Review: 2011 Donruss Elite Football

2011 Donruss Elite football produced by Panini is back this season with all the die-cuts, autographs, and memorabilia you have come to expect from the brand since it was created. Also returning is the foil board design that has made this product stand out from the beginning as well. This product will bring you all the rookies from the recent draft as well as the veterans that you have always love and delivers in that department. It definitely has it’s positives and negatives, but with the right adjustments next year I believe that this product will be capable of returning to it’s former glory.

2011 Donruss Elite football comes with 5 card per pack and 20 packs per hobby box. On average you will find four hits in your box. There are autographs, game used jerseys, and patches available including Panini’s new booklet cards. At a little less than $100, this is now about average for this type of product. Let’s see what we got.

Base:

Inserts:

Rookies:

Game Used/Autos:

Design:

First we are going to talk about the design and I have a few things to say about that. First, I understand the lack of images because of the lockout. I will not take points off for that, it’s not your fault. Also, Elite has always been a foil board brand so I won’t take points off for that. I’ll start with the rookies. The horizontal rookies just don’t look right. Why the change from a vertical layout I don’t understand. And putting the serial numbering on top of the words on the left? There is so much other room on the card not used you could of put those anywhere else. It’s terrible to try and read. Finally, the huge white box where the autograph stickers go on the rookie could of been made smaller. I know that’s where the die-cut goes but the sticker won’t be on the die-cut anyway as there is plenty of room. Speaking of the die-cuts, a little boring there, but it does allow less of a possibility for damage to be honest so I don’t mind it that much. The inserts are awesome and I actually like the NFL Shield and helmet rookies. The base is boring to me, which means the rookies are also boring to me on the whole. I think those should start again from scratch, but I enjoyed everything else.

Checklist:

If there is one problem I have with the checklist is the 100 rookies. 100 rookies means 100 rookies autographs. With them numbered to 899 you are going to have a ton of rookie autographs. I understand they are cheap, but how many people really collect offensive and defensive lineman? Personally, I would cut those autographs in half and use the left over money for some extra veteran autographs. The veteran autographs you do have though are solid. There is a solid group of veteran autographs you have the possibility of pulling and the Throwback Threads with NFL legends is a great subset as well as Passing the Torch and Down and Distance. Great insert subsets which include autographs and game used pieces. I’m all for cutting down those rookies though.

Value:

The number of rookies used and I think just the looks of the rookies alone cut down on value. To the vast majority of collectors, not many want offensive and defensive lineman autographs. They just don’t hold value and aren’t worth the price of the box. I do know that some do, so I think cutting down on these would be a great start. As I said above, use the money towards more veteran autographs. I can’t say anything about photography because of the lockout so I won’t. I’m just really hoping for this lockout to end so I can see players in their actual jerseys on cards this season, otherwise it might be kind of grim which does weigh on value just a little bit on the secondary market. Out of my 4 hits, I hit 3 rookies. Two stickers autographs and an event worn jersey. We all hate sticker autographs and event worn jerseys are just that, event worn. I know the use of the event worn jersey is important for rookies, but when I have 2 sticker autographs to go along with it, it hurts a little bit. This product needs a little more of a veteran presence in the common box break.

Overall:

Overall, 2011 Donruss Elite is a decent product. It’s definitely good for the period of time it is to get ready for the season but after that there are much better products coming out by all the companies making NFL trading cards. The design needs some work and I would actually either completely re-tool the set from scratch or create something new that Panini can say is originally theirs. The number of rookies and rookie autographs is too large and can use some work on filtering out who and how many players sign. It can allow for some more freedom on the veteran side which I feel this product lacks a little bit.

I’d like to thank Panini for providing this box for me to review. Please visit their various links I have posted around the blog. I don’t get anything for you clicking on them, but they have a GREAT blog and lots of information about their products on their website. I highly recommend it.

And, as always, here I am opening the box so you can see everything pulled as I pull them along with some random commentary and information how to win some of the cards!

And again, for those who don’t want to see my ugly mug for 10 minutes, post your comments about this year’s Donruss Elite in the comments for your chance to win. I’m giving every review I have a contest one week to post.

Review: 2010 Topps Triple Threads Football

Hey there football fans, this time I’ve brought you a Topps football product. A kind of higher end product in the sports card collecting world. 2010 Topps Triple Threads football. With the lack of 2011 products out yet with decent hits, I decided to go back to last year and get a product that is either hit or miss.

2010 Topps Triple Threads is full of possibilities. You get two packs of cards in a box with a guarantee of at least one autographed triple relic card. The other is either another autograph or some sort of relic card with at least three relic pieces. There are a ton of rookies you can pull from your 2010 rookie class as well as a nice selection of veterans available. The great part is that everything is serial numbered! Let’s dig into what was pulled from my box.

Base (all numbered out of 1350):

Parallels:

Hits:

Design:

The design of the base and parallels is very nice. I like the simple design that doesn’t try and do too much. It has the type of photography you expect from Topps with the players in nice action shots during the game. I like what they did with their parallels as well. A lot of other Topps products only change the border in their parallels, which I don’t care for. But Triple Threads has a different color scheme for the whole card in their parallels which is the way to do parallels. The colors aren’t too extravagant either or overpowering. The hits are very nice and glossy, definitely makes it look more like a premium product. The only real gripe I have with the design of the hits is the small pictures of the players on the card. I understand if you pull a 24 piece booklet like I did the pictures are going to be smaller, but there has to be a better way to show off the player inside the booklet.

