Last week I had a birthday, and I used a nice rebate check from a utility company to treat myself to some cards. I found out that Wildwood Enterprises was running a deal that was $15 off a purchase of $100. Wildwood specializes in retail boxes and they usually have some good deals on selected products, but they don't carry a lot of variety in their inventory. With the coupon, I picked up 2 blasters of 2016 Panini Classics football, 4 blasters of 2016 Panini football, and a retail box of Topps Bunt. With the coupon special, I ended up getting the 7 boxes for about $15 per box. It sure beat heading to the local store and paying a bit more per box. Anyway, I'm trying to pace myself so I have something to break when I get the itch. I'll share my findings with you as I go.
All three products are new to me. I decided to crack into the Panini Classics first. In each blaster of Classics there are 8 packs of 8 cards each. There is one blue back parallel per box on average. Other than that, well, Panini is notorious for not stating their odds. I found pretty quickly that I could expect one rookie and one insert per pack, though.
I'll run you through the first box.
First impressions: I like old-style design without necessarily recreating an existing design. The card stock feels grainy, like a vintage card, but it's thicker than I expected. The way the player is outlined creates a pop-up feel to the cards. The rest of the design is simple and incorporates the team colors and logo. The team name up top, though. That hurts my eyes.
No, that is not a blurry photo. The team name is written at least 4 times, with each new writing underneath the previous and getting lighter. It's frankly hard to read and the overall design would be better without it, I believe.
I was somewhat surprised to see the insert in the pack (Future Legends Jameis Winston) made no attempt to look vintage. It's a straight-up modern card, and a pretty slick design in my opinion.
Lots of quarterbacks in this pack, including my man Favre. The Torry Holt you see there is a blue back parallel.
I don't know why, but that top row makes me think of fantasy football. That would be a pretty solid team, and one that is actually believable, as all those guys could be picked up in different rounds. The Classic Clashes Elway/Favre insert is bittersweet to me. I love that it will fit my All-1990s binder perfectly, as it is the only card I have that features both that team's quarterbacks. But it also just reminds me of Super Bowl XXXII and Elway's helicopter into the end zone.
I'm starting to question the "Legends" criteria. So far, I've pulled Ricky Williams (maybe), Doug Williams (in some aspects), but Mark Chmura? I don't agree with that one bit, and I'm a Packers fan. I suppose part of stems from his legal troubles. Yes, I know, he was acquitted in a court of law, but the doubt still lingers in my mind. I like to think that if I'm going to hero-worship, I want as little dirt as possible on them.
The Burbridge is another blue back. I have to say, that for most of these rookies, I've had to look up their drafting teams to know where to file them. Eli Apple and Laremy Tunsil are the only two I've known so far. Burbridge and Jackson were picked by the Niners and Bengals, respectively. Just in case you were wondering.
The highlight here for me is the two legendary linebackers who will go in my 1980s binder. The Next Level insert features the player in a college uniform on the front and a pro uniform on the back. Panini is making full use of its two licenses, and I've been pretty pleased with the result from across different products.
Why is there a Dwight Clark Classic Moments of "The Catch" without a picture of "The Catch?" Part of me thinks, "Oh, I've seen that play a hundred times. I don't need it on a card." But then I consider that one of the main reasons I collect is to build my own little history of the game. Shouldn't I have a card of a Classic Moment that actually depicts the Classic Moment?
The Thurman Thomas, by the way, ends my hunt for Thurman Thomas cards. Until I decide to expand my All-Decade collection, I have all the Thurmans I need. He is just the 3rd player (Rod Woodson and Junior Seau) that I have completed for the 1990s binder.
The last pack of the box is more of the same: 4 current players, an insert, 2 legends, and a rookie. Look at Andy Dalton run there. He looks like a legitimate running back with his four points of contact on the ball. Good for him.
Overall, I was impressed with my first purchase of Panini Classics. For the price, I got to add a quite a few cards to my binders. Next up, I'll break that other box of Classics before moving on to another product. As I mentioned, I'm trying to draw this out and not binge on it, so I'll post the results as I get there.