Tale of the Tape: 2013 Bowman vs 2013 Score

Now that the first two REAL products of the 2013 football season are out, there is going to be obvious competition between the two. Which product is the better break? Which product is better overall? If you are a collector, which product do you think should be hailed and which should be axed? Both Bowman and Score both have plusses and minuses, and I want to break it down category by category.

Rookie Cards

Score was released first, and has found ways to get the rookies in their NFL jerseys for one subset in the boxes. On all the other cards, its a college sideline photo or head shot with the pro logo in the bottom right. For Bowman, the rookie cards are retouched college action shots with the team logo above the nameplate. There is no second rookie card set.

2013 Score Mike Glennon 1989 Throwback RC

2013 Score Geno Smith Hot Rookies RC

Personally, I hate the rookie cards in Score. I think they might be some of the worst in recent memory. Not only is the photoshop work poorly done, and the design of the cards mind numbingly awful, but the effect is lost because all but one rookie has double zero as their number. On the 1989 Throwbacks, there are INSANELY MAJOR issues with the way the rookies are presented, as each of the pictures are basically not worth looking at. At least with Bowman, the cards have action shots, and the retouches are just to hide the college logos. The design is simple and cool, which for a pre-premiere product is pretty much unheard of.

2013 Bowman EJ Manuel RC

2013 Bowman Tavon Austin RC


Rookie Autographs

This is a matter of on card versus stickers, as Bowman’s are all Chrome and on card, while score is 100% stickers. I did not purchase a single Score rookie auto because of all the issues mentioned above, and I dont plan to. The hot rookies all use the big white box technique, usually without need, and the cards look awful to begin with. When you slice the pics off at the knees its even worse.

2013 Score Marcus Lattimore Auto

2013 Score Cordarrelle Patterson Hot Rookies Auto /99

Bowman’s autos are the same pictures from the rookie cards, but with no team logo. They are all on Chrome Stock and all use the NFL logo instead of the team logo. Topps included all the normal parallels, including Superfractor auto 1/1s, which make the cards that much more worth chasing. I love the different refractors and always have, and it doesnt bother me that much that they were unable to get the NFL logos on there. The cards look great. I didnt even get to the Mini Autos.

2013 Bowman Tavon Austin Orange Refractor Auto RC /50

2013 Bowman Marcus Lattimore Blue Refractor Auto


Veteran Content

I was literally shocked by how much veteran content that Panini was able to sacrifice for a product like this, and most of it was the best they have had in a long time. The Veteran Patch autos are absoltuely awesome, and the Score Inscriptions were a great retro design to go with. Its too bad how much of a sticker dump this is, but singles are worth the look.

2013 Score Inscriptions JJ Watt Auto

2013 Score Future Franchise Alfred Morris Auto Jersey

2013 Score Franchise Fabrics Adrian Peterson Auto Jersey Logo

Bowman just has jerseys, and they arent even done that well. I was hoping that Topps would dedicate more to the veterans this year, and this is not a good start. They need to do better or their products will not stand with such a weak rookie class.

VERDICT: Not even a contest – SCORE DOMINATES

Box Value

Bowman has already jumped significantly since release, mainly because each box has at least one color auto. Not only that, but the massive amounts of parallels are incredible for adding value, which add to everything. If you havent bought one buy now, you are basically too late.

Score is dropping every day, and its mostly because the best autographs you can pull cant really carry the price of a box. That is not a good thing. If you pull a top auto in Bowman, you get more than you would if you pulled a top PARALLEL auto in Score. Bowman looks nicer and uses Chrome, so the cards are worth more. Its that simple.


Non Auto Parallels

Score really captialized on adding parallels to this set, but Bowman did as well. The problem with Bowman is that there are so many different ones that its hard to keep them straight. For some, this might be a plus, but for me, it just got me confused.

2013 Bowman Colin Kaepernick Orange Foil /50

2013 Bowman Jonathan Franklin Purple Ice /10

The Artist Proof and Red Zone parallels have been around forever, and Panini did a good job getting them built out. Each set has extra value in the parallels, and I dont think one does it better than the other. This is as close as it gets.

2013 Score Doug Martin Artists Proof 1/1



Since 2009, I have been partial to Topps products because they are the best looking ones around. Panini’s idea of good design is how many breaks the patch in the card has. Outside of that, they rarely succeed in making good looking cards. Score is a perfect example of this, and that is undeniable. The only complaint that people have is that Topps opted for a more Leaf-y approach by using retouched college photos, but this is the way it has to be, in order to make the set the way they need to. The cards all look great, even the foil cards, which have found a way to be cool even on the rainbow stock. I can overlook the jerseys for now. The bottom line is that Topps will eventually HAVE pro jerseys to pair with TOP NOTCH design, while Panini will just have poorly composed and unappealing examples.


3 thoughts on “Tale of the Tape: 2013 Bowman vs 2013 Score

  1. I agree Bowman pretty much blows score out of the water – it’s going to be real interesting to see how Topps Chrome fairs if Bowman is this impressive, especially as a pre-Premiere product. Sadly, like you said it’s pretty much too late to buy Bowman.

  2. I opened 8 packs of Score this weekend and without seeing anything other than the previews for Bowman, Bowman wins hands down (and the fact that I just tossed $16 dollars in the toilet doesn’t help any). I guess Score is trying to go toe-to-to with Topps based on MSRP and hobby box price and it won’t even come close. Reusing the 1989 design – YET AGAIN – Score is just floundering in a sea of redundancy. Out of the 8 packs I opened, 6 were undrafted rookies. Six. Undrafted rookies with horrible mug shots. This will be the first in a long line of uninspired Panini products that will litter the shelves this year like every year before. One day I will learn to just wait until the first Topps product comes out instead of buying cards that end up at Goodwill the next day because they are worth more as a 5 cent a card tax write-off.

  3. What was Bowman’s initial price? How much has it jumped? If my LCS has it at the original price maybe I will give this a go after all.

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