Sometimes, a product comes along and you just dont expect how good it can really be. I honestly believe that after seeing what SP Authentic football is all about this year, it is definitely one of those products. There are a lot of great parts of the product, but if you know me well from reading this site, you know what I am going to love.
Inscription Auto Patches
The great thing about college products is that you can literally make them any time of the year and the content really will never need to change all that much. Because the player's college career is already over by the time cards are made, Upper Deck always had a frozen window of time that they could draw from. Inscriptions are a logical way to make that happen in the best possible way, and I am beyond excited to see that there are inscription patch autos just like there were in SPX this year. Just like SPX, its a special tag patch parallel, and some of the cards have been getting huge prices. SPX inscriptions were popular despite being sticker autos, and on card should do better. I love the look of the patch auto design this year, and the inscriptions just make it that much more awesome.
Inscription Base Autos
This is where things get really interesting, as the rookies arent the only ones to have inscriptions in this subset. I have seen some killer players have big big cards with inscriptions on them, and that is always a treat when you can get them hard signed. Some players really took it pretty far, too. Adding in the rookies is a big plus, but let’s be honest here, there is no rookie that will overshadow some of the other signers.
Super F/X Autos
With SPX its own product again this year, Upper Deck went old school with the Super F/X acetate cards that are included as box toppers. I really like these cards a lot, as I think the multi layer acetate approach is a really cool look with hard signed autos. Not horribly excited about the yellowish look, but its still cool.
Authentic Moments Autos
Commemorating big moments is a great idea. Commemorating big moments with on card autos is an even greater idea. These cards look amazing with the cool pictures and events on them, and I think that this is something that I really saw as a program that SPA should be all about. More card companies need to tie in the biggest moments of their subjects’ careers and watch how much collectors will latch on.
2000 Future Watch Retro RC and Autos
Man, if you dont recognize this set, you havent been in football very long. This set is straight out of 2000 SPA, with one of the more iconic cards that the hobby continues to chase. Looking much like the Tom Brady RC, these cards look awesome, and I love the autographs just as much. History like this shows how far Upper Deck has come in building the NFL’s following in higher end cards, and makes me wish they would come back. Too bad that will never happen now.
Here is the thing with this product. The Evil Empire has bullied their way into exclusive deals with many of the major universities, making the CLC license exclusive that UD has over college cards moot for all intents and purposes. That means that this could easily be the last year that SPA is released in this type of format. Panini has done their best to rid the hobby of some of the best things that exist to our liking, and I cant even begin to express how angry that makes me. Not only do they make shitty ass cards, but they use their money to force out the good stuff. That’s not even the worst part. The worst part is that they could eventually end up with many of the products we love under their stable, which only means further bastardization of the names we love. If this is SPA’s last big hurrah, UD did a great job. If not, ill definitely be back for another look next year too.