Review: 2011 Topps Magic Rookies Football

2011 Topps Magic football was from a cannon shot out of nowhere. There wasn’t much information about this product until about a week before it’s release date and we were able to grab a box. This box is only found exclusively on ShopTopps for $19.99. Inside you will find 11 rookie cards along with 1 autographed rookie card. This is an interesting product to review at it’s low price point and guaranteed autograph but we will do our best.

Let’s see what we pulled:

Base:

Autograph:

Design:

If there is one thing I love about this product, it’s the photography and the Gypsy Queen-like styling to the photos. They almost look painted which gives off a great effect to the eye. I understand Magic is a retro brand and Topps loves the whole retro thing, but I just don’t care for the overall design of the cards. Kinda bleh and boring for a retro design when they could of made it look retro, but added some contemporary design elements like they do with A&G. Plus the sticker autographs don’t look very good on that design.

Checklist:

At a price of $20, the checklist of this product is great. You will find all of top rookies in this checklist with a chance at their autograph so it’s great in that regard. You know coming in that this is a rookie only product with the title, so you can really take off points there for having just rookies. The checklist is exactly what this product describes and that is all the rookies you want.

Value:

This product for $20 is a great gamble. For the price of a regular blaster, you may only get 12 cards total, but they are all rookies and you are guaranteed an autograph. Everyone wants hits when they open their packs and by guaranteeing an autograph, you are giving everyone exactly what they want. The checklist features all the top rookies in both base and autographs forms so that just adds value when you can pull a Newton or Murray autograph or any other top rookie. Great job there. There are a ton of duds, like the one I pulled, and I’m guessing there is not an equal number of say Cam Newton autographs as there is of the player I pulled. But it’s not bad at all.

Overall:

Overall, this is a solid offering by Topps. There are a ton of positives in this product that any company can take and use in the future. While the design is kind of boring and could be a little more “retro-contemporary” the photography and the digital editing looks great. The checklist is full of rookies, just like the product says it is, and it spares nobody. The only downside to that is that you may pull a dud for your autograph, but for $20 you are guaranteed an autograph and some rookie cards, much better than you may find in a blaster box at the store. Overall, it’s definitely a product that is worth the $20 gamble.

PS: Remember, if you chose to purchase this online at ShopTopps, make sure to pick the USPS option for shipping to save a ton.

Review: 2011 Upper Deck University of Texas Football

The other half of the Red River Rivalry has a set of their own produced by Upper Deck this season. Are you a fan of the ‘Horns? Do you configure your fingers in the shape of a steer’s horns every Saturday? Is burnt orange your color of choice for random household items? Then 2011 Upper Deck University of Texas football may be the perfect product for you.

But is it worth your dime? Upper Deck was nice enough to send over a box of this product to review for everyone out there. What is inside is a little history lesson on the University of Texas football program and how they became a powerhouse winning multiple national titles. Remember, after this group of Upper Deck reviews we will have a giant contest featuring cards from all the breaks. I like to show my appreciation. But here’s what we pulled:

Design:

I am giving this the same rating as the Oklahoma product. Same layout, same design, pretty much same everything just in burnt orange. Here’s what I had to think about the design for the Oklahoma product review. “The design is neither great nor terrible. It feels kind of redundant with everything having the (Texas) colors, but then again, it is an all (Texas) product. I really love the UT Icons insert cards that are the hardest to pull in a box as you only get two of them. Those inserts alone bumped it up a little bit from a completely average 3 stars. I’m not a fan of the dual and triple cards that they feature, but the singles all look pretty good. I understand trying to fill out a product based on only one school and it must have been quite the task. I just think it could of looked a little better. Upper Deck has very talented designers, this isn’t one of their best.”

Checklist:

This product featuring Texas suffers from the same issues as the Oklahoma counterpart. Again, an exert from my Oklahoma review. “The checklist is what frustrates me the most in this product. Okay, there are a ton of legendary (Texas) players that were great for the (Longhorns) and some great in the NFL. I don’t mind the players that were chosen. However, seeing those players pop up over and over and over and over again in different subsets is what frustrates me. Not only will you receive doubles of one card, you will find several of the same player repeatedly in a box. I can’t count how many (Vince Young) cards I pulled from this box. I could, I just don’t want to. It would depress me. (Young) was great, but seeing his name repeatedly isn’t.”

