by Rich Klein
Since the NFL is by far the biggest sport left in which more than one manufacturer has a license, card companies are always looking for new and innovative ways to introduce their product. We recently received a 2012 Panini Playbook Box and my first thought was what a great idea to use a “playbook” theme for football.
As most devoted football fans know, the term “bring your playbook” means you are about to be cut from your team. In addition, those playbooks were always highly guarded and any stealing of them was treated almost like a federal crime. Just ask Karl Sweetan, the erstwhile NFL quarterback who actually got arrested for trying to sell a Los Angeles Rams playbook in 1972.
Today, most playbooks are downloaded into computers and other electronic gadgets. Of course, as card collectors we still like the tactile look and feel of cards so as collectors we are happy to receive actual cards instead of computer graphics. In addition, what is really nice about this product is that all the cards are “hits”—no three yards and a cloud of dust in these packs.
The box itself says each box contains four cards which are: a booklet, a rookie autograph, a memorabilia card and one other autograph or memorabilia card. My local card store reports that many of his customers have been pulling out two booklets in their boxes. When you give collectors a strong unexpected bonus, they usually react well.
The checklists are a mix of current players, including rookie cards from last season’s remarkable draft, and veterans. There are some big names in the veteran group, too.
And in something else we like to say, however, boxes like this are not for the faint of heart. Yes, the hits are there. Yes, you’d better hope you get at least a couple of cards that are limited and popular.
My local card store (Triple Cards in Plano, TX) did sell through a case at $200 per box while Mike Fruitman’s early reviews in our ‘What’s Hot in the Shop’ segment were that collectors were snapping these up. Currently, leading online retailers have these priced at $160-175 per box.
Here’s what we pulled:
Rookies Signature Silver (almost all #d to 140): Tavon Wilson
Rookies Autograph Booklets Gold (#d to 49): Ryan Broyles
Out of our rookies, Doug Martin stands out and Tavon Wilson played well in the Patriots’ defensive backfield. Broyles was the Lions’ rookie of the year but suffered his second torn ACL last year and so there are plenty of question marks. Streeter didn’t sign his cards on time, it would seem, which is odd since he spent all season on IR.
Our box wasn’t great but as with any high end product, it’s a little like playing the lottery. We can say the cards are attractive and the jury is still out on a couple of our hits.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]