Friday, October 25, 2019

These Football Cards Look Like They've Been Through a Football Game

We may be nearing the halfway point of the NFL season, but I'm just barely getting around to buying/posting new football cards. I splurged on a couple of jumbo packs of this year's offerings, as well as some clearance-priced jumbo packs from last year.

As you can tell from the difference in the pictures, I didn't open these all at once. I spread it out a little over a couple of weeks; hence, I have photos from the same purchase but taken at different times.

Let's take a look first at some of last year's cards.

First up, 2018 Score. As far as base cards go, only one will make it into my PC, and that is Adam Vinatieri. The rookies weren't impressive, as Bo Scarbrough was the best of the lot. These two inserts, however, are welcome additions to my collection. I'm getting ever closer to finishing the NFL Draft set, which I'm only after because I love how it will look all together in a binder.

Apparently, there were a lot of inserts stuffed into the jumbo packs of Score last year. This makes 6 inserts. All of these, by the way, are up for trade if you want them.

Did I mention there were a lot of inserts? This brings the total inserts/parallels to 15 in the pack. Heck, there's even a parallel of an insert in the Red Captains Khalil Mack. I tend to like the Captains insert more in parallel form, I've found. The Scorecard Abdullah and the Red Burfict have already found new homes, thanks to TCDB, but all the rest are also available for trade.

My favorite set design of 2018 was Panini. If it's just called Panini, does that make this something like Panini Flagship? That just seems weird. Anyway, I would have definitely gone after this set, except for one little detail: every rookie was a stupid SP, falling one per box. I couldn't afford to chase those down, so I just had to admire the set from a distance. Fitz and Donald were the best I got from the first pack of Panini.

Well, lo and behold, I pulled a rookie! These are on kind of a cool canvas cardstock. And, actually, there are two here, but Mark Andrews is a Bronze Knight parallel. A Bruce Smith Franchise Leaders will go into my All-Decade collection. I really, really like opening 2018 Panini.

A second pack of last year's Panini brought me two Packers, including a Bronze Knight. Of course, seeing DeShone Kizer in the background of Davante Adams's card makes me cringe a bit. Please stay healthy, Aaron!

I was two for two pulling a rookie out of the jumbo packs. And then I started wondering where I heard that the rookies were one per box. One per jumbo pack might be more accurate. So, I did some quick research to find they were two per box or one per fat pack box. I'm guessing, then, that these two clearance packs came from two different boxes originally, and I really lucked out, getting the box hit rookie from each one. Courtland Sutton was a good find, but you may notice the ding in the upper right-hand corner. This was a recurring problem with these cards, as you'll soon see.

Two inserts came out of this pack. I really like the look of the Pillars of Excellence card, but I really don't know what to say about Antonio Brown at this point. For a minute, it looked like his antics in Oakland were part of some master scheme to wind up with the Patriots. Then that stay wound up being short lived and I don't know what to think about it anymore.

I didn't just buy last year's clearance stuff, either. I pick up my first couple of packs of 2019 football, too. I pointed out that some of the second Panini pack had dinged corners. That's a chance you take when you buy older packs at big box stores. Who knows how many times they've been handled or even shipped? But I was really disappointed with what happened next.

I bought a fat pack of brand new Score. I don't know if this particular pack had been dropped or pack searched roughly or what, but the corners were frighteningly ugly. What made it even worse was that I had actually found some pretty good cards in there that I'm hesitant to even trade now.

The design is an obvious allusion to the classic inaugural 1989 Score. The borders are color-coded: blue for NFC teams and red for AFC teams. I believe this is my first MVS, besides the rookie card that came in a factory set of Donruss I bought last year.

"Hollywood" Brown is the best rookie I pulled, but you can see the rounded corner ding in the scan. The NFL Draft insert set (bottom row) is once again a nice-looking set, but not as colorful as last year's. The rookies are the only thing preventing me from selecting this set as my 2019 build. I have no problem with rookies in their college unis, but this is such an early-season release that they can't even tell us the NFL team that selected them. My set builds are a historical artifact in my mind, and I want to tell the story of the year's draft as a part of it.

There seem to be a lot of players jumping for the ball and making catches above their heads in this set.

I love the Packers. I don't care for their throwbacks. I get that they are a very old franchise and they are trying to replicate the original uniforms, which would have had leather helmets. But that doesn't make them any more attractive to me. Both of these inserts will stay in my collection.

Once again, there are a lot of inserts in a jumbo pack of Score. There is a good mix of shiny and not-shiny cards here. I think my favorite look is the Captains set. This was apparently an Ezekiel Elliott hot pack, with a base and two inserts, but all three had a corner that was beat-up. If anybody is interested in any of these cards anyway, they are all still available for trade.

The last pack I bought was Absolute. The past couple of years, Absolute has been really shiny with just a player pasted on a colored background. They were certainly eye-catching, but they weren't my favorite. This year, Panini decided to forgo the shine and put a photo with an actual background on the front. I like the laces on the side as a design feature.

Unlike Panini, with scarce rookies, and Score, with no NFL teams, the rookies in Absolute are a regular part of the base set. They are different from the rest of the base in the way they have been somewhat Chrome-ified. Because of the design and the feasibility of the rookie portion of the set, I think that Absolute will be my annual set build this year.

We'll finish off this post with the parallels and inserts of the pack. Luckily, both inserts are keepers for me, in the All-Decade and Heisman collections, respectively.

Score is always a fun, cheap break with a lot of inserts, apparently. I like this year's Score, but the damaged pack leaves a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth--especially because I got some pretty good cards that were among the damaged. Absolute absolutely came through this year, in my opinion. For five jumbo packs for about $20, I certainly enjoyed the break.


  1. I am with you on 2018 Panini Flagship, my favorite design that year as well.

  2. The fear of getting a pack full of damaged cards is one of the primary reasons I don't ever buy packs from the store, with the prices that packs go for these days, I just can't justify the risk.

  3. Bummer about the damaged cards. Maybe Panini would replace them? So many different inserts these days (not just in football products). I've kinda lost interest in them... but I gotta say the Huddle Up insert set is cool.