Sick Pickups!

The title is true, but not in the douchey overused term that is used way too much in this hobby today.  My whole family was sick, including me.  The wife and baby had the H1N1, aka swine flu and luckily i avoided it.  There has been a minor breakout of this strand of flu in Portland and SW Washington…but i somehow missed out, I guess I’m just strong like that!

The sick pickup part comes in to play with an evening visit to Target to get a few physical mending supplies like juices, fruits and drugs.  I’ve been avoiding retail packs for a while now because of the unlikeliness of getting anything worthwhile.  I ended up buying a few packs just to see what the cards look like, knowing I wouldn’t be happy with any of them.  I guess I was delirious and more than happy to fill my slightly sick body with new shiny football cards.  Here are some fun scans of what i spent my hard earned loot on.

The first pack was Absolute Football from the fine folks over at Panini.  I pulled two QB’s that I have a lot of respect for, even though i can’t stand either of their teams.  The Cowboys dislike should be obvious…they are the hated rivals.

13 AF Tony Romo

The Seahawks one may not be as clear for you.  I find their fans to be a little over the top.  I’ve been to football games in Dallas, Houston, Seattle, New Orleans and DC.  The fans in Seattle are hands down the most belligerent and a little too handsy for my liking.  Plus they act as though they’ve won 3 Super Bowls.  They haven’t, but the Redskins have.  Now, that’s not to take anything away from Wilson.  I think he is great.  I actually love the kid.  He’s modest and works really hard and I believe he is going to become one of the leagues great QB’s.  He’s also an underdog which I always love.

13 AF Russell Wilson

I also managed to pull a serial numbered Phillip Thomas card.

13 PP Phillip Thomas 411:499

Next up is Topps Prime.  The base cards of this set are decent.  I feel that the photos are way too tight on the players and would love to see a full photo of the athletes…maybe that sounds weird if you read it out loud, but I think you know what i mean.  Is it me or is Milliner’s smile a little goofy?

13 TP Rob Gronkowski Dee Milliner

Jordan Reed!  I have the hobby version of this card, now the thinner retail version is in my sole possession.

13 TP Jordan Reed

Ok, so this next card really caught me off guard.  Is this seriously the best photo Topps could get of Matt Ryan?  I have to believe there are at least 15 other photos that could have been used, but they chose this shot.  He’s even staring in to the camera while giving his center the business!  I’m sure Mrs. Ryan is none too happy about the photo immortalized on card stock…at least it’s not a butt fumble card…Mr. Sanchez…

13 TP Matt Ryan

The final pack was PRIZM.  YES!  I loved Prizm last year and I think this years cards are equally as nice.  Love the quality of the card, the texture and photography of them as well.  Target has a small rack pack that came with 3 red parallel cards, and here are two of them.  Both are often injured RB’s.  These red cards have a nice sparkle to them, almost like a disco ball or some fancy pop star sequence…very shimmery when viewed in person.

13 PP Ryan Mathews Red Target Parallel

Spankee, if you like the Wilson…it’s yours.

13 PP David Wilson Red Target Parallel

Here are two more cards.  Michael Vick.  He would look good in the Burgundy and Gold next year as a backup to RGIII and could teach him how to survive in the NFL.  Maybe teach him how to slide too?  Or just run out of bound before being tackled?  #justsayin

13 PP Michael Vick

Kenjon Barner.  Showing this one because he’s a Duck and so am I…sort of.

13 PP Kenjon Barner

The last two cards came from the Prizm pack.  I’m guessing they are not part of any Prizm insert or chase set as they have none of the qualities of Prizm.  BUT, they do have a QR code on the back that takes you to an online video.  Unfortunately Kenny Stills doesn’t explain his hair in the interview which I think is a huge missed opportunity.  Terrance Williams broke my heart this afternoon, but that’s nothing new.

13 PP Kenny Stills Terrance Williams

Road Trip Packs III – The end of the Trilogy.

The second day of driving was great, we finally got out of Texas.  Anyone that has had to drive from one end of Texas to another knows that this takes a total commitment in patience and perserverance…long stretches of nothingness and not a whole lot of beauty along the way unless you like the color brown.

Our second stop was Montrose, Colorado which didn’t have a Wal Mart or Target close by and frankly I was really exhausted from the day of driving…so I didn’t pick anything up that night.  Our third day of driving took us through the remainder of Colorado, Utah and we stopped in Twin Falls, Idaho.  I’ve never been to Utah or Idaho and would definitely love to go back for a visit sometime and see all the beautiful rock formations and landscapes…that will be a road trip for the future and a great way to have some family time during the summer.  By the way, if anyone has stayed in Twin Falls, Idaho I would love to know more about the town.  It seemed like a really great place as we sort of passed through.  The gorge with the waterfalls was quite amazing…and the golf courses looked like they would be great to play.

Enough about non card things.  After we checked in I located the nearest Wal Mart and strolled in around 11:30 and picked up a couple more packs of Topps Archives Football and some Archives Baseball.

Archives is doing some tall boys for the baseball version and this guy is becoming a very very special player.  Not the best photo ever of him, but the card design is cool and classic.  Glad to see Miggy  get his career and hopefully his life straight after the DUI a couple of years ago…always room for redemption.

13 TA Miguel Cabrera Mini

Pablo is way too big, like scary big.  When his career winds down, he’s going to have some serious health issues with his ballooning weight.  Look at that guy busting the bottom button loose…and that face!  Obesity in America is a serious thing and seriously needs to be addressed.  I hope the Giants are hooking this kid up with a nutritionist and a 24 hour personal trainer.  That much weight is bad for the joints and not to mention his heart.  Let’s get fit America!

