Box Break: 2012 Panini Contenders

I am finally getting around to opening the boxes that have been sitting on my desk for a while now and wanted to start with one of my favorites.  Panini’s Contenders.  I have always enjoyed the design of these cards and their quality.  The simplicity and continuity of the cards each year with the ticket on the sidebar and singular player focus is something that I enjoy in a card.  In general, I think Panini does a nice job on their card designs and this set is no different.  Contenders is in their 20th year now, which i initially had no idea they were around this long until I remembered  the flip box I still have from the first year with Barry Sanders on the inside cover…memories.  They used to make the boxes much nicer back then…now it’s just a small box with lots of cards in them.

2013-02-21 17.53.25

Now for the review…

Card Design 4 of 5

As i said in the intro, i really like the consistent design.  Each card has the basic player information on the front with the name, team, position and player number.  Contenders goes a step further with the name of the stadium and years the player has been a pro which is kind of a cool feature you either don’t find on a card or only find on the back.  Panini has also managed to incorporate the teams colors in the left bar ‘tickets’.  I personally like the Redskins cards, but am partial to the Burgundy and Gold on cards…I think it makes them punch really nicely.  What’s up with Carolina Panthers and their 1984 Trapper Keeper font?  I’m glad they finally decided to dump it and go with something more contemporary.

12 PC Cam Newton

One design piece that i don’t think is that successful is the ‘super graphic’ last name ghosted in the background with a very subtle shadow line.  My problem with this is that they already have the players full name on the card, so adding the last name again is simply redundant and unnecessary in my opinion.  I would also like to have seen the team logo on the top right be a little larger and the helmet on the ticket gone…or maybe this could be where the larger logo occurs.  It’s just a little redundant to these eyes.

12 PC Richard Sherman

Contenders does a nice job on their subsets and have continued with the die-cut love fest.  The Rookie of the Year Contenders are quite nice and the die cut works well here as they fit nicely in my gentle, yet manly grasp.  These types of die cuts don’t work well in sleeves or top loaders and always seems to lean to one side or another.

12 PC Doug Martin ROY Contenders12 PC Mark Barron ROY Contenders

Another subset is the MVP Contenders and are really nice looking.  The die-cut and supergraphic MVP font work very well, even though none of the guys i pulled had any real shot at winning the MVP, it’s still a nice subset for player collectors.

12 PC AJ Green MVP Contenders

Photography 4 of 5

Panini has managed to gather full length photos of each of the player for the majority of the cards, keeping their knees, ankles and feet in tact!  Football cards tend to be overcropped these days so it’s nice to see a full body shot of the player on his card.  Each photo is crisp and there is no clutter with unnecessary background action…just the player for whom the card is representing.  The photos on the back are a simple blow up of the one on the front of the card.  Kind of wish they would use a different photo, maybe a portrait shot or something…different.

12 PC London Fletcher

Hits 4 of 5

The box advertises 5 autos per box and that is pretty much what you get.  I happened to get what i believe is an extra auto with the dreaded redemption card, an Alshon Jeffrey Rookie Ticket RPS.  As i’ve stated in the past, i really hate redemption cards.  I understand why they do it and that it just needs to be done sometimes…it’s just disappointing to have to wait months for your hit.  Sometimes a guy just needs a hit.

12 PC Alshon Jeffrey Auto Redemption

The second pack I opened in this box had an awesomely shiny  Redskins rookie card Autograph numbered 66/99…Kirk Cousins. I was really hoping for the other rookie Redskins QB, but this guy might end up being the guy…somewhere.  I believe i have 5 Cousins autos now…and zero RG3 autos…FML!  Here’s a fun fact.  No matter what orientation you lay the card out, the serial number always says 66/99…fun with sixes and nines you kinky freaks!

12 PC Kirk Cousins Auto 66:99

The other autos in the box weren’t that spectacular and quite frankly i think the kids these days seriously need to work on their penmanship.  They are probably signing hundreds of items, but the Chris Polk auto is just begging to be forged by a man of lesser character.

12 PC Chris Polk Auto

I got a kicker auto, that’s a little weird.  Zeurlein had a great season, but he’s still a kicker.  I’m just really i didn’t pull yet another Dontari Poe auto!

12 PC Greg Zuerlein Auto

The Bucs and the Cardinals guys are not on my radar, if anyone has an idea who they are or just needs them for a PC, let me know.  Otherwise they are ebay bound.

