On Shelves Now: 2016 Contenders Football is Live!

The last two years of Contenders have been pretty good, and I think that ends up being the exception rather than the rule with ticket designs for a product that I feel gets more credit than it deserves. So much of the loyalty of this set comes from the inclusion of autographs from literally every possible rookie, and less about getting a good design down on paper. From early boxes, 2016 is one of the good years, much to my excitement.

Here are some of the big hits so far:

2016 Contenders Ezekiel Elliott Ticket Auto RC

2016 Contenders Carson Wentz ROY Contenders Auto

2016 Contenders Jared Goff Auto Ticket RC

2016 Contenders Will Fuller Rookie Ticket Auto RC

2016 Contenders Tyreek Hill Horizontal Auto Variation

This year’s design hasnt been the best in the mockup phase, but I actually think it has grown on me considerably. The problem is that the rookie class is driving up prices on the boxes to the point where they almost arent affordable enough to bust.

I think Panini did a good enough job with this set that it will sell better than most likely expected even a few weeks ago. Despite the inclusion of more points in boxes (NO FUCKING CLUE WHY POINTS STILL EXIST), the rest of the set looks pretty standard for much of what Contenders is known for. The NFL draft autos look to be the only set that use those shitty posed photos, and the inclusion of Sepia and Horizontal variation is a good add.

If I am Panini, Contenders needs to be a focus in A) keeping it simple B) not using a horrid design and C) not driving new features down our throats. That being said, they are including digital redemption codes straight out of Topps’ playbook, which would be nice if their app werent fucking trash. I like that they are trying to add value there, but their digital presence is that of a monkey in a pen of gorillas.

Overall, this Contenders needed to just be enough to not be so off the wall that collectors would have tons of questions. Luckily Panini didnt fuck it up so badly that Zeke and Dak couldnt save it, so…good for them?

One thought on “On Shelves Now: 2016 Contenders Football is Live!

  1. Contenders is trash as well and I agree with you that most of the Panini products are just hideous and have the worst design among cards (Points are also ridiculous no doubt).
    Nevertheless I disagree with you that Panini is the only villain in this business. It’s the gamblers who are destroying it, because I don’t think TOPPS and UD are any better.

    It’s a ‘Hits Only’ hobby nowadays and the card company’s are just reacting on the trends. As you so rightfully mentioned previously, the Group Break phenomena has a huge impact and that means hobby boxes are selling like hell!

    In my opinion there’re 4 categories of people in the hobby:
    1: Gamblers –> Only go for the hits (Dak, Zeke, McDavid, Larkin etc. )
    2: Idiots (like me) –> Who buy boxes while ignoring the odds
    3: Smart Card Lovers –> Who purchase Singles on eBay after release
    4: Super Smart Card Lovers –> Who are patient enough to scoop up cards, after the first wave on eBay or COMC and laughing their asses off 😉

    Though I also dislike the behavior of the companies, I can understand that they are doing it. Hit only products have to lead again into massive overproduction to keep odds difficult. Hence products need to be filled up with parallels, variants, scrubs, stickers, jerseys, one color patches etc. (card companies are very well aware that no one wants this stuff).

    The majority of the customers like the gambling, so the reality is that super nice cards (sure usually from TOPPS or UD) of somehow good players (even legends) with on card autograph and jersey or patch are going for few bucks on eBay as there’s absolutely no demand for this hence no value.
    I can’t only blame the companies for this, but indeed it’s a doom loop …

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