As I always say – I love this product, hate the name. It is easily one of the best looking sets that Panini makes, and since the transition over from basketball, has been one of the only Panini sets I look forward to every year. Although there is ALWAYS at least one stupid posed picture hat set in the mix, on a piece by piece basis, I think its better than Flawless. Similarly, with other sets like Impeccable on the market as the only places where you can really get good looking on card content, there just arent many options available.
Check out some of the big hits up so far:
For 2016, as we have seen for all the previous years, Immaculate mirrors basketball almost exactly from a design perspective. The rookie patch auto cards are great looking again this year, and Im still curious to see if there is an acetate version that pops up, or if they decided just to go with the regular stock. I dont think I saw the acetate on the checklist, but I could have missed it. If it is gone, that is really a big disappointment.
Additionally, I dont like that they are trying to over complicate the patch auto subsets with jersey number cut outs, jumbo patches and dual and triple versions. I dont think any of the sets look any better than the regular base version, as the windows tend to over extend past the swoops in the design, which really hurts the overall look. Its not like these jerseys are game used, so I just dont get the obsession with “bigger is better” in this sense. Just make the card look good.
I also noticed that the Immaculate Moments set is back, something I really liked before. The problem is that it is starting to be more about finding players they can add to the checklist instead of creating cards for the actual “moments” that are infamous in the history of the NFL. Dan Marino winning rookie of the year is just an occurrence, same with Jared Goff being the top overall pick, They are not something that continues to be a talked about moment from the annals of NFL films.
The one issue I think that Immaculate struggles with is the value in breaking boxes as compared to other high end products. At around 400 bucks, I think that ventures well into “Super Premium” and I would hate to dive into a number of boxes here and walk out with as little as what Panini did in their adver-break. Sure they ended up with arguably the best player in the class, but that isnt a 1200 dollar card. That might cover a box, but what happens when Zeke isnt in the plans. What happens when you end up with Troy Brown as your box hit? That is a kick in the fucking nuts right there. I am sure there are quite a few Ricardo Louis / Troy Brown boxes out there. This is really a plague of super premium in general, but I have seen Immaculate struggle more than others in this space.
As we move into the latter part of the 2016 card calendar, I think Panini is making some improvements, and I hope to see a continued growth as we are forced to endure a Topps-less landscape.