It was near the middle of May when the NFL held its annual draft. Now, some mere weeks later, after the evaluations and debates over who "won" or who "lost" the draft, the really important follow-up takes place…the first rookie cards of the players drafted in the uniforms of their new teams. 2014 Panini Elite Football delivers in that regard.
Wednesday, July 23,was the official release date for 2014 Panini Elite Football, and the company is loudly touting the fact that these Rookie Cards will be "the first on-card autographs to feature the top rookies in their new NFL uniforms." In fact, the boxes of Elite have Johnny Manziel, adorning their fronts. Panini is featuring feature all the major 2014 rookies (Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and others) in their NFL uniforms in the product, which will sell for $85-95 per box.
The updated uniforms and preparation for the coming season is one part of the appeal Panini hopes this mid-range football card set will boast. Another surely comes from the promise that 2014 Panini Elite Football delivers, on average, two autographs, two memorabilia cards and three numbered Rookie Cards that will be numbered to 999 or less in each 20 pack box. Of course, there are several other guaranteed inserts and chase cards to be found in this pre-training camp product.
The base set will contain 200 cards with the Rookie Cards comprising cards numbered 101-200, and each being serial numbered to 999. Those sought after Rookie Cards will feature six different parallels, including Gold Status Die-Cut (numbered to 49), Red Status Die-Cut (numbered to 25) and Black Status Die-Cut (1-of-1).
Answering one of the often heard criticisms of new card products, Panini has gone after as many on-card autographs of rookie players as possible. This will be true not only of the autographed rookie cards that are a numbered part of the set, but also the other autograph hits such as RPS Rookie Inscriptions (stated to come one per box and on-card signed), Elite Rookie Premiere Signatures and New Breed Signatures.
That is not to indicate that all autographs will be hard signed. For instance, the very popular Passing the Torch cards which feature two players of different eras will return, and they will host sticker autographs. Of course, these dual signed cards feature combinations such as Joe Montana and Colin Kaepernick, Jerome Bettis and Le'Von Bell, and Charlie Joiner and Keenan Allen among others, so the stickers are surely less of a problem for many collectors. Additionally, this product will offer an additional version of these cards to chase. with Black 1/1 parallels. The base versions are serial numbered to 25 or less.
As mentioned earlier, the "hits" guaranteed in each box will come in the forms of both autographs and memorabilia cards. There will be several memorabilia card insert sets, and they will include Throwback Threads, New Breed, Sophomore Swatches, and Gridiron Jersey Kings.
Down and Distance memorabilia cards aer also back, and will host jersey swatches designed to look like down markers. The Down and Distance memorabilia cards will also utilize down markers to mark the rarity of the card:1st Down (#'d/99 or less), 2nd Down (#'d/49 or less), 3rd Down (#'d/25 or less) and 4th Down (#'d/10 or less). While it is nothing earth-shattering or game-changing, it is nice to see the effort of having the set reflect the game throughout.
The insert cards will also come in a variety of themes. In fact, including the promised inserts (Turn of the Century, Passing the Torch, Clarity), the Panini offering will come with an additional six inserts per box for a total of nice insert cards in each box. The Clarity insert is a new offering that is produced on plexiglass stock and is promised at the rate of one per box. Some of the other inserts include Status Die-Cuts, Elite Series, Face 2 Face, and Profiles.
- (4) Autographs or Memorabilia Cards
- (3) Rookie Cards - #'d to 999 or less
- (1) Turn of the Century
- (1) Passing the Torch Silver
- (1) Clarity Plexi-Glass Card
- (6) Additional Inserts
The NLF draft was not all that long ago and still resounds in the thinking of fans. Training camps will soon be opening to prepare for the battles of the autumn ahead. 2014 Panini Elite Football seeks to bridge that time with a taste of the new season.
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