2019 Panini Contenders Draft Picks Football – “Ok”

55E2E857-63B2-4BFE-805E-213B34D72CF3I was at Target and decided to try a 2019 Contenders Draft Picks blaster.  Hard to resist the two autos lol.  Also I got a blaster a few years ago and really liked the vets and rookies in their college uni, so I thought I would give it another shot.

After seeing the same images over and over in the various football releases, it’s fun to see veterans in their college uniforms.  The base cards have a no frills old school look, nice, clean, and boring all at the same time.  The exception would be the inserts which have some cool designs.

As usual, with so many autos from guys who might not even be drafted, the autos are a crapshoot.  I never heard of Ty Johnson or Marvell Tell III, but both guys were drafted so we’ll see what happens.  At least the base landscape auto cards look nice. 🙂

I got Seahawks star Russell Wilson but didn’t pull any Cal Bears or Washington Huskies.  However, I did pick up a Patrick Laird auto (former Cal RB and undrafted free agent picked up by the Dolphins) for $3.29 including shipping and tax.  Will look for more via trade and on “the open market”.

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One of the factors when I rate a release is whether I would buy it again.  In this case, I’d say probably not.  The cards are a little lackluster in my personal opinion, and I think I would (and will) buy singles for players from my teams  (the Seahawks, UW, and Cal) rather than another box.  Overall I’d say this product is “ok” and give it 2.5 out of 5 stars.

 

 

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Richard Sherman Appearance – 05/11/19

Last Wednesday night, my buddy texted me about a “Sherman Dominga” appearance on Saturday.  Sorry, who???  Apparently he meant “Richard Sherman”. Ok that sounded more like it.  I didn’t think I could make the event but asked for more info anyway.  Where?  Wing Stop?  Where?  After a while he found out it’d be the one in West Seattle.  (Sherman owns it.). That night (or the next day) I got some confirmation on Twitter from Richard Sherman himself.

What time???  That was the big question.  I kept checking Twitter for what felt like days.  By around 5 pm Friday, I had an answer: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm.      Definitely feasible.  Only one hour?  How early would I need to get there?  I recalled memories of previous Mariners and Seahawks events where it took 3 or 4 hours just to get in.  Yikes!  Still I figured, I had to give it a shot!

I asked my buddy when I should show up and he said 7 am.  Glad I followed his advice!  Woke up around 5:45 and got there around 6:45 I believe, for the event starting at 11:00.  It was super early — and awesome!  I expected to see a line half a block long, ground in tents, etc., but I had something like the 8th spot in line!  As long as the other crazies and I were in the right place, we’d meet Sherm no problem.  It was a very small group of people at that point.  Perhaps it was the last minute notice, or that there was a Bobby Wagner fun run and a poker event the same day.  Anyway, by around 10:00 or 10:30 the buzz started to build and the excitement was palpable. 🙂  Around 11:00, Sherman rolled up in a nondescript black sedan driven by his wife, and waltzed in to a cheer from the crazies in line.

4351E25C-1322-4841-B44E-F214006E893CRichard was very nice and very generous.  As fans came up from the line, he chatted congenially, posed for selfies, and signed everything (including inscriptions if requested).  Most significantly, unlike most guys who sit behind a table surrounded by their guards, Richard got out from behind the table and was with the people!  His smile appeared genuine.

For me, Sherm signed my jersey plus four cards, and stood for a picture.  Luckily, the guy in front of me had a silver Deco fine tip paint pen, perfect for the dark “college navy” letters on the uniform.  The jersey turned out awesomely!  (So lucky!  I found out a few days later that the Silver Sharpie I brought had actually ran out lol.  PTL!)

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We chatted a little bit.  I told him it was a pleasure to meet him, thanked him for speaking out on social issues (he acknowledged, “I try”), and also asked him to not just stick to football!  For the cards he used a regular Blue Sharpie and they also turned out nicely. I actually forgot the Clear Vision card on the table.  Luckily (again), I checked before I left and was able to get it back off the table.  Word!  Wings and fries were good too. 🙂

Here I am with my new homeboy Richard Sherman lol.  🙂
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Awesome stuff! Thanks Richard!  So glad I went. 🙂

Beast Mode!

After waiting in line for about three hours outside the Beast Mode Store in downtown Seattle, in the rain and cold, with my one and a half year old and (at the last minute) my wife, I met Marshawn Lynch at a signing event.  Even sitting down, he looked bigger in person than on TV.  It wasn’t much of an interaction with one of my all-time favorite football players, but he did say, “What’s going on?” and signed items for all three of us.  Thanks man.  I said “Go Bears!” and he said “Yeah man, Go Bears”.  Pretty cool!

2017 Panini Black Friday

Yes, I’m a sucker for coupons, discounts, freebies, and all that.  Usually works out in everyone’s favor. 🙂  I did some shopping this Black Friday 2017 at my local card shop, DJ’s Sportscards.  Bought some product from Panini and received three Panini Black Friday 2017 Football packs (2 cards per pack).  I remember how awesome these packs were last year, and was hoping that lightning would strike twice. 🙂

 

The first card I pulled was a Mike Williams auto RC!  Very cool.

