The Beckett Blog


First Impressions: 2010 Prestige Football by Tracy Hackler

Imagine my surprise this afternoon when the mail arrived and in it — about a week earlier than expected — were two boxes of 2010 Prestige Football. For a diehard football fan eaten up right now with NFL Draft fever and a bad case of Tebow mania, it was kind of like Christmas in May.

(Unfortunately, there wasn’t a Tebow to be found in the one box we opened. My football fix, however, was fixed — at least for now.)

We opened one box this afternoon for the express purpose of providing our pigskin-starved visitors with an early look at the first 2010 NFL product.  As for the second 24-pack box, we have a special Box Busters episode planned for that one, so stay tuned.

After the jump you’ll be treated to a wealthy dose of images from the product. Right now, I’ll share just a few quick thoughts on what I think is a rather pleasing start to a history-in-the-making 2010 product season.

* Prestige packs a robust amount of content in every box with 24 Rookie Cards (one per pack) and 24 inserts/parallels (one per pack). The variety of design between the base 200-card set, the 100-card Rookie subset, the inserts and the parallels serves as visual Vivarin, breaking up any monotony that might surface between the first pack and the 24th.

* As is the case with most Panini products, there’s a rainbow array of possibilities within each insert set. This particular box yielded two versions of Draft Picks (Rights Signature #’d to 399 and Light Blue #’d to 999), two versions of Prestigious Pros (Gold #’d to 100 and Blue), three versions of Xtra Points (Black #’d to 10, Red #’d to 100, Gold #’d to 250), two versions of Stars of the NFL (Materials #’d to 250 and the base) and two versions of Rookie Review (unnumbered Materials and the base).

* The overall impact of many of Prestige’s base insert sets is unspectacular; they just seem to get lost or are otherwise rendered insignificant amid the tangible excitement of what Rookie Card you’re going to pull next. Having said that, Pro Helmets Signatures will go down as one of the coolest, most-attractive rookie-themed sets of the season (and the season hasn’t even really started yet).

* As Panini officials shared Prestige preview images in recent weeks, many collectors seemed to be up in arms over what they perceived to be a design travesty on the product’s Rookie Cards. I’m here to tell you that you can’t necessarily judge a card by its jpg. One look at the Chad Jones Draft Picks Rights Autograph should make clearer the inspiration behind the seemingly barren landscape on the right side of the card.

* What you can’t see on a computer screen is the captivating sheen of metallic silver ink on every base and Rookie Card. It’s a subtle touch, but one that necessitates its share of second looks. The overall design of the core 300-card set is quite different than past Prestige sets and packs a distinct “modern feel,” to quote Chris Olds, my design-inclined colleague.

* Kudos to Panini’s football product development team for a checklist that’s loaded with a nice assortment of defensive players. It’s a sight for sore eyes to see guys like Elvis Dumervil, Dhani Jones, Aqib Talib and Brandon Flowers sharing pack space with all the usual skill-position suspects.

* Kudos, too, to Panini’s autograph acquisition department. 2010 Prestige packed out with zero redemption cards. In fact, the company did such a thorough job of securing autographs — many of which are on-card — that they were able to guarantee two in each box, to go along with two memorabilia cards. That should be good for business. So should the fact that Panini will have the NFL trading card market to itself for at least the next three or four months until Topps‘ first 2010 products start hitting.

Perhaps because I’m so excited for the 2010 season, or perhaps because it’s true, I’d be splitting hairs to find much of anything wrong with 2010 Prestige.

Tracy Hackler is the editorial director for Beckett Media. Have a comment or question? Send an e-mail to him at thackler@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.


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