Quick Contest Pimp!

I have a busy day lined up for me since it’s really the last day I get to hang out with my fiancee before she leaves for Montana for 2 weeks to do some schooling. So all you get out of me on this Saturday is a contest pimp.

My own 3 separate contests are running until tonight! So get your comments in on my recent reviews. View all the details on my 3 contests here. Prizes are awesome and I thank Panini America for their support of this blog.

I’ll have two posts tomorrow. One announcing the winners and something actually useful. But most of you will want to know the results of the contests anyway because the cards are that awesome. Good luck to everyone!

Preview: 2011 Panini Rookies & Stars Football

This is the last product I have to preview for July 2011 releases and we are going out with 2011 Panini Rookies & Stars football. Panini attempts to put the “rookies” back in Rookies & Stars football this year. But we will see how that works out for them with this product. Let’s hope there is enough “stars” as well to keep things interesting and worth the price of admission.

2011 Panini Rookies & Stars football releases with 24 packs with 8 cards per back. Each pack is $4 which makes this product…some quick internet math tells me that a box would cost around $96. You will find 4 total autograph or material cards with at least 1 of them being an autograph. 24 rookies, 4 parallels, 1 Rookie Revolution, 1 Studio rookie, and 2 other inserts or parallels. So I’m guessing this is a 1 rookie per pack product this year.

The first thing I always notice is something I don’t like about the product and of course I found one right away. People who have been reading this blog for awhile now know of my hatred for manufactured patches. Well Panini Rookies & Stars carries several variations of this manufactured patch goodness. Okay Panini, I get it. Manufactured patches aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon. So I have a proposition. Hear me out, this is something that will make these manufactured patches more bearable. Stop having the athlete sign cloth. It looks incredibly tacky. If you want to keep the manufactured patches, that is fine. Embed them in the card as you would a regular patch but have the athlete sign a sticker or the card itself. Seriously, I would rather have a sticker autograph than an athlete sign a piece of cloth. 100% of the time. Take out the American flag, embed just that part in the card and add an autograph to the card itself. I know you have seen Upper Deck Black flag patches and autographs. That is the best way to do manufactured patches in my opinion. I can’t stand the signing of cloth that isn’t even game/event worn. Okay…I’m done with that rant.

Besides the manufactured patches, everything else looks to be on par what you would expect from Rookies & Stars. With a billion rookies and some sweet veteran cards you are in for a treat. If you’re a rookie collector or prospector this is another product for you with the tons of rookies and consequently probably a billion rookie autographs.

As for me, I like veterans. With some great autographs and material cards for veterans I really enjoy the look of some of these subsets, Prime Cuts being my favorite. There is a subset called Statistical Standouts with some random statistic on the front and an autographed patch version for veterans. While I’m not a huge fan of the concept as I feel it is over done, it looks nice too. Panini seems to be doing a great job in the subset and insert department. The Donruss Studio brand of old makes a slight return as an insert as well with Studio Rookies featuring posed photography. I love the back of these cards almost more than the front. They have their backs to the camera showing off the name on the back of their jerseys. Panini has a great blog post about this Studio Rookies insert set with a ton of pictures.

Finally, as far as base cards go, I love the design of this year’s base cards. Panini did a great job with action shots where the whole player isn’t cut out and you can see some of the field before it fades to a white background. It looks pretty slick to me. Everything looks pretty slick, but something needs to be done about those manufactured patches.

2011 Panini Rookies & Stars will release on July 27th, 2011 at a dealer near you.

Let’s see a picture of those Prime Cuts I love so much. Since Panini doesn’t pay to host their blog, I’m just going to hot link this photo. This is for you Jim Irsay!

Want more? Check out the Panini Peek of 2011 Panini Rookies & Stars football on their official blog.

Want a 2011 Panini Rookies & Stars checklist too?

Want to see more awesome cards from this set?

Panini Unwrapped: Opening 2011 Rookies & Stars!

This concludes all July 2011 sports trading card releases. Phew! I wonder what August will have in store for us?

Review: 2011 Score Football

Happy Independence Day to every American out there!

Panini is bringing you the best value in football cards this season with 2011 Score football. Why is this product the best value? Well wouldn’t you consider anything nowadays that is 99 cents a very good value? That’s right, this product is 99 cents per pack. It is less than one dollar. Now that’s value.

Every box comes with 36 packs if you choose to buy a box. You get 7 cards per pack. Every pack has at least one rookie in it and one glossy card in it. You can find tons of inserts like Millennium Men, In the Zone, Hot Rookies, and Complete Players. Among those you could also pull parallel versions including a glossy version, End Zone, Scorecard, Red Zone, or Gold Zone. The rookies even have an SP version with a different picture. You can pull tons of great cards and parallels in this box. Also, you can find autographs in a box at a rate of 5 per case. Not bad at all for 99 cents.

