Im beginning to think that Panini has decided that their talents are better spent in places other than football, or at least I hope that decision has been made. After seeing their preview for Hot Rookies football due out this week, it looks more and more like no effort at all was put into this product.
For reference here are some of the cards we are already seeing from 2014 Score – basically the same product:
2014 Score Johnny Manziel Auto Blue Parallel
2014 Score Teddy Bridgewater Auto RC
2014 Score Bishop Sankey Hot Rookies Auto
2014 Score Michael Sam Auto Blue Parallel
2014 Score Andre Williams Hot Rookies Auto
Here are some of the major issues I want to discuss, which should prompt you as a collector of products that dont suck ass, to stay far away from this watery turd of a product.
1. Foil Stamping Does Not Create a New Set
Somewhere, late in the creation of 2014 Score, Panini thought it was a wonderful idea to separate the retail and hobby release into two products. You know, because if there is one product worth building on, its fucking Score, right? However, instead of changing the printing plates to reflect the new product, they just decided it was a better idea to leave some cards as Score, and foil stamp “HOT ROOKIES” over every logo in the set. As a result, the cards not only look horrendous with a big foil overlay, but the old logo still shows through. Not cool. Sad, because I acutally like some of the designs in this year’s score.
2. Foil Does Not Make a Set Better
Maybe if this was one of Panini’s Justin Bieber sets, or something like that, foil would make it better. But the market who buys this crap isnt into Disney princesses, they want football. Foil doesnt make football better, and in most cases, it only looks more cheap than ever. Of course, being the purveyors of fine foil cards like Panini is, they didnt get the memo. Add in the issue from above and we have a train wreck of a product that was already crap to begin with.
3. Sticker Autos Do Not Make a Set Better
All of these cards were previewed as relatively complete prior to the Rookie Premiere. They easily could have been brought along to get some signatures done on card, but alas we are left with stickers. Not saying that on card autos would have made all the difference in the world, but at least some. Right now, its just Score with foil stamped over the logo.
4. A Weird Configuration Does Not Make a Set Better
Lets travel back to 2007, when Upper Deck first did Elements baseball, a product set up similar to Hot Rookies. 3 different packs with 3 different inserts, all housed under one product heading. It was a flop and never returned. Rather than giving collectors an opportunity to sample from a box of Hot Rookies in a normal fashion, we are forced to endure this new configuration. It has 3 different packs with 3 different types of content. That is not a good thing for a product like this. It prevents collectors from really just investing a few bucks to see what it looks like.
5. A Terrible Brand Name Does Not Make a Set Better
Score is synonymous with inferior quality product. Its the Fiesta of the Ford line. It should never be expanded, and if it werent for this weird obsession with providing super low cost cards to kids that have long moved on from the hobby, im guessing it would be gone. Naming this product “Hot Rookies” is even worse, as its clear that there is probably a better way to designate a rookie’s status as “hot.” I would have maybe called it Score Select – and remove the Select product from later on in the calendar. But, because Panini is hell bent on copying Topps’ entire chrome line, product for product (Select = Finest, Spectra = Sterling, Prizm = Chrome, etc), they wouldnt dream of it. Poor choice.
Its been a while since I have had this type of disgusted reaction to a product, but I am definitely in that zone. Just a horrible excuse for a product that is trying to be first to market. Not a good situation to put yourself in, especially if product quality is compromised this much.