Today is the last day of the first round. When we finish today, 16 teams will remain in the quest for the Bump and Run football card title. Let's recap the first round results up to this point:
Round 1: Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1997 Pinnacle Zenith #9 Kerry Collins vs. 2016 Score Reflections Gold #20 Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans
This is interesting. We have a late-90s premium brand pitted against a parallel of an insert. I like the black and gold color scheme of Zenith. I don't like the busy mishmash of the Reflections set. Two pictures in one box and two names in separate boxes make it difficult to put a name to face on this card. Why is Mike Evans's name bigger, but Vincent Jackson's picture bigger? Collectively, Evans and Jackson probably outweigh Collins as a player, but I like the overall card of Collins much more.
Round 1: Washington Commanders vs. Las Vegas Raiders
1990 Pro Set #660 Jeff Bostic vs. 1995 Collector's Choice #258 Raghib Ismail
For the record, this is first usage of the name "Washington Commanders" on this blog. I don't hate the new name, but the uniforms sure seem unimaginative to me. But I digress. Back to this apparent maritime battle between the Navy and some pirates. Neither player had standout careers, but Rocket Ismail had some star power and name recognition. 1990 Pro Set is a classic design that I know is popular, but I don't know if I like it more than 1995 Collector's Choice. The font and the back with a full action photo, along with the gleam of the sun off Ismail's helmet make strong arguments for the Raiders. The major point in favor of the Commanders is the photo of a center with his hand on the ball pre-snap. I'll pick those cards up any time. It's made even better as he is caught mid-yell, calling out protection signals. It's one of my favorite photos. When I go to the back, I learn that Bostic was one of the league's smallest offensive linemen. That hits home for me because I was the smallest starting offensive lineman in my region in high school. If I didn't have either card in my collection, I would be seeking them out--Bostic because there just aren't enough cards like this and Ismail because I would need it for the set. This has been so evenly matched that I've had to dive deep into my decision here, but in the end. . .
Round 1: Baltimore Ravens vs. Philadelphia Eagles
1996 Upper Deck #63 Leroy Hoard vs. 1998 Upper Deck Black Diamond #64 Ty Detmer
Unlike the last matchup, the winner of this one is clear. While I love the football texture on the left side of 1996 Upper Deck, my favorite feature of the set isn't even on this card. Many cards from this set had a game date on the front and the blurb on the back described the game portrayed in the photo, but not Hoard. I also don't like that this particular Ravens card shows the team as the Browns. I know, they didn't have any photos of the actual Ravens at that time, but I don't like the cards of the transition. Moving on to the other card, I love the look of Black Diamond. And it's Ty Detmer, for the second time this round.
Round 1: Houston Texans vs. Kansas City Chiefs
2016 Prestige Stars of the NFL #21 J.J. Watt vs. 1990 Score #24 Kevin Ross
Hey, it's the old Dallas Texans against the new Houston Texans! This is another easy winner. J.J. Watt is a better player than Kevin Ross. This Stars of the NFL set may not be the best, but it beats 1990 Score. The photography and colors on the Watt card are better too.
So there we have our Sweet 16 NFL teams. Next week we'll continue the madness and whittle it down to eight.