Base:

Rookies:

Gold Zone paralleled rookie

Inserts:

Autographs:

Design:

I actually really enjoy this retro design from Score. I can’t quite put a year on when this design was used or something very similar was done, but it just reminds me of the good times in the 1990s when I first started collecting cards. I love the design of all the inserts as well as the parallels as well. The Complete Players insert is my least favorite as it just doesn’t seem as colorful as the others and kind of feels out of place. I’m not sure it would look better with colors either, but with the rest of the product having some life, it just feels off. But that’s not why I’m docking the star, only a very small part. The reason I am docking the star is that huge white empty space on the top left of the card. I don’t like empty spaces on cards, but especially just plain white empty spaces. I understand that it is used to show you if you have a parallel or not, but couldn’t there just be some sort of placeholder there instead of a plain white spot? And finally, the only other things I don’t like is not being able to tell the SP rookies from the non-SP rookies besides the photo. So there is a different photo…how do we know which one the SP is?And the other is the lack of numbering on the parallels. Last year there was numbering on these same parallels, what changed? Are they still the same as terms of rarity goes?

Checklist:

Well this one is a no brainer. All the rookies you could want? Check. All the veterans you could want? Check. And yeah, some people might want legends in their product. But I could care less sometimes. Sometimes you need to step back and just create a product featuring today’s great players. I love it. There is also a rookie and veteran checklist which is solid as well. I mean, what 99 cent per pack product can you find the possibility of pulling a Tom Brady autograph in it? If I could give it 6 stars for the checklist, I would.

Value:

For 99 cents a pack you get 7 cards. At least one rookie, one glossy, and some other cards. If you look at my videos of me opening the packs you will see I’ve even opened packs that had 3 rookies in them. One glossy rookie, one base rookie, and a rookie insert. Include the other veteran cards from just about anyone in the NFL and you have great value to set collectors, team collectors, kids, player collectors, just about everyone. Secondary values on this product won’t be great, but can you expect a 99 cent per pack product to have high secondary values with everything else on the market? But I’d imagine if you pulled a top rookie autograph or one of the top veteran autographs you would easily pay for your box, which is cheap in price itself. This is great value for your money, just not the greatest if you’re investing or prospecting. It’s a little too low end for that. Everyone else should be buying this up.

Overall:

Overall, this is another low end winner for Panini. I have to say that Panini has been doing a phenomenal job on their lower end products. The last few I have reviewed have been great. This is just another great lower end product to add to that list. The design is great despite the few very small things I had a problem with. Those small things could be fixed in a snap so I couldn’t take off a lot for them. The overall design was great. The checklist has just about anyone currently in the NFL that you could possibly want. I’m just waiting for a few of my favorite rookies, but that’s the lockout’s fault, not Panini. If you’re looking for value in a product this is it. With a ton of inserts and rookies for 99 cents a PACK this is right up your alley.

A huge thank you goes out to Panini for providing this box for me to review. Honestly, I probably had the most fun opening this product than I have opening other products from any manufacturer. You can probably see it in my video that I was having fun with it. I hope the people reading the review see that as well and have their own fun opening it because it is definitely worth it.

To see that video please look below! Sorry that it took two videos, but opening up 36 packs of cards and showing off cards takes awhile.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-7AcBj6LOo]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47uZWtQH2Nw]

Let me know what you think of 2011 Score in the  comments below and I’ll draw a name for a prize from the break. Not sure what I’ll be giving away, but it’ll be something. Might save the auto for the Wheel O’ Prizes, not sure yet!

(SCB Note: Panini has posted all the SP rookie variations so you know if  you pulled one on their official blog)

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!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOX9L7VHhj4]

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.

Preview: 2011 Score Football

Set collectors, low end collectors, team/player collectors, and children will rejoice on July 6th, 2011, when 2011 Score football hits the shelves. This $0.99 per pack retail product has always been a great buy throughout the years for people getting started in collecting or those looking for some cheap packs to open and build a set or find their favorite players. The hobby needs products like this and I’m always happy to see it on the shelves. My rule for these types of products is if they are coming off the shelves, there will be more new collectors to the hobby. That’s a good thing.

2011 Score, produced by Panini, looks like they have revamped the design a bit compared to past seasons and it definitely is looking great. In a regular retail box there will be 36 packs and it looks like it will be a rookie per pack as well as a glossy parallel per pack.  You will also find a few different inserts scattered around as well. I have to say I really enjoy the look of the inserts as well, especially In The Zone and Complete Players. This is all pretty impressive for a buck a pack but that’s not it.

What you won’t find is memorabilia cards. I’m actually happy there isn’t any in this product. It will keep the pack searchers away when I want to pick up a few packs at a dollar store or my grocery store. What this product will have is the occasional autograph though which is great. One per case of blasters and 5 per case of standard retail boxes and you will find current studs like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Adrian Peterson as well as rookie studs Julio Jones, AJ Green, and Jake Locker, amongst other players. This is a great autograph checklist if you’re lucky enough to pull one from these retail boxes. Again, this is a buck a pack.

One paper Washington. One pack. And you’ll get a shiny new penny in return (at least in Oregon with no sales tax). Can’t beat that.

Don’t forget to check out the Panini Peek for 2011 Score football!

Here is a picture of what a Tom Brady autograph looks like from this set. Is it just me or does it look like Tom took too many hits last year? His autograph is a little messy compared to other recent versions.