Value:

Now here’s the kicker of the whole sh-bang. This box was absolutely terribly collated. Same amount of cards and cards per pack as the Oklahoma product. Except this time I didn’t fill a complete base set. I also had 43 duplicates of cards compared to about half of that in the Oklahoma product. Want to know what else? THERE WASN’T AN AUTOGRAPH! I know the box states there is “1 autograph on average per box” but an average of 1 usually means there is 1. Even the sellers of this product online guarantee an autograph per box. I got 0. Luckily this product is only $40 and you get a ton of cards. But the lack of a hit is generally seen as inexcusable in this hobby. Should probably give this a lower score, but it’s only $40 and there is really a large number of cards.

Overall:

I don’t know how or why this product is worse overall than the Oklahoma counterpart. Well I do, but it should be pretty much equal in all ways to that product. It’s not. The design and the checklist is pretty much the same as far as my opinions go, but somehow the value just got extremely screwed up. I don’t know if this is an issue with the boxes themselves or maybe the teams? Was the Oklahoma box just collated right? Is the Texas box typical? It’s sad that these products aren’t the same. I can try and contact Upper Deck on the issue and see what they say, but sometimes it’s the luck of the draw. This Texas box must have been some extremely bad luck then.

A big thanks to Upper Deck for providing this box for review. You can find them on their official website, official blog, or their Facebook or Twitter pages.

Review: 2011 Upper Deck University of Oklahoma Football

Boomer Sooner! Are you a fan of one of college football’s annual powerhouses? Do you live and breathe Oklahoma football? Do you talk in an Okie accent? This product is perfect for the Oklahoma football fan, the college football fan, or just a fan of the history of this program.

We were graciously provided with a box of this product to review courtesy of Upper Deck. What’s inside is quite a bit of the storied history of the University of Oklahoma football program. Remember, at the end of this group of Upper Deck reviews I will be giving away a ton of the stuff I have pulled, so stay tuned for that. Here’s what we pulled:

Design:

The design is neither great nor terrible. It feels kind of redundant with everything having the Oklahoma colors, but then again, it is an all Oklahoma product. I really love the OU Icons insert cards that are the hardest to pull in a box as you only get two of them. Those inserts alone bumped it up a little bit from a completely average 3 stars. I’m not a fan of the dual and triple cards that they feature, but the singles all look pretty good. I understand trying to fill out a product based on only one school and it must have been quite the task. I just think it could of looked a little better. Upper Deck has very talented designers, this isn’t one of their best.

Checklist:

The checklist is what frustrates me the most in this product. Okay, there are a ton of legendary Oklahoma players that were great for the Sooners and some great in the NFL. I don’t mind the players that were chosen. However, seeing those players pop up over and over and over and over again in different subsets is what frustrates me. Not only will you receive doubles of one card, you will find several of the same player repeatedly in a box. I can’t count how many Brian Bosworth cards I pulled from this box. I could, I just don’t want to. It would depress me. Bosworth was great, but seeing his name repeatedly isn’t.

Value:

This one I was actually debating between 3 and a half and 4. The product currently sits at $40. Not a bad price at all. But if you’re buying a full box, you will find at least one autograph. Got my autograph and apparently it’s not bad either. Not bad. Almost a full complete set minus the autos? Nice too. 21 doubles in a box? Bad. Why not just cut down a card each pack and not have to worry about all the doubles in a box? Save yourself some money, pass that on to the customer, or improve the product a bit. That was too many doubles for a hobby product. I could complain about the player selection again with a billion different cards of one player, but you saw that in the checklist. Otherwise, the value isn’t really terrible.

Overall:

Overall, this product scores as pretty average of a product. The design isn’t one of Upper Deck’s best, but it does have it’s highlights. The checklist could drive me up a wall with the same players over and over and over again, but that will be an issue with creating a product based on one team. It’s just the way it is. While the value could be a little better, it’s actually not that bad. Just too many doubles which could easily be remedied. I like the addition of an autograph too so that makes it that much better for those going hobby.

So card collecting fans, what are your thoughts on a product like this?

Thanks to Upper Deck for providing this product for review. You can visit them on their official website, official blog, Facebook or Twitter pages.

 

Review: 2011 Panini Gridiron Gear Football

Gridiron Gear is back for another season under Panini’s wing and we have some of the major components returning for another season. Most notably, the pull out autographed jerseys make a return and are now found in one out of every two boxes or so. Also, one of my favorites, Gridiron Signatures returns as well with an autograph on what looks like the player’s home football field.

