Tuesday, January 3, 2012

it must be said

Topps sucks.

When it comes to baseball, Topps has it...sometimes. Unfortunately they are hit or miss with some of their products but as our only choice in the matter, we're forced to accept it.

Football is a different story. Topps' football products are...not so great. Personally, I feel Panini is MILES beyond what Topps is doing in terms of getting the bang for your buck. Let me explain.

Normally I'm all about baseball but as I stated a few days ago, football has caught my attention. The main reason for this being that the local shop hosts a Super Bowl trade party, where collectors in the area flock to watch the big game, eat some pizza and talk and (once the hands are washed) trade some cards. I went last year and it was a good time. I made some decent deals but nothing to write home about. This year though, I'm going in with a different approach; football. Football cards are huge in that store and while baseball deals were done, it seemed like most were after some good football hits. Here is where Panini rules the football roost. Follow me as I go through a few recent releases from them and why they're good.

First up is their low-end set, 2011 Score. Yes they have the Score name and they sure look like they'd be made by said company. I think its great, a buck a pack (7 cards) or five bucks for a rack pack of 40. They have a good look to them, nice, clean and simple design. Backs are decent too with up to 5 years of stats. Its a good value and they don't focus on hits at all, in fact I'm not even positive there are any in this set save for the factory sets. I could be wrong though. No need for foil, or any trickery or gimmicks, just a 400 card set and some insert sets. This is what low-end should be.

2011 Rookies and Stars: Longevity. This set is beyond a great value. At ten packs a box and 5 cards a pack, its a quick bust but in those ten packs are at least three hits, although every box that has been opened up at the store has had four. Price? $59. Never EVER would Topps give away four hits for under 60 bucks. Never. The cards are so shiny, to the point where I almost hate touching them. This is certainly a mid-level set, to which Topps never has any of, be it baseball or football. Topps is only $75 and higher on boxes and usually for ONE hit. See some of the hits below:
Nice stuff. The rookie manu-patch autos are really nice and the jumbo jersey is cool too. The best part of Panini's hits? They're all numbered! Well, OK maybe not ALL of them but for the most part, most every hit I've gotten/seen has been numbered. I tell you, its way more exciting to pull a numbered jersey card as opposed to a card that isn't.

Now here is the big one. 2011 Certified is one of the best selling products year in and year out at the store. He goes through cases of the stuff, its unbelievable. This is usually the most anticipated football release of the year for many collectors. This is another four hit per box product. Some hits below:
Some good stuff here too. although this was my best:

Two prime jerseys, even though you can't tell on the bottom guy but check out the back:

Hey, there are autos back here! and its 5/5! Ok, so autos on the back is a little weird but I kind of like it. Its less clutter on the front.

My one qualm with Panini is that some of the sets start to look alike and its tough to tell what is from where. Thankfully they all have some sort of logo determining what set they are from. They love foil board too. Sooooo many shiny cards from Panini, you usually need sunglasses. I don't know if football collectors even put sets together, they seem to go for jerseys/autos and rookies mainly but there are some nice looking sets to be had.

I'll stick with Topps for baseball (namely because I have to) but for football its Panini all the way. Kind of really makes me want them to be able to do baseball, give Topps some real competition.


  1. That's funny because I thought this year's Topps football was pretty good, and Panini has come out with product after product of low-end (no matter the price) crap that's filled with stupid, boring designs and endless redemptions.
    On the baseball side I absolutely can't say a single good word about Topps. They're not afraid to rest on the laurels of their monopoly and put out the same, boring, overpriced crap every year, with pathetic QA and customer service to boot. If MLB doesn't kill the Topps monopoly that's killing the hobby, I'm just going to have to cease buying new baseball stuff!

  2. The more i see 2011 score, the more i love it

  3. Dennis, you make a good point. While Panini does cloud the shelf with product after product, they don't put out more than Topps does baseball. I haven't hit any redemptions yet but I have seen a couple and those who did pull them got their cards in a decent amount of time. I couldn't call much of it low end though. I consider low end to be anything under $4 and they have maybe two releases that meet this price point. Prices usually range in the $6 to $15 range and they have one super high end set which is like Triple Threads, expensive for two packs. I do partially agree that the designs are sometimes boring (which I do point out they start to run into one another) but you may have to pick and choose which ones you buy, hence the three I've highlighted. I'm not saying they're perfect but I feel they give a better value per box hit-wise, which around my shop, is what most all football collectors want.

    Spankee, I've considered collecting the set myself, its really a fun design and so much better than the past two years.

  4. I pretty much agree with you here. Dennis brought up a good point though - I too thought the base 2011 Topps football was pretty good. The recycled designed lent itself well to the gridiron and the inserts (Game Day) were nice.

    Panini however does continue to put out some really nice stuff. They could probably trim a few releases off the calendar (as could Topps with their baseball products), but overall I'm pressed with the value of Panini.

    I hardly ever buy a rack pack of Topps product anymore. Panini kicks their butt in terms of the amount of cards and the price when it comes to rack packs.

  5. I liked Topps football this past year too, but I wish they'd change the design at least a little. After three series of the same thing in baseball, there is no novelty to the football design.
    But at least the design changes radically enough year to year. I haven't seen a Panini set that appeals to me in a decade. They all blend together. I'd love to collect more football sets, but I've only found 2008 Score and 2010 football that I really liked in the last few years.

    Any of those Redskins available for trade?

  6. Topps does a great base design every year for the most part. I also like how the design flows to each one of their products in a given year (2011 baseball series 1 and 2 being the football and WWE designs). I suppose what I was really on the soapbox about was in terms of the hits and quality of hits per box. Topps offers up one to three on average and Panini is usually three or more. Topps does too many unnumbered relics, making them (I feel) worth less than Panini's numbered ones.