Review: 2012 Panini Contenders Football

Panini Contenders is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this season, which means you can find some special surprises in this year’s rendition of the product. As always, you can find your top rookie autographs of the season along with some of the most popular short printed cards in any product or in any sport. Contenders continues to make their mark on the hobby this season with one of the best rookie classes in quite some time. Want to see what you can pull from a box? Check this out.

Design:4 stars blue

Unlike many others out there, I’m not huge on the design. It does pay homage to the past of the product which is cool, but I’m not big on one thing. Vertical signatures. When you have a trading card oriented a certain direction, and then put on an autograph in the other direction, it sort of throws off the card. Luckily, some players didn’t heed the warnings and signed the cards “correctly” so it makes it look better. But the white spot on the right with the players name really faded into the background looks off. But you know what it makes me think of? How cool an acetate based Contenders product would be with that kind of design. Sort of reminds me of the old school Fleer E-X design if they did that. I can’t see Contenders breaking tradition to do it, but I think it would be cool to explore.

Checklist:4 and half stars blue

Contenders always has, and always will be a rookie centric product. With that in mind, you have one of the best NFL draft classes in a long time when it comes to skill players, especially quarterbacks. That makes this season even better when it comes to the rookie checklists. Of course you will find your no name rookies in the product, but one of the best parts about Contenders is that some of those rookies are VERY short printed and will get high secondary prices just because of that. Lower tier names aren’t worth as much, but short print them in a set that people always want to collect the entire set of, and you’ll have some positive pulls even if it’s just a DE.

Value:4 and half stars blue

Contenders holds its value better than any other product out there by Panini. If you don’t like Panini products, it is still the one product you want to buy year after year. I’ve seen even the biggest Panini haters get boxes of this product, so you don’t have to just quote me on that. There is proof. It is one of the most highly collected products of the season and at 5-6 autographs per box at $143 at DA Card World, it is a winner. The additions of the Cracked Ice anniversary parallels? Awesome. Adding that to the great rookie class and this is a product that will continue to sell well until supplies have disappeared.

Overall:4 and half stars blue

Overall, Contenders continues to be a winner for Panini year after year. The design this year is above average, but there are still little things that seem a little off to me. But no one buys this product for the design anyway (although I do love the ticket themes). They buy it for the rookies and this year has a ton of the rookies everyone loves this year. At the current price for a chance at some superb autographs that will hold their value, Contenders is one of the best.

Thanks to Panini for providing this box to review. You can find them online on their official site, blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

You can find the full checklist over on Cardboard Connection.

Want to watch our break video? Subscribe to us on YouTube.

Wanna see what we pulled right now in photo form? I’m having issues with uploading, but at least I got the hits up! Look below:

NFL Week 1 & 2 SCB Rookies of the Week

I wanted to start this little segment after the NFL Week 1 games, however, I’ve been just so busy with things it was put on the back burner. This was an idea from a reader of the blog that he would want to see and I can see the appeal.

Week 1 SCB Rookie of the Week: Robert Griffin III

It’s an obvious choice for Week 1 Rookie of the Week. It has to go to RGIII. The dynamic quarterback was able to throw for 320 yards in his first NFL game with two touchdown passes. He was also able to scamper for 42 yards on the ground in leading the Redskins to victory over the Saints. His rookie card prices were already sky high before the season even began, but with a convincing performance like that it justified the price paid by all those collectors out there.

Week 2 SCB Rookie of the Week: Trent Richardson

Week 2 was a tougher choice for who takes the crown as the rookie of the week. Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill, and Andrew Luck all did well in leading their teams to victory, but Trent did a lot of damage on the ground despite the Hogs’ loss. 109 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown is great for the rookie’s second game, but he also added 36 yards and another touchdown through the air. Trent’s showcasing his strong legs and good hands, that’s bad news for opposing defenses and good news for card collectors.

Hopefully we will keep this as a weekly thing, showcasing the best performances by NFL rookies each week.


Review: 2012 Panini Prestige Football

The first real football product of the season has been released and made its way to the masses. No disrespect to the unlicensed companies or Topps’ release of Bowman Signatures, but this is the first product where everyone is featured in their NFL jerseys, including the rookies.