Checklist:

The checklist is large and varied. I have to say that this is a very rookie heavy product. The majority of hits you will receive are rookies. But of course, there is the possibility for some of the great rookies for the year as well as Hall of Fame players and current superstars, but those are few and far between all the rookies loaded in this product. I’ve seen a lot of box breaks of this product online, which is the reason I decided to review this. I think there is just too many rookies for a product like this, and that leads me to value…

Value:

I’m not very sure the value is there. First off, where are the patches? With this product being as expensive as it is per pack, why don’t I see any patches? If the price is going to be that high for this box, I would expect the rookies to be patches and the cards without autographs to be patches as well (except for huge piece booklets). Game used is going the way of junk wax, nobody wants just plain pieces anymore. I can see the want for huge booklets like the one I pulled, but if I had pulled just 3 single color jerseys of some low end rookie, I would not have been happy at all. I would of been satisfied if they were patches, regardless of the player. Speaking of patches, I would of liked to have seen my rookie autograph patched as well. Again, with such a high price point, there needs to be value or the smarter collectors will stay away. If you’re going to pay over $50 per pack, there had better be a patch in there.

Overall:

Overall, despite my rants on value, I actually really like the product and think it has the potential to be that much better. The simple design is great and the hits really make it look like a premium product. The checklist is there, but I would add more current players to even out the hits a bit as I feel there are too many rookies in this product and it seems too rookie heavy. Finally, there needs to be more value put in these boxes. If I am going to spend my money on a product that is $50+ a pack, I want to see some patches. I don’t want to see single colored game used pieces like I pulled. The booklet I am okay with the chosen relics, but the rookies need to be a little bit more. This product needs a tiny upgrade to really make it a great product. For now, it’s just average. Step up the game Topps, I know you can do better.

As always, I have done a little video break of this product and the video is located here, it seems the blue and orange theme really worked, just no Tebow:

Review: 2010 SP Authentic Football

It’s right before the NFL draft which means one of the last products of 2010 has been released (March 2, 2011) and it’s the one that collectors clamor for the most, 2010 SP Authentic Football. I recently broke a box of SP Authentic Football before I created this blog and thought it would be a great first break and review for those who love football.

As many know, Upper Deck has lost its license to produce NFL trading cards. To keep their hold in the football market they received licensing from the NCAA and have produced several nice sets featuring both rookies and veterans in their college football uniforms. While some cards don’t look as crisp due to the lack of photographic technology back when they played in college, the cards look just as good as the products featuring players in NFL uniforms. Here are some photos of SP Authentic cards from my break. At the bottom I will post a video of the break, however, to be honest, the box break part sucks. It had bad angles, lack of decent descriptors on my part because I had been awake 24 hours, and my camera ran out of batteries. But I think the pre-break festivities I recorded were solid.

Base:
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Rookie Authentics /999:
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Rookie Authentics Autographs /599:
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Rookie Patch Autograph /499:
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Design: 

I have always loved the design of SP Authentic throughout the years. Even though the design may seem repetitive or very similar to designs of past years, the design is still appealing every year. This year has a solid white background with circular designs on each side of the player who is centered in the middle. What I really like about circular designs on each side is that they use the team colors as the color of the design. On the left is the player’s name written vertically in gold foil, which looks real sharp and makes it stand out. Great design work.

Checklist:

When looking at the checklist for this product, you feel like you can pull just about any of the top rookies or players from your favorite teams. Since the loss of the license, it would definitely appeal more to the college collectors but also I think the player collectors get a real present. There isn’t many NCAA licensed cards out there and getting a player in a college uniform definitely changes up the collection a little bit, in a good way. As always, there are a ton of autographs to pull as well as autographed memorabilia cards. With plain game used seemingly turning into overproduced commons, it seems as if autographs and autographed memorabilia cards have taken the forefront as to what players want the most. The sickest patch, lowest number autograph, all of these are high on collector’s want lists. You can pull regular rookie autographs as well as retro rookie autographs which features superstars and hall of famers in their college uniforms. The checklist of names is long, but it’s also full of depth and value.

Value:

SP Authentic cards, specifically the rookie autographs, hold their value better than most other products out there on the market. The patch autographs are some of the most sought after autographs by rookie autograph collectors. With 3 autographs guaranteed per box (1 being an autographed memorabilia) and the $100-$120 price tag, you can pull some real gems. I really haven’t seen many terrible boxes of this product if you look at the names pulled, but it’s always possible. The only gripe I really have with this product is actually a huge one. Mike Williams. The Mike Williams drafted this past year who plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played at Syracuse is NOT the same Mike Williams as the one who plays for the Seattle Seahawks and was drafted in 2005 out of USC, I believe. Whomever was responsible for quality assurance missed a huge mistake. Mike Williams (USC/Seattle) autographs have been spotted all across the product on Mike Williams (Syracuse/Tampa Bay) cards. Now maybe it bothers me more because I’m a Tampa Bay fan but this is unacceptable. I heard Mike Williams (TB) has been tough to get autographs from lately, but throwing on autographs of the other Mike Williams (SEA) isn’t the answer and he’s not the same person. I really hope Upper Deck replaces every last one of those cards, especially since it guarantees the authenticity of the autograph. It’s not Mike Williams’ (TB) autograph, therefore, it is not authentic. Other than that, I don’t see anything else that would hurt the value. Well I do, manufactured patches, but it seems as though those are here to stay in all products from all brands.

Overall:

Overall, SP Authentic brings you closer to the college game than has ever been seen. These are some of the hottest rookie cards on the market with the great patch auto hits you have the possibility of pulling. The visuals are stunning year after year and they change it up just enough to feel fresh but maintaining what makes it great. Simplicity. Despite a couple of screw ups, SP Authentic should be tops on your list of football boxes to pick up to complete your 2010 football purchases.

Here is my video, sorry for the epic fail:

What do you think of 2010 SP Authentic Football?