SCU Go Live Report: 2016 Panini Phoenix Football

Ive seen some of the products Panini has coming, and it doesnt look like all of 2016 is as hopeless as the first part of the Panini calendar. This set is one of the designs that literally makes me wretch, and that’s on top of the fact that they decided to call this product “Phoenix” for some stupid reason. I know they are out of ideas, but man this is fucking horrid.

Here is some of the disaster in progress:

2016 Panini Phoenix Dak Prescott Auto Relic

2016 Panini Phoenix Ezekiel Elliott Auto Relic – These poses are hilarious.

2016 Panini Phoenix Carson Wentz Jumbo Relic Auto

2016 Panini Phoenix Sterling Sheppard Auto Relic /199

We have all the symptoms of a normal garbage product from Panini. Stupid ass posed photos, tons of foil, and a GIANT box for the shit ton of sticker autos all over this product. The design is so bad that I honestly dont know what they were thinking. I mean, its just to the point where I dont even have adjectives left to talk about my utter disdain for what they do with their middle of the year products.

At some point, they are going to realize that their lack of brand loyalty has to do with how poorly they approach the creation of a product. As good as Impeccable was, they have so many other reasons why that is the exception to the rule instead of the rule itself. When you think about it, that is just fucking sad.

We havent really seen the full slate of what is coming yet, but some of the goods do look good. Limited is basically SPA, Immaculate looks like Basketball, which remains their best looking product, Contenders is not a total batch of dried poop like it has been in the past. I hope they figure this out, because I just dont have the energy to continue doing this for 10 years.

Is Dallas On Par to Have the Best Rookie Crop in Modern Hobby History?

Right now, there is nothing hotter than Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. If you need a top 5 for both rookie of the year AND most valuable player, these two will both be in consideration. Sure, during the Luck, Griffin and Wilson year of 2012, there was no chill when it came to the hobby’s reaction to massive success from day one. The difference, all of those players were on different teams. Right now, the Cowboys' crop is lighting up the value board in a similar fashion, with a record setting pace and a 7-1 clip on the season. Panini literally could not have asked for a bigger Christmas present.

Check out Dak’s cards right now, reminiscent of 2012 prices:

2016 Leaf Metal Draft Dak Prescott Auto RC BGS 10

2016 Contenders Draft Dak Prescott Auto RC

2016 Impeccable Dak Prescott Dual Relic Auto /75

Here are Elliott’s by comparison:

2016 Origins Ezekiel Elliott Auto Booklet Jumbo Patch /10

2016 Impeccable Ezekiel Elliott Dual Relic Auto /75

2016 Leaf Trinity Ezekiel Elliott Inscription Auto BGS 9.5

Even though the 2012 class was about as good as it gets for the hobby, all three players really werent playing for teams that had a huge collector base AT THE TIME. Colts, Seahawks and Redskins were definitely collectible teams, but nothing like what Dallas is. There are four main teams that a million people collect, one being Dallas, and the others being New England, Pittsburgh, and Green Bay. To have two players like Elliot and Prescott on such a juggernaut for the hobby hasnt happened for a very long time, if ever. Considering that both are playing out of their mind, and collectors live for future potential according to the play on the field, this is just nuts.

Its clear that even though Dallas is playing in one of the top divisions in football, they should lock up a playoff berth in the next few weeks according to their trends. If Prescott and Elliott remain healthy and out of trouble (Elliott), and go deep into the playoffs, we could see values that would make Roethlisberger look like child’s play. Hell, Elliott is already outselling Adrian Peterson during his 2007 run with history.

Coming into this year, we all thought that this rookie class would be one of the weaker ones in the decade. Very little buzz, two QBs that were drafted out of sheer necessity instead of talent, and not much depth in positions that traditionally have a lot of value. Lots of quantity, not much quality. As it turns out, Wentz and Prescott both have played well, Lynch even got a few snaps, and Goff is about to get the reigns. On the receiver side, there has been a lot of contribution from across the board, with Coleman, Fuller, Thomas and others all playing above their expectations. Elliott has shown that Running Backs arent dead in the hobby, coming from a widely collected college into a widely collected team. His performance would be ROY without a doubt, except the top candidate hands him the ball.

I think that this class would be setting records except for the sheer ineptitude of the Panini product team, as their sets have been so lackluster its not even worth calling their performance “poor.” With wins for Impeccable under their belt, and some good looking stuff on the way, hopefully this year wont end up the way it started. Hopefully Panini will carefully and unceremoniously remove their heads from their hind quarters and actually start to plan out how to bring some value to their products, more so for non-group breakers, and we could see something awesome.

How World Series Game 7 Could Change the Hobby

Last year, Kris Bryant was on of the most coveted rookies we have ever seen. Now that he is a front runner for National League MVP and is playing alongside other Hobby darlings in Kyle Schwarber and Francisco Lindor, there are hundreds of collectors watching with baited breath to see if this is a night that can change their collections forever.

Here are where some of the top cards are right now:

2013 Bowman Chrome Kris Bryant Auto RC

2015 Bowman Chrome Inception'ed Kris Bryant Auto Orange /25

2014 Bowman Chrome Kyle Schwarber Gold Refractor Auto /50

2011 Bowman Chrome Francisco Lindor Blue Refractor Auto

Starting with the Cubs, its no secret that they are on the verge of history, and not just because they are potentially going to win for the first time in 108 years. Its rare that a team comes back from 3-1 in the hole, and even rarer for it to be 3 games in a row that they have to win.

