2015 Goodwin Champions – Cool Subjects and Inscriptions Add Chase

Ill be completely honest in saying I have rarely even put thought into buying a box of Goodwin Champions. I am not a set collector, and the non-sport elements of the product really werent too attractive to me. However, once I started seeing some of the cool autographs that were in the product, including some with fun inscriptions, my ears perked up. Although Im not a huge fan of the design or the look of the cards, I am a sucker for unique autograph content.

Check these out:

2015 Goodwin Champions Tony Hawk Inscription Auto

2015 Goodwin Champions Jerrry West Inscription Auto

2015 Goodwin Champions Stan Lee Auto

2015 Goodwin Champions Sid Meier (Game Designer) Inscription Auto

2015 Goodwin Champions Miki Sudo (Competitve Eating Champ) Inscription Auto

To me, if you are going to do a non-sport autograph checklist, it has to be filled with famous people that appeal to a wide range of collecting tastes. Allen and Ginter has been doing this for years, including some of the subjects that have signed for this year’s Goodwin set. No one is really going to scoff at pulling another really nice non-sport auto in a different set, so its cool to get another shot at some of the guys that would normally be prime fodder for Ginter.

Bottom line, autographs are no longer really that interesting. Its the low numbering and patch content that has become the chase element for most collectors. Even ugly autograph cards can be highly valuable, even if designs are poor. I mean, Panini continues to churn them out by the dozens. But, with inscriptions added, autograph content becomes much more desirable, and that is where Upper Deck has had success along side Topps in recent years. Panini is still very late in catching on. SP Authentic Football was so much more successful with added parallels with autograph inscriptions.

Its not going to be long before someone figures out how to do it the right way, and inscriptions arent necessarily the answer to all the problems. In fact, the logistics of getting them done are almost always limited by the players, who really dont like signing hundreds of them at a time. Im curious if there will be some other way to keep this content fresh without slapping another 1/1 on the front.

Elite and Goodwin Champions Compose a Slow Holiday Release Week

This week was pretty slow for both baseball and football, although 2 unlicensed sets both hit shelves. Elite Baseball is back for another year, despite a really lackluster year last year, and Goodwin Champions is returning as one of Upper Deck’s more popular sets. Both cater to different crowds, and both are sets that really dont look like ones I would ever open.

Elite Baseball

Although Elite has had a strong following in Football for a while, in baseball, its not even close to that brand. Licensing in Baseball seems to play much to the disadvantage of Panini in most of the sets it releases in the sport, and it is doubly so for a product like this. It doesnt help that the design features a pretty awkward presentation, with a chevron looking very awkward with the sticker overlaid. If the V shape was smaller, or if the sticker was higher, it might not be as awkward, but this way looks incredibly off.

Not really sure how I feel about these:

2015 Panini Elite Kris Bryant RC Auto Base

2015 Panini Elite Archie Bradley Jumbo Patch Auto

2015 Panini Elite Jose Canseco Auto 3/5

2015 Panini Elite Joc Pederson RC Auto Base

It features a mix of prospects and veteran players, but Topps owns the exclusive to all the top grossing names in the sport at this point. Its like going into an a fight with your hands in cuffs and wearing a blindfold. Good luck walking out of that situation unscathed. Kris Bryant may be available at this point for them, but Trout is gone, and so is Bryce Harper. Not good.

Add in that Panini is continuing to trot out the tired and awful manupatch autos, and Im pretty much done with this product before even wanting to bust a single pack. These cards and those fucking hideous black construction paper gold autos all need to be axed and burned.

There are so many issues with the product, that anyone who chooses to open this over a much better Diamond Kings product is beyond me.

Goodwin Champions

I think this is almost identical in presentation to Gypsy Queen, but the choices Upper Deck makes in the weird pictures of the players completely ruins it for me. I would think this product could be a lot more successful if they retouched some photos and removed logos from action shots. Using players in candid pictures is really unusual.

Here is what I am talking about:

2015 UD Goodwin Champions Barry Sanders Patch

2015 UD Goodwin Champions Lebron James Mini 1/1

2015 UD Goodwin Champions Ray Bourque Patch

Of course, this is a set collectors product, and the redemption relics are always highly sought after by some of the collectors who like things that arent sports related. You may think its pretty niche, but in reality this is one of the reasons the product is as successful as it is. These cards usually sell for well over what one would expect, and there are always surprises.

