Man, what a weekend. Its crazy to believe that after all that, we are all done with regular season football. Not only is it a problem that there is only a few more weeks of the NFL left, but we still have a lot to work with in the releases from the major card companies. As many people are prone to doing, I want to walk through my post-season hobby awards before the playoffs arrive to cloud my judgement.
HOBBY MVP: Tom Brady
Last year, this was easily Aaron Rodgers award, but with new autographs coming on the market, his signature isnt as rare anymore. I would love to give this award to Adrian Peterson, but we all know that running backs will never be as valuable as QBs. Brady had another phenomenal year, and as far as I know, had MINIMAL autograph cards enter the market. Even though he has had a handful of autographs in previous years, he hasnt had an on card auto in a long, long time. His value is about as high as anyone right now, on his way to another potential Super Bowl.
HOBBY ROY: Andrew Luck
There is a huge argument for RGIII being the hobby ROY, but I dont think he did enough to sway the hype machine behind Luck. Even though they were running neck and neck most of the season, Luck’s cards are worth a TAD more. Not much. Both rookies have capped one of the biggest years in football cards, with 3 rookie QBs in the playoffs. Luck has proven to be a ridiculous prospect, turning the Colts from a 2-12 team to an 11-5 team. That doesnt happen, like ever. Rookies dont do that, especially when the personnel is relatively similar.
HOBBY Comeback of the Year: Adrian Peterson
If Peterson doesnt win the actual MVP this year, a running back will never win it again. That being said, during the offseason, his autographs were down so much, that you could get them for almost 50% of where they ended up at season’s end. I passed up the opportunity to get an Exquisite, beause I just couldnt verify that he would ever come back the same. Peterson not only had the second best season of any running back in NFL history, he did it with NO passing game and a restructured knee. He outran the Vikings Passing game during the last 10 games, which will never happen again in a quarterback driven league. I hate using cliches and saying he is a throwback to the older eras of the game, but he is. Bottom line, the RB position in the NFL is being transformed – away from guys like Peterson. As a result, collectors are losing faith in everyone but him, as evidenced by his achievement of previous value.
HOBBY Implosion of the Year: Cam Newton
There has never been a rookie prior to this year that had the type of results that Cam Newton had in 2011. As good as he was for the hobby in his rookie year was as bad as he was during his sophomore campaign. His performance on the field and attitude off the field has permeated his card values, thus leading to a huge cliff in his value. This was already added onto questions about signature authenticity, and general potential in his future. Now that RGIII, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick have proven that the read option is a legitimate style of offense in an ever changing NFL, Newton’s future should have a bigger runway. This year was not his year. Demarco Murray and Christian Ponder had to be runners up though.
HOBBY WTF Award: New York Jets QBs
For the record, I am about as anti-Tebow as someone can be. I was literally on my hands and knees, praying that the Vikings wouldnt draft him in 2010. Its crazy to believe that the darling of the NFL in 2011 could eventually be out of the league completely in 2013, especially now that everyone can see how terrible of QB he is. All things considered, Mark Sanchez is just as bad, and due money next year, so who knows what is going to happen with him. Jets take an 8 mil hit to the cap if they cut him, but I dont see how you can keep him around after the performance this year. I honestly dont know what the Jets are going to do next year. Alex Smith maybe?
HOBBY Graveyard Inductee: Tony Romo
I have never been a Cowboys fan, if not only because I cant help its like rooting for the Yankees in baseball. Moreover, their fans are definitely unusual in the way they collect. Tony Romo has always been a polarizing figure in the NFL and the hobby, but this year’s brutal performance in the beginning of the year and in week 17 should be the nail in the coffin. I dont see the Cowboys winning a Super Bowl anytime soon, and it might even be a stretch to see them win a playoff game. That doesnt bode well for his card values.
HOBBY Sleeper of the Year: Colin Kaepernick
You might say that Russell Wilson is the guy that everyone slept on, but he is a rookie and its a little different. Rookie QBs will have value regardless of playing time. I dont think there were many people that expected to see Alex Smith on the bench once the Niners got into first place in the AFC west, and fewer people expected Kaepernick to perform the way he did. His card values have literally tripled, and with a growing fan base for a team that is finally starting to catch on.
For the first time in years, I think the playoffs may be completely wide open as to who could eventually come out on top. The Broncos are definitely the favorite in the AFC as of now, but another Brady / Manning duel in January is almost a sure thing. In the NFC, there could be any number of winners that eventually emerge to take the crown, and I see a lot of excitement building towards how the rookies will play. I am pumped to say the least.