Review: 2011 Panini Contenders Football

2011 Contenders football is out and it is once again one of the top products for NFL rookie autographs to buy for that season. With at least 4 autographs per hobby box, Panini packs in the rookie autographs in such a way that promotes value season after season. Even this season, there are the regular SPs as well as the variants with the hard signed, on card autographs. These hard signed variants (another link to more variants) are slightly edited in such a way where it is like a little game, trying to figure out if yours is the one with something edited off the original photo. Just more to chase after for you rookie collectors.

Besides the autographs, you still have a decent sized base set and some nice inserts to go after including the paralleled tickets and several rookie inserts. With the ticket design still in full effect, you get a recognized brand once again this year. Check out the bottom of the review for our gallery of hits and make sure you let us know what you think of this product by Panini.


The design isn’t one of the best of recent years, but it’s definitely not one of the worst. A positive that I take out of the design is the fact that the dreaded “white autograph box of death” is better built into the card so it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. I also really like the way the on-card autographs stand out above the stickers, so we definitely need to work on getting more players on-card in this product. But I’m not a huge fan of the layout in general and how the team colors dominate the card as they do. I would like to see more of an accent of those colors with a better design in place. Not terrible, but definitely not the best in recent memory.


I understand the aim of this product and what it’s supposed to be. This product is meant to be a prospecting product of sorts in football. It’s also all about the rookie autographs. So with the veteran base set, the legends in the inserts, and the rookie autographs and in inserts, it does what it’s supposed to do. I like the rookie choices as you have all your top rookies available. I would, however, like to see maybe one veteran autograph per box. That’s just me. I think it may reach more collectors like that, but this is a product based off of the rookie autographs. I just like variety in my boxes.


I actually find this to be one of Panini’s more higher value per box products. It’s easy to add value by adding in some great rookie autographs like Panini has done. But it’s harder to have a product succeed at making what seems like could be worthless rookie autographs valuable. With the way Panini short prints certain rookie autographs, it makes them more valuable because people need them to complete sets or just want that player. It drives the secondary market even more because people know that this product contains some of the more valuable rookie autographs of the year, and it’s more obtainable to the masses. Prices may drop on the product in a month or so, but it’s a worthy break if you want to spend the cash.


Overall, this could of been one of the football products of the year if I liked the design more. Design is always pretty subjective, so you may like it just because it looks better to you. That shouldn’t stop you from buying this product. The checklist is full of great rookies that hold some great value. Speaking of value, there are no game used memorabilia pieces in this product, which to me, is great. All autographs in this product, and that makes it one of the best of the year and why everyone looks forward to it. Improve the design, and it’s back to being a winner once again. I’d love to see a patch autograph per box added as well, but that’s just a dream.

Thank you Panini for providing this box to review. I will be adding a couple autographs towards the Blogoversary party coming up all April long, so stay tuned for that. Until then, check out the gallery below.

Not shown: Kyle Rudolph Autograph Redemption