product. Although I dont think the cards look as good as Five Star, or have some of the pop that Five Star can offer in some of its cards, its the best Panini has done. Its basically a copy and paste from Basketball, but it looks great.
Getting guys like Brady, Manning, Emmitt, Wilson, Luck, Montana and the rest of the bigger names is big. You cant sell a product of this magnitude without tentpoles like this to make it work. We see that some of the rest of the checklist wasnt even close to where it should be, but at least we have the big names.
The jumbo patch cards that come two per box turned out nicely. The continued use of dirty jerseys and logo type patches are cool, and even though they arent selling like hotcakes, they are still a nice touch. Kind of disappointing that the good players are usually out of 5. Because GU jerseys from a 16 game season can be tough to get, the jumbo patches from non-rookies rarely happen. Flawless does a good job getting them done.
I have already railed on the box price, which is a bloodbath in its own right. There is just no value in this product at 1350 per box, when its clear that so many of the boxes can be duds. I am aware that it was very easy to open a box of Exquisite and get killed too, but its a lot more justifiable when the box wont set you back as much. When Manziel isnt selling as well as he used to, and he is your rookie marquee, that is going to further impact the value of the set. This goes especially so when it looks like not all the rookies are going to have amazing seasons like 2012.
The chase element is a huge part of this product, and when there are no logos, no multi sigs, and only a few major 1/1s to supplant the box price, you are going to get some very frustrated high end collectors. In treasures, you literally can have up to 8 logos per player, more so in immaculate, and it should be easy to figure out why Flawless needs them. I stand by the fact that there is nothing here that cant be found somewhere else, which is beyond disappointing for a box that costs even 1000 bucks. Think about what could have happened if Exquisite costs this much. What crazy concocsions would UD have come up with at that price? Insane to even think about. Flawless has none of that.
Parts of this checklist are so awful, it looks like they called every agent and asked if the player was available to sign before Oct 1st. If they said yes, they were in. I mean when you have Danny Woodhead in a product like this, something is very wrong. No? Not enough? How did Tim Wright make it in? Checklist is such a huge part of a proudct like this that you have to take it all into consideration. They hit home runs with Brady and company, but these other guys are strikeouts and then some.
I find myself watching breaks and see 2013 all over this set like a virus. Manti Te'o, Montee Ball, and Jordan Reed are everywhere, and it is a literal box killer. Hell, they even dusted off Doug Martin’s autograph deal to get him some reps. Ouch. Its one thing to add a fan favorite old timer like Jan Stenerud, but completely different when you have a checklist with Danny Amendola in a box like this.
Panini made the right decision to bank roll the middle of the 2014 calendar with a money product like flawless, but making the choice to avoid holes in the run with absolute turds in terms of value is a bad choice. I would almost like to pull redemptions instead of a guy like Cordarrelle Patterson who doesnt even look to have signed most of the cards bearing his picture.
The box price on this is going to come down until the rookies pick it up. When you build the first ultra high end product in a sport, you shouldnt have to bank on something like that.