I think its pretty much a perfect representation of how important licensing is in a lot of these types of products, as it is something that can mean the difference between really awesome cards and a forgettable product. Both of these products are pretty forgettable, to be honest. Its unfortunate, because even without a license you can still produce good looking cards. I dont think either of the products really did a good job there either.

On the Radar: 2015 Panini Certified Football

I remember back in 2007, Certified was such a big deal that there were people lined up at my local shop to buy boxes. Over the last few years, Certified has become a complete joke of a product, a shell of its former popularity. Each year seems to get worse and worse, with Panini constantly tweaking things to seemingly make the product just above the line that people wont actually vocally laugh at. Last year was so bad that it landed on both the Black Friday and Father’s day list for this year, and it shouldnt be a surprise.

Here are some of the terrible cards from this product over the last few years:

2014 Panini Certified Teddy Bridgewater Auto Relic

2013 Panini Certified Eddie Lacy Auto Relic

2012 Panini Certified Andrew Luck Auto Relic

2014 Panini Certified Mike Evans New Generations Auto

This year’s design has literally put me at a loss for words when looking to describe how bad it is. I literally cannot even describe the laugh inducing results that Panini expects collectors to shell out their hard earned money for. The patch design is fucking busy as hell, with overlapping design elements, and out of place locations for the stickers and swatch. If you remember back as early as 2011, Certified was on card, and yet, here we are with more stickers.

The funniest part of this whole preview has to be the base autographs, where the Melvin Gordon easily looks to be surrounded by a bunch of lines that makes no sense. I would say the only thing missing from the design is “SPIDER MAN WUZ HERE” in giant Panini sized text. It really makes you wonder what the fuck is going through their heads in creating cards that look this bad. Its one thing to experiment, its another thing to just straight up make terrible looking cards.

Topps has already started previewing a bunch of different products from later on in the calendar, and we havent even gotten a look at Elite yet from Panini. There is a strategy that Hollywood uses with movies that will never go anywhere. They wait until the last possible moment to let critics screen the film, as to prevent the copious amount of horrible reviews from getting out. This is almost a very similar approach, as its clear that Panini doesnt have much confidence in their sets.

Again, Certified used to be something to look forward to. Since Panini has taken over the Leaf and Donruss brands, its become a laughing stock.

14-15 Panini Preferred Should be the Template for Panini Football

Panini sucks at making football products. They suck really bad. I could go on and on about their suckage, but that would require too much effort.

As mentioned earlier, there is a reason why promotions like Father’s Day and Black Friday need to happen. They are so awful at creating a product that people will buy in a sustained matter, that they have to bribe customers to buy them after they complete the move to the bargain bin. Preferred Basketball is one of the only Panini products, that really presents the cards in a way that should move to football. In fact, it works so well in the design and on card autos, that it should be the template.

These cards can be pretty freaking awesome:

2014-15 Preferred Kevin Durant Silhouette Logo Auto /25

2014-15 Preferred Andrew Wiggins Silhouette Auto RC

2014-15 Preferred Jabari Parker Dynamic Debuts Auto /20

2014-15 Preferred Kobe Bryant Die Cut Auto

Right now, Panini's Football formula is so tired that people have all but given up on products not named Flawless, Contenders, or Treasures. Preferred presents some good looking cards, with a lot of chase value, and would make dog products like Crown Royale obsolete. Although some of the designs are the Panini par for the course horrendous, most of the cards, especially the silhouettes continue to be some of the best ones that Panini makes.

I would go as far as saying that Panini has recognized how important the silhouette style is, bringing it to a bunch of other products in a few different mediums. What I dont understand is the need to continue printing the Crown Royale logo on them, despite the fact that the product is dead in Basketball. It just shows me that Panini is so afraid of collectors running for the hills that they wont even brand the cards appropriately.

