Topps released the first of it's 2010 football sets this week. Less than a year ago, the likelihood of this occurring appeared remote.
In November, 2009, Players Inc., the marketing and licensing division of the NFL Players Association, announced that it had opted not to renew it's trading card license with Topps for the 2010 season, apparently signifying that for the first time since 1954, Topps would not produce football cards. The faltering economy was given as the reason for the downsizing of the industry. This announcement, only the latest in a series of unprecedented licensing changes across the entire trading card spectrum, didn't inspire optimism in the hobby.
Then, last April, presumably after negotiations, the NFLPA reversed it's November decision, and Topps half-century plus relationship with the NFL was renewed with a multi-year arrangement.
Collectors flocked to Topps 2010 baseball, and the company has adopted many of the same features for it's football line. One collector favorite in the baseball series, The Million Card Giveaway, has a similar promotion for football, the Gridiron Giveaway, which will allow holders of the specially coded insert cards to "unlock" them online for vintage Topps football cards.
The base set of 440 cards is accompanied by two parallel Gold and Black sets, serial numbered to 2010. There's also an extremely rare Platinum and Printing Plate parallel set, serial numbered 1/1. Another issue sure to be a collector favorite is a 35-card NFL Rookie Premiere Autographs insert set. All cards will be signed, with a production run of only 90 per player. A red ink parallel was produced at only 10 cards per player. In-demand rookies such as Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh, Tim Tebow, Gerald McCoy, Eric Berry, Jimmy Clausen, Colt McCoy and Armanti Edwards are included in this guaranteed winner.
The 75th NFL Draft insert set is a new feature from Topps, and the Cut Signatures subset will be highly sought after. The Draft set will feature the #1 selection in each NFL Draft from 1936 (Jay Berwanger) to 2010 (Sam Bradford). Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw, Earl Campbell, John Elway, Tom Harmon, Paul Hornung, O.J. Simpson and Kyle Rote are only a few of the legendary players included.
Another collector favorite borrowed from Topps baseball product is the '52 Bowman Reprints. The 50 card insert set features current NFL players along with former players who appeared in the original 1952 Bowman Football set. The 'When They Were Young' insert set features 25 current NFL players in photos from their Pop Warner days.
2010 Topps football looks to be loaded with an excellent rookie class and with more than enough limited chase cards to satisfy the most demanding collector. Tack on its popular mystery giveaway and the nod to players and cards of the past and the company could do very well despite a still sluggish economy.