I figured it was time to do a random blaster break, the product? 2012 Panini Crown Royale.
Panini brought back the brand a couple of years ago, 2010, and one of the big hits from the product has been the Rookie Die Cut Silhouettes. Personally I prefer the 2010 Silhouettes over the 2011 and 2012 versions, but they each have their own merit. I know it is shameful but I also like the 2010 Royalty relics. This year Panini added in the die cut Panini Choice autographs, a salute to the old Pacific Cramer’s Choice cards. I loved these cards back in the Pacific days and I really dig the Panini version.
After using a vertical design the last two years Panini has returned to the horizontal design used by Pacific in the late 90s and early-2000s. I prefer this design because it does stay true to those sets, something I am sure Pacific collectors appreciate too.
I pulled a decent variety of players, only a couple of rookies but a pleasant collection of veterans beginning with a couple of record breakers/near record breakers.
Calvin Johnson Jr. broke Jerry Rice’s record for total yards in a season with one game left on the schedule. He needed only 108 yards in the final game, against the Chicago Bears, to be the first receiver to ever top the 2,000 yard mark. He came up short with only 72 yards in the game, 36 yards short of 2,000. But, he still had an amazing season and he beat the Madden Curse to boot.
Adrian Peterson proved to be a monster too, coming back from knee surgery he was not expected to do as well as he did. He closed out the 2012 season with 2,097 rushing yards, just 9 yards short of Eric Dickerson’s record. It was a bitter sweet moment, he missed the record but by winning they made it in to the Playoffs.
I pulled only 2 Cardinals and 1 Seahawk, with the Cardinals I pulled a pair of lackluster players who did very little to help the team. Kolb helped the team to a 4-2 start but then got hurt and went on IR for the remainder of the season. Due $11 million in 2013 Kolb may be gone before too long, possibly being replaced by Alex Smith.
Golden Tate stepped up for the Seahawks this year, amazing what a good QB can do for a receiver. His 2012 total topped his totals for 2010 and 2011 together. Hopefully he will continue this trend for the team next season.
A pair of players from each of the Super Bowl teams is next. A couple of Kaepernick’s targets in Randy Moss and Vernon Davis. With a Super Bowl win Moss can go out with the cherry topping to a potential Hall of Fame career.
With the Ravens cards I have a young star coming up in the league and an old star closing out his career. Torrey Smith has been a steady producer for the Ravens, he had 50 receptions for 841 yards and 7 touchdowns last year and 49 receptions for 855 yards and 8 touchdowns this year. Ray Lewis is finishing his career, set to retire after the Super Bowl. He already has one Super Bowl ring and would love to add a second ring before heading in to the Hall of Fame.
I pulled three rookies total, two base rookies and one die cut rookie card. A couple of Chargers lead the charge (had to go with the pun); Melvin Ingram and Brandon Taylor had two very different seasons in San Diego. Ingram played in all 16 games, starting 2 games, and was a solid linebacker for the 9th ranked defense. Brandon Taylor played in 4 games, starting one, but his season ended when he tore his ACL in late December.
The die cut is Matt Kalil, the #4 pick from the 2012 NFL Draft. Kalil added a needed piece for the Viking’s offensive line that gave up 49 sacks in 2011, a number that dropped to 32 in 2012 plus the guy had a total of 1 holding penalty all season, one freaking penalty. The guy made it to the Pro Bowl too, as an alternate, but still a nice way to start a career.
You will notice that the inserts all seem very similar, a brownish-gray artistic background highlighted with silver foil. I pulled 4 inserts, a Schaub Pivotal Player, a Mario Williams Field Force, a Moss NFL Regime and a Kenny Britt Majestic Motion (I forgot to scan it in so no picture, but it looks very similar.) I mean they are decent but I do not like that they are all almost the same exact card. There should have been some design changes to differentiate the cards enough to where they are obviously from the same set but not so similar to the point where you have to really inspect each card to see which insert set it belongs with.
I close out with an unexpected hit, a Kendall Wright Rookie Paydirt jersey relic card. I like these cards, there is a nice action photo of the player and the jersey relic is situated nicely to the side. The jerseys are from the Rookie Premier so they are not game used, but there are limited parallels that include multi-colored patches. Wright played in 15 games before injuring his ribs, he had the most receptions on the team with 64 and the second most receiving yards with 626 and this is with Hasselbeck and Locker throwing to him. Imagine if Locker gets better over the next couple of seasons what Wright’s numbers are going to look like. Consider he played at Baylor last year with RG3 and he ended up with 1,663 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns and that was in 13 games. Only time will tell.