Something isnt working when it comes to Panini Football, and I am continually scared shitless when I see how many products they will have to build if Topps does end up getting kicked out of the market due to Panini’s pending NFL exclusive license. The bottom line is that brands that Panini can make in Basketball never transfer over in a meaningful way to football, leaving us with a 100 dollar box that has 4 hits and 1 sticker auto. We have seen preview after preview from Topps showing their prediction that they can do on card for most of the products they are releasing. So far, Panini cant even be bothered to have on card autographs when they have a captive audience to sign them at the premiere.

I like Preferred basketball’s designs, I like the chase cards, and I like that they are all hard signed. Panini Football needs to get off their ass, remove their head from between their cheeks, and figure out how to do something similar in a sport they are going to be overpaying much more for the license than they did in Basketball. Otherwise, we are headed for a bigger problem than which of Panini’s terrible sets should populate the latest Black Friday box dump.

My Top 5 Pre-Premiere Football Products So Far

The timeframe before the NFL draft and before the rookie premiere has become ultra competitive as of late, especially with Panini getting exclusive rights to produce NCAA cards. Considering how difficult this time of year is to produce cards, competition in this space seems quite interesting. But, since cards are a year round experience, everyone wants a piece of the pie for the new rookies, even if it means spending hours retouching photos for production. Here are my top five.

#1 – Upper Deck Inscriptions

To say this set is underrated is not doing it justice. On card autos with inscriptions, including a really good looking design that highlights all the right thing about the card itself. Because Upper Deck was losing their rights to create NCAA cards, this is a product that really set the tone for Panini’s eventual onboarding. Either way, this is a great representation of how good a set can look when done the right way. To think it even costs less than Contenders. Easily one of the best sets ever released at this time of the year. CHAMP.

2015 Upper Deck Inscriptions Marcus Mariota Auto Red Refractor RC

2015 Upper Deck Inscriptions Jameis Winston Auto RC

2015 Upper Deck Inscriptions Kevin White Auto Red Refractor RC

#2 – Bowman Football

What can I say, Im a sucker for on card Chrome autos. I love the way it looks, and the different refractor patterns being factored in to this concept only makes it that much more appealing. Even though Topps has been forced to use retouched pictures and generic uniforms, they made a great looking set all around. The 1948 mini autos are some of the coolest cards of the pre-season so far.

2015 Bowman Chrome Amari Cooper XFractor Auto /10

2015 Bowman Chrome Odell Beckham Die Cut Auto /25

2015 Bowman Chrome Todd Gurley Blue Refractor Auto /99

#3 – Leaf Metal Draft

Its absolutely amazing to me how much Brian Gray has done with putting out quality football products during a time where the big dogs are fighting over scraps. I would easily put Leaf Trinity in this spot or even above Bowman if it was out, but it looks like we still have a few weeks. Metal’s design is simple and Chrome, with all on card autos. Cant beat that. The only drawback is the design of some of the inserts, which look pretty forced and not fluid in some cases.

2015 Leaf Metal Draft Jameis Winston Blue Refractor Auto

2015 Leaf Metal Draft Melvin Gordon Diamond Pattern Blue Refractor Auto

#4 – Prizm Collegiate Draft

Usually, Prizm designs should go on display at the card creation Hall of Shame, but this set isnt bad for the base cards. The issue with it is with the sticker autographs, which Panini stupidly decided was a good direction instead of giving themselves time to let their new exclusive sink in. Some of the insert designs are fucking horrendous, and that takes away from the general appeal of the set, but its not horrible.

2015 Prizm Collegiate Draft Melvin Gordon Emerald /5

2015 Prizm Collegiate Draft Amari Cooper Red White and Blue Auto

#5 – Leaf Ultimate Draft

I really liked this product, mainly because the base autographs looked so high end. I still think that Trinity as a Super High End set would kill with a bunch of inscriptions and stuff, but it works the way it is. Ultimate Draft, like Trinity has high end looking content with a lower box price. It wasnt publicized enough, which left many collectors in the cold of how to acquire the cards they wanted. My shop, which orders everything, did not order Ultimate Draft.

2015 Leaf Ultimate Draft Marcus Mariota Auto RC

2015 Leaf Ultimate Draft Jameis Winston Auto RC

As the new products are released, Im sure that we are going to start to see the quality that we are looking for in NFL uniform cards. At the same time, this was a strong year for pre-premiere products. It definitely has not been the afterthought it was in previous years.