I was watching the morning news recently and a small note about Queen Elizabeth’s longevity caught my ears. Her reign is (along with Vin Scully announcing Dodger games) one of the few things still going today that pre-dates Topps’ first football set. The company is celebrating 60 years in football with this year’s flagship set and so we were anxious to tear into the box we received from Topps, just in time for Week One of the new season.
Of course, Topps’ 60th anniversary issue comes with uncertainty for the future as there is some doubt about what will transpire next year with the Panini exclusive kicking in. In many ways, that would be truly sad for the generations of kids and adult collectors who grew up buying the newest Topps football set as part of their autumn tradition. Topps has been part of that since long before I was a kid playing pickup games wherever we could find some space in an empty lot or local park.
The 2015 Topps football product includes some elements of the past and present, but that’s something the company has been doing for a while now. What is new is the 500 card base set, up from 440.
Like this year’s baseball product, the design uses more of a dark border than in years past which most collectors seem to like. The backs are laid out horizontally and include the usual array of biographical information and stats.
While the base set is totally composed of current players and rookies (and there is one rookie in each pack), the inserts offer a mix of retired players and current stars. The usual array of parallel colors are among the inserts along with buybacks of Topps cards issued in the past, a subset celebrating 60 years of Topps Football and others touting last year’s 1,000 (rushing/receiving) and 4,000-yard club (passing) members.
Topps trots out some of its designs from the past for some of the inserts and autographed cards which old school collectors appreciate.
There is also a strong fantasy football element to the product again this year. It would have been nice to instead see Topps find another historic tie-in or something unique.
You can get a full look at what Topps has done and a complete checklist here.
My local card store (Triple Cards in Plano TX) was at $64.25 for a hobby box while leading online retailers were at $55-60 per box before shipping. Standard hobby boxes contain 36 packs with 10 cards per pack and as is traditional with base Topps issues, there is one autograph or relic card in each hobby box (jumbos guarantee autographs).
Here’s what we pulled:
Base Cards: 270 of 500 with 30 duplicates. We did not notice any photo variations in our box.
Gold Parallel (#d to 2015): Isaiah Crowell, Eli Harold, Allen Hurns, Sammy Watkins
Pink Parallel (#d to 499): A.J. Green
Red Parallel (#d to 60): LeSean McCoy Fantasy Studs
4000 Yard Club: Tom Brady; Drew Brees; Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers; Ben Roethlisberger; Ryan Tannehill
60th Anniversary Throwbacks: Odell Beckham Jr.; Drew Brees; Arian Foster; Antonio Gates; Melvin Gordon; Alshon Jeffery, Rob Gronkowski; Colin Kaepernick, Clay Matthews; LeSean McCoy; Alfred Morris; DeVante Parker
All-Time Fantasy Legends: Drew Brees, Terrell Davis, Mike Ditka, Larry Fitzgerald, Paul Hornung, Andrew Luck, Dan Marino, Jerry Rice, Roger Staubach
Fantasy Focus: Kelvin Benjamin, Teddy Bridgewater, Matt Forte, Arian Foster, Alshon Jeffery, Andrew Luck, Lamar Miller Jordy Nelson, Emmanuel Sanders
Past and Present Performers: Derek Carr/Tim Brown; Jordy Nelson/Paul Hornung; Troy Polamalu/Joe Greene; Aaron Rodgers/Paul Hornung; Sammy Watkins/Jim Kelly; Russell Wilson/Steve Largent
Relic: Drew Brees
We didn’t get an autograph in our box but as usual, the bounty of inserts and sheer quantity of cards makes it hard to complain. For some reason we got a heavy dose of Paul Hornung. And while someday we’d like to see two hits or at least a second buy back card, Topps’ flagship products in football and baseball aren’t really designed for hit chasers. They’re targeted to set collectors who have remained loyal to the company’s products and might even chase down a ‘master set’ with all inserts. That tradition, unfortunately, may be coming to an end.
Click here to see 2015 Topps football hobby and jumbo boxes on eBay.