Prestige has a brand new look after sharp criticisms from last year, along with a brand new style, and some great new photography. From the previews, it looked like Panini has taken a huge step forward with this product, and you will see just how much of a step forward it has taken in the review. So let’s see what we got and how it fares.


I may have given this only four stars, but it’s a high four stars. First, it’s a huge improvement over last year’s product and is more of something you would want to expect product after product from Panini. It’s not phenomenal by any means, but it’s a great start to the season and the new direction Panini is going with their designs. I especially love the Stars of the NFL insert set as well as the memorabilia versions. It’s a very clean and slick looking card that could be made for a foundation for any set out there and look good. But it doesn’t come without the drawbacks. The rookie inserts like the Passports and Draft Tickets are kind of redundant styles and are getting kind of…well for lack of better words, annoying. I love the idea and have always been fond of it, but too much of a good thing is bad. In addition, I’m not a huge fan of the Rookie Premiere photography and how it’s utilized. The bare stands in the background detract from the photo used and it either needs to be filled in digitally, cropped out, or filled with real people. Oh, did I forget to mention the Tim Tebow set in Prestige is gorgeous?


Besides retired players, this product has everyone you could want in the NFL. Retired players generally aren’t in early season products as they should revolve mostly rookies and current players. Panini does just that with all the great rookies and veteran talent in this product. As most collectors know, Prestige is mostly about the rookies and getting their first autographs and cards out there on the market. With on-card autographs from some of the top rookies and other great rookie autographs, it’s a great start to the season to get those in your collection before they explode. We were also able to pull a couple of veteran memorabilia cards as well with a triple game used card and a single color patch card of great players in the league. While we didn’t pull any veteran autographs, you can still find them in the product, although they are more rare than finding rookies.


At a little less than $100 a box, it’s not a terrible value for the product, although with the larger amount of rookie autographs, I would kind of price it a little lower to be better value in terms of price per box. However, the inside of the product isn’t terrible either. With a rookie class that is as hyped up as this class is, you’re going to find some good value, especially if you pull one of the top picks. We were lucky enough to pull a Trent Richardson autograph numbered to 299 in our box, which would give you a good chunk of your money back in just that one card. The patch card was a nice touch in this product and Jamaal Charles is a stud despite his injury last season, so that was a nice surprise as well. Finally, with this year’s Rookie Premiere having all skill positions invited, it provides the opportunity for any of these rookie autographs to explode at any moment with a big game or even a big season. And the base rookie parallels don’t hurt either.


Overall, this is a huge step forward for Panini in their opening product of the season. It really sets the table for the rest of the season and I hope the successful changes in this product permeates through the rest of the products for the season. The design changes are a huge plus for collectors out there, and despite it only being visual, it definitely increases value a bit. The checklist is great for the first product of year featuring top rookies and veteran talent, even short printed cards featuring players in their new uniforms. Finally, the value is a little above average with the great looking rookie class and the autographs obtained, but it’s nothing spectacular with the price tag at $100 for a box of cards. Who knows though, you might get “lucky” with Mr. Luck or RG3, the big sellers of the product.

Thanks again goes out to Panini for providing this box for review. You can find them on their official site, blog, Twitter, Facebook, and everywhere else on the net.

Now check out the rest of the haul.

Preview: 2012 Panini Prestige Football

Panini’s first football product of the season will be coming out in June and looks better than it has over the past few seasons. 2012 Panini Prestige football looks good and this year will be featuring all the draftees in their new NFL uniforms.  Gone are the days of blank helmets or college logos in NFL licensed products and that’s a good thing.

No new football product can be previewed without featuring some of the rookies that will be featured, especially in the first product of the season. You will be able to find rookie cards from Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Trent Richardson amongst others in this product.

Note: He will be featured in an NFL uniform.

While this product will feature a lot of rookies (100 to be exact), Panini will be continuing their practice of achieving on-card rookie autographs and those will be inserted into this product. These autographs will feature subsets like NFL Draft Ticket Signatures, NFL Passport Signatures, and Draft City Signatures.

Every 24 pack box of this product will feature at least 2 autographs with four hits guaranteed. You will also be receiving one rookie per pack as we have seen in recent years. The same types of parallels will return as well with Extra Points and Prestigious Picks subsets.

With this product releasing June 20, 2012, you’ll be set and ready for the upcoming NFL season. Check out the official Panini blog for more images and information about this upcoming product.