On Shelves Now: 2016 Panini Optic Football Go-Live Report

Some collectors have been going through a commonly discussed exercise lately, and its one I find absolutely depressing. On a few hobby message boards, I have seen people asking which of the Panini products will eventually unseat Topps Chrome as THE product to buy. Every year, the Chrome Superfractor Autograph was the most valuable rookie card for the top name. Just like clockwork, every year, Panini trotted out their diet version to try to wear big boy pants and sit at the adult table. It never worked. Now that they have bought their way to killing Chrome for good, it leaves Prizm to fill the gap, and results have been good but not great. Optic is hitting early, as a secondary offering, and its not looking good at all.

Check out the horrible photos on these cards. Just horrendous:

2016 Panini Optic Jared Goff Rated Rookie Auto

2016 Panini Optic Ezekiel Elliott Rated Rookie RC

2016 Panini Optic Joey "Dancin' Machine" Bosa Auto Rated Rookie

2016 Panini Optic Josh Doctson Blue Rated Rookie Auto /75

First off, Panini made some TERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIBLE choices with the set configurations, as is their nature. For some idiotic reason, they chose to make the Rated Rookie set from Donruss as the flagship autograph for the set. As we know, this is the set that might feature the most hilariously fucking awful photos of the year, and that’s putting it lightly. Similarly, it remains a huge question as to why they chose a new product like Optic to house the on card autographs instead of Prizm, which has a more likely chance to be the Diet Chrome replacement. At least get rid of the goofy fucking pictures of Joey Bosa mid dance battle, and Carson Wentz after a very satisfying fart. That’s how bad those cards look.

If Prizm were to offer some sort of on card rookie autograph, with the simple design it has featured in 2015 and 2016, I think Panini might actually be on the right track. Knowing them, they will do such a thing in 2017, but A) the rookie class will be shit and B) they will fuck up the design or the photos like always. With Chrome, we got our cake and we got to eat it too, and prices reflected the consistently great looking on card autograph cards. With Panini its rarely a total win. They always have to fuck it up some god forsaken way. Optic may have had potential, but all that was trashed with these disgusting Rated Rookie cards of Dak Prescott looking longingly into the distance like the cover of a Christian Rock album.

At some point, I want Panini to remove their head from between their cheeks, and recognize that their products that focus on these photos are dying on the vine. I dont think Optic will be even close to what Prizm is selling for, and Contenders is going to be the product that makes Optic a forgettable part of the calendar. Its unfortunate that the product team at Panini has no clue how to build a good set, as I feel that the retro feel of some of the designs are actually pretty interesting.

I have a feeling when we look back on 2016, we are going to be really disappointed with the way Panini has fumbled their first year of the exclusive. They FINALLY had the house to themselves, and instead of throwing a raving party that everyone had a blast at, they literally just stayed home in their sweatpants and jerked off to the thought of their time when people actually gave a fuck about what they did in the industry.

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