After that I’m not sure of the order.  Here are the other ones.  Eli Manning base card (got him last year too).Allen Branch relic from Super Bowl LI #25 /25.  At first, I was wondering if this was some kind of Pro Bowl thing with the neon orange, but it’s game used from Super Bowl LI in Houston.  (Thank goodness it’s not from SB XLIX in Glendale!!!!!)  The material is a spongy and has some vesicles.  I wonder if it’s from one of the pylons or yard markers, something like that.  Very very cool!!!

OBJ.  Got him last year too.  In this picture, he’s practicing some field goal kicking tricks before a game with the Eagles.  Would be nice if this guy could stay healthy and composed, he’s such a good player.

Jordy Nelson parallel on thicker stock, #22 /50.

 

Jordan Howard base card.

All in all some great stuff!  Thankful.  Makes me want to go buy some more Panini stuff… which of course is the idea… careful… 🙂

 

 

 

2017 Panini Absolute Football — Nice!

Overall, I really like the 2017 Panini Absolute Football cards! So far I’ve tried Absolute five different ways.  Craziness but I like this set a lot!

 

 

 


First, I got one of the three mini boxes from a hobby box (so a 5 card pack around $50 at the LCS).  It contained a dual teammates relic (OBJ and Shepard), random auto # 25 /25 (Delvin Breaux, love that name bro :), a rookie insert (John Ross from UW!), and two base.


My second and most fruitful approach was a full case (hobby) break with 3 different teams, the Seahawks on one case, and both the Giants and Eagles on another.  Had to bid on each team individually, and it totaled a little over $100.  I got some really nice veteran relics, some rookie autos, interesting old school autos, low # parallels, and some base.

My favorite card from the breaks, and the only major Seahawks hit, was a Richard Sherman three color jersey card # 4 /25!  Looks like a piece of a number from the “college navy” blue jerseys.  Picture is a little out of focus but you get the idea.  Awesome!

From the Giants, got a couple of Y.A. Tittle autos, a Phil McConkey auto # 03 /25 (he was on one of those Giants’ Super Bowl teams in the 80’s).  As far as I’ve seen, the autos in Absolute are all on stickers.  Also got a very nice Sterling Sherpard dual relic # 23 /99 (feels like a helmet piece with a patch from a jersey or a glove).

From the Eagles, got a Carson Wentz purple parallel # 1 /5 (whoa!), a Jordan Matthews dual relic # 24 /25 (looks like a number patch and, well, something else), and a Shelton Gibson rookie auto #13/25.

Also got some base cards through these breaks (doubles not shown).

 


Third, since I am often content going for “second tier” items that mean something to me but not necessarily lots of other people, the prices of singles on eBay are pretty reasonable.  Picked up two nice cards, around $10 each with the shipping.  One was a Mark Gastineau auto # 05 /25.  He was a key member of the NY Sack Exchange in the 80’s. 🙂  The other was an Amara Darboh Rookie Premiere three piece auto RC # 16 /99 (looks like a patch from a number, a piece of a football, and a piece from the nameplate).  It’s a really nice card for one of the Hawks’ promising rookies.  Don’t tell anybody I messed up one of the corners when I was putting it in a new sleeve and case, ugh.  Anyhow, it’s still awesome and in fact the lettering glows an awesome rave green with the right lighting and view angles! 🙂


Finally, I kept going (why??? lol) and got four of the retail deluxe boxes (40 cards each, $39.99 + tax). One small relic and one auto each, all decent rookies. A fair number of inserts but only four packs per box so very heavy on base (as stated on the package). Not that bad but not worth the cost in my opinion.


Of course, I wasn’t really done!  As a crazy person (lol), I’d like to complete the base set 1-100 via trading or buying.  So… I got a single retail pack, $2.99 +tax for ten cards.  Actually got 6 of the 24 base cards that I was looking for and that ninth Rookie Roundup insert that I wanted!  Also got three doubles.  Nice pack 🙂  I have many many doubles triples quadruples etc. so I’m hoping to trade for the remaining 18 base cards.


Overall I really like Absolute.  As far as I can tell, the hobby and retail inserts are very similar (perhaps with variance in colors on parallels, odds per pack, etc.). However, the autos and relic cards I’ve seen in the hobby boxes are far superior, with a wider array of styles, veterans mixed in with the rookies, more low # cards, and much nicer relic pieces. I think the difference in “quality” between the hobby and retail boxes is very significant in this release, and would recommend a case break, hobby box, or singles on eBay.  I give 2017 Absolute Football 4 out of 5 stars.

2017 Panini Unparalleled Football — New and Improved!

Last year, I raved about Panini Unparalleled and how it grew on me.  I have to say I like this year’s release even better!  The set returns with a huge (unparalleled, in fact) variety of parallels and inserts.  The main improvement is that the base cards just look better. The darker background just looks better to me than the brown or whatever it was last year.  The two images below should give you an idea.

A typical hobby box contains 8 cards per pack (3 Parallels, 2 Rookies, 2 Base Cards, and 1 Insert) with 8 packs per box (including 2 autos and 1 relic).