Every box should contain about 2 autographs and 2 memorabilia cards along with a bevy of inserts, rookies, and paralleled cards. I think just about every card is paralleled in this set so there are a lot of cards for player collectors to search for. Let’s see what we got:

Not pictured: Demarco Murray Rookie Orientation Auto/Jersey Redemption

Design:

I must say I’m not huge on this year’s design. I really liked last year’s design and it just looks like they put in a little too much with this. Like the last product reviewed by Panini, I feel that there is just too much going on at the bottom. I know I mention that it also sort of reminds of the Elite design as well in the break video. Maybe if they designed the whole product like their rookies I would really like it. I do like the fading of the picture towards the bottom of the card. Why can’t they do that in autograph subsets instead of a big white box? I think that Schaub auto would look find without the white box personally. But I like that the white box doesn’t take up the whole card this time. Baby steps.

Checklist:

What is it with Panini and a rookie per pack? Another product with a ton of rookies that just waters down the base rookie cards. Not even a top rookie has a base rookie card which I find kind of strange. They can be found in the other rookie subsets with the material autographs though and they are all there. As always, you can find a ton of different legends or veteran autographs as well in this Panini product which always makes it a good day in my opinion. I just want to see a cut down of the rookie base cards.

Value:

You can find boxes for around $100. Do I feel it’s worth that much? No. But since Panini has instituted it’s MAPP policy, a lot of products start out at a high price only to go down in price after the end of the policy. It will be a good break in a month or two, but the collector wants to open this product now and may overpay a bit for it. If it were me, I would wait until it drops in price a bit.

Overall:

Overall, Gridiron Gear is an okay product, about average. The design is too much for me, but it does have some highlights like the rookie cards and a couple of the insert sets. Otherwise, it’s nothing to write home about as there is too much going on. The checklist is always solid, but I’m getting way too many rookies at one per pack. I don’t need rookies of everyone who got drafted. But they make up for it with great veterans and legends autographs and memorabilia cards which I always see as a positive. That also keeps the value up a little, but I feel the product is a bit overpriced. I would wait until it drops before grabbing a box, so it should be a good break in a month or two.

Again, a big thanks goes out to Panini America for providing this box to review.

Video coming soon. Lots of uploading going on today.

Review: 2011 Panini Certified Football

Okay, I lied in the video. Just making that clear to start. This is not the Certified product with the HRX video cards. I got too excited and ahead of myself for the possibility of an autographed video card from Panini. It’s not this one. That is Totally Certified. Oops. I’m sure I’m not the only one who made that mistake already.

Anyways, this is a break and review of 2011 Panini Certified football, the regular Certified football. The product of choice for a lot of football collectors who collect Panini products. You get 4 hits per box with some mirrored parallels as well. Want to know what we got? Me too. Check it out. More slideshow goodness.

Design:

I give the design this score for a few reasons. There is a lot to like about the design of the cards and a lot that I couldn’t care for. Let’s start with the negatives just to get those out of the way. I think the label at the bottom of the base cards is just big. I think it would look great slimmed down a notch which would give more room for the full bleed photos which are good. FOTG and Certified Potential are meh. But I love the Hometown Heroes insert set. The design is kind of an enigma to me. Maybe it’s just me.

Checklist:

Okay, so you have a ton of rookies like every other Panini product this season. I’m still not a huge fan of the 100 rookies in the base set. There are a ton of no name rookie autographs as well which isn’t that good either. But you can find veterans, rookies, and legend players in this checklist which I think is a definite plus. There are some sweet veteran and legends cards that you can pull and Panini always does a great job including enough of those into a product so I always give them kudos for that.

Value:

The current price being just south of $100 might be a little much for me with this product. Sure, you get 4 hits in a box and some mirrored cards but as I stated above, there is just too much filler in terms of the base rookie autographs. You may get lucky and hit one of the Freshmen Fabrics or something along those lines and pull a nice autograph from there, but I’m not sure how often those are falling. After checking other box breaks, it appears that I just got a “meh” box compared to others. There are a ton of nice on-card autographs to be found with some nice subsets, so don’t let this particular box break scare you away. The low numbered mirror parallels always sell decent too so don’t forget about those.

Overall:

While I’m not a huge fan of some of the designs this year, I am a huge fan of a some of the other designs this year. Take that for what it is and see what you like about it. The checklist is solid but again, the over abundance of rookies is something I’m not a huge fan of. But you can always find some nice veterans and legends in Panini products and they are always included in just about every set. So if you’re lucky, you’ll hit one of those. You may even pull some of the nicer rookies in autographed form as well. I seemed to have hit just a bad box as I’ve seen a lot more breaks nicer than this then on par or worse then this so don’t let this particular box scare you away. As always, do your research.

And as always, a big thank you goes out to Panini America for providing this product to review!

Video coming soon. I’ll be uploading a ton of stuff over the next couple days as I have the time off from work.