13 TA Pablo Sandoval

The Griff card is pretty amazing.  Look into those youthful eyes.  So much hope and promise in that young face.  Griffey was never one of my favorite players, but I always loved the way he played.  Now living in the Northwest, his importance to the game and the way he played is magnified, especially with the constant PED issues the MLB has had the past several years.  I LOVE THIS CARD.

13 TA Ken Griffey Jr

I also LOVE THIS CARD.  I would have been happy with the die cut…but now i get a transparent “stained glass” card!  I guess these cards were issued at a time when I wasn’t collecting so therefore I have no recollection of them…but they are awesome.  Love that Topps has included them in the set this year.

13 TA Roberto Clemente Gallery of Heroes

Now for the Football version of Archives.  The first card out of the pack was this Adrian Peterson in the 1985 Topps version.  I’ve said many times here that this is one of my all time favorite sets, along with the 1986 Topps baseball…it’s probably the black border thing and the superfonts.  AP came back nicely from his ACL tear, here’s hoping RG3 can do the same…or better! – HTTR!

13 TA Adrian Peterson

I also pulled this Arian Foster.  Loved that two of the prominent running backs were in the ’85 Topps version.

13 TA Arian Foster

There was also this nice looking Gronk mini card.  Wonder if he still hangs out with BiBi?

13 TA Rob Gronkowski Mini

Last up.  This little gem.  A Cornelius Bennett auto.  The autograph is pretty sweet and you can never go wrong with an autograph from a great NFL Linebacker that played in 4 Super Bowls.

13 TA Cornelius Bennett Autograph

 

Panini Limited: Revisited

So, I couldn’t help myself.  Dave and Adam’s Cardworld had a great deal on their 2012 Limited boxes so i picked up one more.  That made three total, as i bought one direct from Panini and somehow received an extra box from them.

12 PL Andy Dalton 383:399

I really liked the cards initially and thought i’d give it another go.  I was pleased with this box as it yielded some nice new cards for me, although nothing to add to my PC.

12 PL Steven Jackson 326:399

The design of this set has been one of my favorites, next to the Prime Signatures by Panini this year.

12 PL Juron Criner 73:299

Look at this guy, Jim Otto.  I’m sure this legend is super proud of this card too.

12 PL Jim Otto 337:349

The hits were nice, two autographs from two young and talented players along with a gigantic jumbo patch of LaMichael James, with the safety strip at the lower left corner.

12 PL Dont'a Hightower Auto 10:25

12 PL LaMichael James Jumbo Patch 37:99Alshon Jeffery is going to be a beast, look at his intensity!  This card should be blown up, framed and hung up on a wall next to my degree.

12 PL Alshon Jeffery Membership Auto 61:99

Box Break: 2012 Panini Absolute Football

I am way behind on reviewing some of the boxes I have opened in the past few months, mostly focusing on cards that i’ve picked up at card shows.  I have a few lined up, so here is the first one.  Panini Absolute Football.

Like most of Panini’s cards now, you can buy a retail version and a hobby version but the quality is quite different.  As a set collector this would drive me insane, but since i don’t plan on putting this set together, it’s no worries to me.  I do think this is a great way to differentiate between a hobby card and something you can pick up at Target, good for the hobby and collectors in my opinion, but allows the fringe collectors to afford different brands of cards.

12 PA Santana Moss

Card Design – 4 of 5

The base card for Absolute is pretty clean.  Photo of the player on the front along with his name and position as well as the team name along the bottom.  The greatness of these cards for me is the vertical gradation in the colors from left to right, or right to left depending on your culture.  The gradation gives them a nice light show or a cardboard Pink Floyd laser show look to the card.  Groovy.

12 PA Aaron Hernandez

The one thing i’m not liking about these cards is the card stock.  Seems really thin for the amount of money these guys cost.  I also wasn’t crazy about the overall packaging by Panini.  You get the display box, and a pack box…with a cello wrapped cards inside.  That’s quite a bit of packaging for a box of cards, wouldn’t you agree?

12 PA Ray Lewis

Living in the Pacific NW, all the extra wrapping is heavily frowned upon.  Yes, we are those people that bring their bags to the grocery store and ride our bikes to work in the rain.  Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Photography – 4 of 5

Panini has the waist up photos locked down.  They do a great job of focusing on the player, allowing them to take up most of the photo space available on the card.  All the cards i’ve seen appear to be game action photos and give you a good view of their eyes.  No over processing or out of control editing for these cards either.  Another good job by Panini.

12 PA Frank Gore

Hits – 4 of 5

No Redskin hits here, but when you get any card autographed and numbered to 10 it’s a good thing, and it’s an even greater thing when that player is AJ Green.  This may be one of the best hits i’ve had in a long while.  It is a sticker auto, but i will let that slide for a perennial pro bowler card numbered to 10!  Not really a Bengals fan or an AJ collector, but the guy has proven to be a beast in his first couple of seasons.

12 PA AJ Green Spectrum Auto 3:10

The other hits were fairly nice as well.  Brandon Weeden came through with a nice looking jersey card but he looks completely unimpressed in this photo…or thoroughly confused, you be the judge?

12 PA Brandon Weeden War Room Jersey 4:49

I Like the Terrance Ganaway autograph, it has a nice flair to it.  The card itself has a ton of great color in person and is very attractive (much better than the scan!)

12 PA Terrance Ganaway Spectrum Auto 46:299

Review

I was pretty happy with the box i received.  Nice hits and i really love the design of these cards.  If i have a few extra bucks to spend on cards laying around next year, i can see myself picking up a box for 2013.  Although, with my desire to spend less on boxes and packs I doubt i can justify the cost for the value.

12 PA Vick Ballard 215:399

Opening each pack was cool, although i think it was a bit excessive packaging.  It was nice that i could open one or two as i wanted, can’t have everything i guess.  I think Panini can do a better job of their future packaging.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

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.