Wednesday, June 23, 2010

2010 Panini Rookie & Stars Football

Panini started sending out previews of their 2010 Panini NFL Rookies & Stars set that will be released in August just in time for the beginning of the NFL preseason.

Scheduled Release Date: August 9, 2010
Box Configuration: 8 cards per pack, 24 packs per box
SRP: $95/box

Box Break:
4 Autograph/Memorabilia cards (at least 1 auto)
4 Rookies
4 Longevity Parallels
5 “Other” cards

This set consists of 300 total cards in the set, 165 base cards and 135 SP rookies. In addition there are 5 different insert sets; Prime Cuts, Cross Training, Studio Rookies, Studio Combo Rookies and Gold Stars. Oh and did I mention there are a few parallels? Make that 40 different parallels, some #/500 or less, some with sticker autographs and some with dime-sized jersey or patch swatches.

The set will look familiar to anyone that picked up the 2009 Panini Rookie & Stars release, that is because the designers must have been on vacation and one of the un-paid interns must have taken a shot at keeping the release afloat. I am a fan of Panini, I think that they have made some real strides since coming to the U.S., but I am clearly disappointed with this release. I understand that this is a base product, low price point, etc. But take a look at Topps and even UD over the last 5 years and the base sets that they produce are clean and straight to the point. This set is encumbered with lines upon lines in every which way, floating jersey swatches, sticker autos, poor placement of font and I am still trying to figure out the paint splatter that makes an appearance on the bottom corner of many of the cards.

Some of the worst offenders include the Elements Prime Materials set (above left), the Cross Training set and the Freshman Orientation (above right). What is up with the huge red border around the patch on the Orientation cards? Maybe if team colors were used that would be one thing but this is just tossing up a bulls eye in the center of the card.

On the positive side a few elements of the set are on the decent side. The Studio Rookies are pretty cool, a nice picture of the rookies on a dark background, the patch is centered nicely in the bottom portion of the card and it is clearly marked “Prime”. Simple coloring, nice borders and this card is a winner. I like the Rookie Signature cards too; this is a carry over from last year’s release. I know that it is a manufactured jersey and patch but the signatures are hard signed and it looks good. But, then Panini goes overboard with it and creates the Team Chemistry set. Now we have multiple signatures squashed in on a section of jersey fabric that was originally created to hold a single signature. Of course the players pictures are shrunk down to fit all the players on the card and lets toss in some color background behind the player so their image gets lost. I understand wanting multiple player autographs on a card but re-design the card to work, don’t just shove it in on the old design and call it good.

My Thoughts:
Stick to picking up singles on eBay. Spending close to $100 to purchase a box loaded with cards that make you say “mhem” is not something most collectors want to do.

I will give it 1 out of 5 only because the Studio Rookies and Rookie Signature cards carry the product. I can also say that Panini did use some excellent selections for the patches, multiple colors is definitely a plus.

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