Both Bryant and Schwarber, along with Addison Russell have seen enormous spikes in their cards since the series started, and that’s on top of the already huge postseason boost they have already been enojying. Considering that we really havent seen Trout or Harper in a situation like this yet, its something that everyone who collects baseball cards should be paying attention to.

If Cleveland can pull it off, Lindor has solidified himself as an up and coming superstar, and that is similarly good for business. To think that he is ANOTHER rookie from the ridiculous class that made their debut last year. I just cant even put into words what these players are doing, and it shows in the wax from 2015 shooting into the stratosphere as more people look to cash in.

Personally, this was a rough year for my team in Baseball, but man this has been fun to watch. I know that when we look at the overall hobby landscape, events like this rarely happen. We have seen rookies make a splash in the NFL and NBA, but it has been a once in a lifetime type of thing where so many hobby collected players are poised to win a championship on such a huge stage at once.

I cant wait to see what happens and I hope that we continue to see matchups like this on a more regular basis.

On the Radar: 2016 Topps Transcendent Collection Baseball

There are a number of companies who have tried their hand at luxury level products, ones that are more expensive to break than even Flawless is at the Ultra Premium space. These breaks are usually repack products, but in cases like Eminence and Master Collection, they could be all original content. 2017 Topps Transcendent is a bit more than that, actually about 5 times more than any previous original product, with an MSRP set at about 25k per box.

Here are some of the cards we have seen in Luxury Level sets:

2014-15 Panini Eminence Stephen Curry Auto /5

2013 Upper Deck Tiger Woods Master Collection Auto Booklet /5

2013 Upper Deck Michael Jordan Master Collection Auto /50

The difference is that Topps is adding a TON of super high quality cards, a ridiculous checklist, and of course, a few surprises I gleaned from the sell sheet that I hope are coming. Bottom line, this product is not meant for the average collector, or even the collectors that are already opening packs on the level of what we have seen before. They are looking for 65 interested parties to engage in an offer that hasnt ever hit the market before.

Because the box and case count is so limited, its clear that they arent looking for widespread approval from us sitting here on the ground level. They know the prime target is group breakers who will be able to sell slots to a large group of individuals who can all share the tremendous burden of the product together.

My main objection as a whole, is that this is another in a long line of products SPECIFICALLY aimed at being group break friendly. Im not advocating that group breakers are doing anything wrong, just that its tiresome when all these high end products are rolling off the assembly line without a real strategy for delivering value to the single box breakers who are still out there.

Group breaking has grown the pie somewhat, that isnt really in dispute in any way. The dispute is how healthy it is to continue to cater to that setting, where the company is less and less interested in delivering value on a lower threshold. Transcendent is a bit different, because it is so high profile, that I dont think Topps can go half assed the way I have seen some recent Panini products take aim at high end.

Topps has succeeded in grabbing my attention, and many others, as the price tag alone brings in a flood of reactions. Do I think this product will sell out? Yes. Do I think this product will be sought after? No doubt. Is this a game changer or a defining moment in the hobby? Maybe – and it might not be in a good way either. Trying to attract lifelong baseball fans who have deep pockets isnt a terrible idea, as the hobby needs all of those we can get. Im curious if this just sends the wrong message, and to be honest, Topps might not care.

In terms of the look of the product, this is where I dont really see anything that really makes me go “MUST HAVE MUST HAVE MUST HAVE.” The design is kind of blah for me, and I hate hate hate those posed photographs. I know that Topps is trying to showcase a gilded set, but I wish the look was much more dynamic and less regal/traditional.

I think there is going to be some amazing content that comes out of this set, but for me, I think there are ways to be ultimately creative without slapping a ridiculous price tag on something, or using contrived scarcity to drive demand. Ill reserve judgement for now, but very interested to see how this turns out.

On the Radar: 2016 Panini Limited Football is Back With a Classy Upgrade

Is this a dream? Am I asleep? Is Panini really coming out with a mid range product that looks good and might be worth buying? Holy shit, someone call down to Hell, because its likely they are getting some freezing temperatures down there right now. Prior to it being removed from the calendar last year, Limited suffered in a similar way to how both Absolute and Prestige are suffering. It was outdated, insanely ugly, and the format really didnt make sense. Most of all collectors wrote it off much the same way that they did with the other shitty mid range products that Panini makes.

Limited has had its fair share of horrid looking cards:

2014 Panini Limited Brandin Cooks Jumbo Patch Auto

2013 Panini Limited Geno Smith Jumbo Patch Auto

2011 Panini Limited Cam Newton Phenoms Auto Patch

2012 Panini Limited Sam Bradford Jumbo Patch Auto

This year, things look different, and that is good. The design is better, the autographs are finally on card again, and the product looks pretty classy overall. Im not sure if there is one dude in the office that designed Impeccable and Limited, but if there is a dude or a few dudes, they need to be responsible for EVERYTHING that Panini does for the rest of the year.

All in all, I think Panini has crippled the market with forgettable disturbingly unattractive sets, and its getting to the point were 9 out of 10 respondents to a impromptu poll on Blowout say they are buying 50% less football this year over last year. If you arent going to bring something good looking to the market, and its not innovative either, that’s a major issue. MAJOR.

Limited isnt really all that innovative at all, but at least it looks good. It feels like 2009 era Upper Deck more than anything, and that is a very good thing. You could honestly slap an SP Authentic logo on this stuff and I wouldnt be able to tell the difference. The fact that Panini seems to be stealing from the success playbook is really cool, because they are so absolutely terrible at building from scratch. I hope we get more and more stuff like this, but Im not holding my breath. Two products does not a calendar make.