So far, rather than just getting a hobby box for around $90, I bought a couple of hobby packs at my LCS and a bunch of cards on eBay totaling  a little over $50.

In my first hobby pack, I pulled this T.J. Watt RC auto “Red Diamond Awe” parallel # 5 /15 .  Awesome!


In my second pack, I pulled this Marlon Mack RC jersey autograph.  Sweet!


I picked up this insert on eBay.  It’s my first Russell Wilson GU card, #20/25.  Go Hawks!

Also got a Seahawks lot from the same seller.  I dig these cards, especially the lime green parallels.  Here in Week 4 of the 2017 season, Eddie Lacy may never get another carry with the Hawks,  Kasen Williams is now with the Browns, and Will Tukuafu is a free agent, but so what. 🙂

 

Picked up some of my favorite players, Marshawn Lynch, Aaron Rodgers, and Andrew Luck:

Here are some of the other cards I will probably keep:

Here are some I will most likely trade:

You may notice a “RC” for several veteran players throughout the set.  I heard Panini wanted to recognize some players who were passed up in earlier years. Although I think that recognition is cool, I think labeling it an “RC” is corny at best.

Otherwise I like the dazzling array of shapes and colors in Unparalleled, the improved look for the base cards, and fact that the boxes have more autos this time around.  I’d give Unparalleled 4.5 out of 5 stars, I really like it!

 

2017 Panini Score Football – Fun to collect and trade :)

 I recently picked up a blaster of 2017 Panini Score Football at Target (about $20 for 11 packs, 12 cards per pack, 132 cards, ~$0.15 per card).  To be honest, I’ve been checking the shelves for several weeks and finally saw it.   I really enjoyed putting together the 2016 Score base set and was excited to get a box!

Upon first glance, my one word review was “eh,” nothing spectacular or particularly exciting, but nothing atrocious either.  My two word review was “eh, ok”.  Then it changed to “the cards are ok”.  Next it was “the cards are ok — fun to collect and trade. :)”  Finally, I settled on “Fun to collect and trade :)”.

The first pack had a San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick “Franchise Fabric” memorabilia card (red).  Ironic because he is a free agent and no longer part of the Niners franchise.  Anyway, as a Seahawks fan who always thought Russell Wilson was way better, he has not been a favorite player of mine.  As an American, I have mixed feelings about his national anthem protests — I think people should stand and out there hands over their hearts for the anthem, but also think that individuals should be allowed to choose what they do as long as they are not disrupting the ceremony.  However, as an American, I do appreciate his willingness to speak up publicly and provocatively about important issues and his social activism.  Plus if the Seahawks end up signing him as a backup, I’d be more of a fan. So an interesting card right off the bat.

Score has a plethora of inserts.   My favorites are Color Rush, Fantasy Stars, No Fly Zone, and Signal Callers.  There were three retail-exclusive gold parallels (although I like the David Carr parallel below, the golds are not particularly inspiring) and one Scorecard parallel, which is kind of cool.  I didn’t see any #’d cards in my box.

To me, the base cards look extra boring this year.  That being said, I do like how Score has a wide number of both offensive and defensive players from each team in the 330 base veterans.  (I don’t see any kickers or punters.). This set comes out in late April, so a fair number of vets are pictured with their old teams.  I like that the RC’s are with the college teams because there will be plenty of cards with their pro teams later in the year.

For 2016 Score, I built the base vets and RC set.  I bought a lot of packs and a box or two at least, and made a ton of trades.  It was fun, and also much more expensive than just purchasing a base set on eBay.  For 2017, instead of buying a bunch of boxes and packs while building a whole set, I think I will set a small budget aside and just buy a bunch of cards from the players and teams that I like to complement what I got in this blaster.  Assuming I go that route, then I’d probably also trade off a bunch of my base to help other people finish their sets.  Or I’ll just say screw it and get a hobby box or two and really go to town.  We’ll see. 🙂

While being nothing special to the point of bordering on boring, 2017 Score is also an affordable and fun set with tons of players, inserts, and lots of collection options.  I’ll at least go for Seahawks, former Cal Bears, and players on my fantasy team.  Will probably also purchase a few select autos.  Overall I’d give it 3 out of 5 stars.

PS I have to reiterate that collecting Score Football is fun.  The cards are relatively cheap which makes them easier for me to trade, and to help out my fellow collectors.  Already made a couple of deals.  I got a few Hawks inserts on eBay, and did go to DJ’s Sportscards and picked up a 40 card hobby pack for $12.95 plus tax 🙂 (so about $0.35 per card, more than twice the per card cost of the blaster).  I just couldn’t resist.  Roughly 4 out of 10 hobby packs have and auto, and I was still looking for plenty of other cards, so I wanted to try it.  Glad I did!  Got a Carl Lawson auto.  He played pretty well at Auburn but slipped in the draft because of injury concerns to the 4th round where he was picked by the Bengals.  I like the card and the clean signature.  Also got a couple of my homies from the Seahawks, Jimmy Graham and Tyler Lockett, and some other nice base cards and inserts.  Incredibly, all the rookies except one are doubles but it’s no big deal, now I have more traders.  Overall I’m pleased. 🙂