12 PC LaVonte David Auto12 PC Jamell Fleming Auto

This Panini product seems to give you a good number of autos, but nothing spectacular.

Review

All in all i am pretty happy with the box.  I managed to get quite a few Redskins, no RG3, but i did pull a serial numbered Kirk Cousins auto.  By the way, i used to write just like Captain Kirk when i was in the 5th grade.  At least his auto is clean and legible…looking at you Chris Polk!  Contenders is a box that i tend to buy each year and will continue to do so…but one a year is more than enough for me.  The cards are great and you get a good amount of inserts, I just don’t know if the price justifies the cards you pull and their value.

This years subsets look great as usual.  I mentioned the MVP Contenders and the Rookie of the Year Contenders, but the subset I love is the Rookie Stallion cards…the name is a little…um…weird.  But the photos are great and i love the layout and use of fonts.

12 PC Justin Blackmon Rookie Stallions12 PC Bruce Irvin Rookie Stallions

Not too crazy about the Legendary Champion cards, nice idea and great player selection, just don’t love the design.

12 PC Tom Brady Legendary Champtions12 PC Drew Brees Legendary Champions 18:100

Here are the Redskins from the box!

12 PC Santana Moss12 PC Pierre Garcon

That’s it folks.  I have a couple more breaks to cover and i will be caught up!  Hope you enjoy the reviews.

A Redskins Post

When I re-started this blog, I wanted it to be a way of tracking my new Redskins cards and display them to the other bloggers out there.  I figured it would also be a great way to fill in some of the holes in my collection, while helping others through trades.  Another reason was really to show off some of the great card designs.  Although the Redskins may not be one of your favorite teams, I think these pieces of cardboard can be appreciated by all sports fans and collectors.

Since the season ended with a big loud thud and the franchise QB laying face down on the dirt in Landover, i haven’t been overly excited about buying new Redskins cards.  As with anything, time heals all wounds.  So i’m back in the saddle and purchasing new Redskin cards.

Part of my visit to the Sports Room on Friday was to see what new Redskin cards they had for sale.  In the past these guys have been great about putting together fantastic team packs for a very affordable price.  Through the years, I have managed to pick up the majority of the Redskin sets as there are not too many fans here in Portland – HTTR!  With this visit, they had a couple new packs for $3 and $4.  That’s a pretty great deal for any collector.

Buying these things is a bit of a gamble since i can only see the front and back card but i did notice multiple thick cards as well as some shiny ones…PLUS, you just cannot beat that $4 sticker!

Each pack turned out to be a great deal for me as i didn’t have most of the cards.  They were from higher end sets that i have had to avoid this year due to our new child and the fact that some of these boxes and packs are just too expensive for me right now.  I’ve found that this is the best way for me to collect, just wait out all the rush to buy the new stuff and pick up the cards that i collect, rather than buying boxes and getting players i don’t really care about.  ALTHOUGH, i still reserve the right to buy boxes…they are still fun to open.

12 Momentum Fred Davis

There were a couple serial numbered cards and new pieces to add to my PC.  Gotta love it when you can buy cards you need to complete a checklist rather than something to simply put in a box and store away, never to be seen again…

12 Elite Brian Orakpo 12 Inception Fred Davis

There were quite a few Santana Moss cards that filled the gaps in their respective binder.  I loved the Momentum cards this year.  Nice cards on thick pieces of card stock and a simple, clean design.  I really love the font at the top of the cards too, nice and clean with no serifs.

12 Momentum Santana Moss

12 Finest Santana Moss

12 Absolute Santana Moss

A very nice serial numbered Art Monk card as well.  One of my all time favorites…it took way too long for him to get in to the Hall of Fame by the way.

12 Contenders Art Monk 508:897

The topper of the whole visit and the reason why i love stopping at my LCS is this card.

09 Elite Chris Cooley 47:47

Rick just gave it to me, had it sitting on the shelf waiting for me too, pretty awesome!  A nice shiny, die cut serial numbered card of Captain Chaos!  Looking a little closer, you see that it’s number 47/47 and Cooley wears 47.  The 47 trifecta!  Rick tried to convince me that this is a great card because it’s a 1/1!  Not really buying it, but thanks for the free Captain Chaos card!  As much as i love Cooley, I really hope he retires this offseason and doesn’t play for another team next year.  Can’t really see him making the team next year since he only had 1 catch.  A great career no less.

That’s it, my latest Redskin haul.  All together, there were 36 unique cards in the two team packs and i needed exactly 25 of them.  Not a bad deal.