NFL training camps will open next month and ahead of that comes 2014 Bowman Football, set to be released June 25. The timing works as Bowman tries hard to keep their tagline reputation “Home of the Rookie Card.” That means the pre-camp release will mean the inclusion of cards of many of the young hopefuls on NFL rosters so that fans and collectors can be a bit more in the know before the workouts and pre-season festivities take place.
And for some, the Bowman rookie football card will be the only collectible cardboard on which they appear. That is what happens when a card company tries to be the first and best with young players.
Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Sammy Watkins and number 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney will be a few of the rookies that will all be heavily featured.
Topps promises each box of 2014 Bowman Football will contain four on-card Chrome Rookie autographs and one Veteran Relic card. They will showcase these rookie autographs with some appearing on Chrome Refractor Rookie cards that are signed directly on-card. The Bowman Rookie Checklist highlights 110 Rookie Base Cards and up to 80 Rookie Autograph subjects.
The Chrome Refractor autographs will all have a variety of parallels and printing plates. The blue (#’d to 99) and gold (#’d to 75) will be available across all packs that are sold. The Hobby packs will also boast parallels that are Orange (#’d to 50); Red (#’d to 25); X-Fractor (#’d to 10); Prism (#’d to 5); Superfractor (#’d 1/1); and, Printing Plates (#’d 1/1)
A case can be made that Bowman really wants the rookie base cards to stand on their own as 2014 Bowman Football has different designs for rookies and veterans. The base set will have up to 220 subjects, with 110 rookies and 110 veterans. Of course, both designs have parallel cards (can a card set be made without parallels these days?). All the base cards will come in both Rainbow Foil and Paper base cards (that is, regular card stock). The Rainbow Foil cards for will have Silver Ice, Blue, Gold, Orange, Orange Ice, Printing Plates and Gridiron Ice (1/1) parallels. The Rookie cards will also present 1/1 Green parallels.
The regular card stock base cards will also have Blue, Gold, Orange, Red and Green parallels, and the Rookies come with Silver (1/1) versions as well.
By the way, the Rookie Chrome autographs are not the only ink in the set. Under Armour All-America Game autograph cards were produced and autographed at the 2011 Under Armour All-America Game, which means we'll have high school cards featuring Clowney and others. Players with autographed UA All-American cards include Jarvis Landry (WR, Miami Dolphins), Marqise Lee (WR, Jacksonville Jaguars), Ha Ha Clinton Dix (DB, Green Bay Packers) and Ryan Shazier (LB, Pittsburgh Steelers). According to Topps these exclusive autograph cards will be included in product as incremental hits, that is, they will be inserted on top of the guaranteed four Bowman Chrome autographs.
There will also be randomly inserted autographed versions of Bowman Mini cards in the 1950 Bowman design. The non-autographed mini cards are set to fall one per hobby pack, and have a checklist of up to 110 players. Those that are autographed will be hard signed, and Red Ink parallels are numbered to 5.
Also, redemption cards will be found for Bowman Autographs (#/25). These redemptions will be for cards signed by players who attend the 2014 NFLPA Rookie Premiere. Done on Refractor stock, the final cards will have the 2014 Bowman Football design, a photo taken at the southern California event and an on-card signature.
These days the inclusion of game-worn or game-used relic cards seem to be an afterthought by many collectors. However, in the rookie-centric world of early season Bowman Football, the Relic Cards use jersey pieces worn by veteran players and serve as a veteran distinction. Numbered parallels include Blue, Gold, Orange, Red (1/1) and Printing Plates.
Rounding out the offerings in the 2014 Bowman Football packs will be Bowman Die-Cut cards which highlight top veterans. Scheduled to be inserted at a rate of three per hobby box, these die-cuts will have parallels that include Blue (#/99) and Red (1/1).
2014 Bowman Football is now scheduled to release June 24. That will give fans and collectors at least a month or so to get to know the rookies before the training camps begin. As former player, Nate Jackson, wrote for a New York Times blog back in 2010, “Training camp is hell. Some players adapt to hell well, some burn up quickly.”
Whoever makes it and whoever burns, Bowman should have their ookie card ready to go. You can see 2014 Bowman football on eBay here.