The Beckett Blog

First Impressions: 2010 Rookies & Stars Football by Tracy Hackler
August 11, 2010, 4:58 pm
Filed under: Beckett Media, Card gallery, NFL, Panini | Tags: ,

It’s no secret that the Rookies & Stars Football franchise has long been much more about rookies than it has been about stars, at least as it relates to the insert lineup. From Freshman Orientation to Studio Rookies to Cross Training, this is a product with a primary focus of celebrating the newest crop of superstar rookies.

Longtime brand loyalists can take solace in knowing that the 2010 version — the 13th annual installment of the brand, by the way — follows the same tried-and-true recipe of its predecessors.

Although the product hits August 18, we were lucky enough to get a few early boxes. Stay tuned to for what promises to be a riveting Box Busters episode. Until then, here are some random observations on 2010 Rookies & Stars Football:

* The base design is nontraditional to be sure, and quite similar to last year’s. But last year’s served as a dramatic departure from the Rookies & Stars aesthetic of the past. That was a good thing. This look will ruffle some feathers, but it’s a gritty, cutting-edge look that I think works.

* In and of itself, the somber, moody photography used on Studio Rookies is nicely done. But it seems oddly out of context and a little too foreboding in Rookies & Stars. What’s more, some of the images seem tailor-made for rookie ridicule in the wrong veteran’s hands. Having said that, the backs of those Studio cards are strikingly attractive.

* The compelling photo selection, in concert with the high dynamic range (or HDR) treatment of some of those photos, makes many of the base cards really pop — see Fred and Vincent Jackson and Adrian Peterson for proof. It’s a dynamically subtle touch that will generate more than a few double takes.

* At first thought, Panini’s autographed material idea seems played out. But then you actually pull one of the cards (in this case, Mardy Gilyard) and it still packs a tangible air of uniqueness that a regular autograph card lacks.

* The long-running Longevity returns as one of the most collected football parallel sets of the last 15 years. This particular box included four (two holographic cards numbered to 99, two foil cards numbered to 249).

* Maybe it’s just me, but I’m still really impressed with how relatively quickly Panini can turn such a product following the late-May NFL Players Rookie Premiere. In the span of about two months, the company processed all of the photography, autographs and memorabilia from the event, fully incorporated it into the product and had it boxed and on its way to dealer shelves.

* While the material- and signature-less versions of the Cross Training insert likely will be little more than afterthoughts, the fact that the Mike Williams in this box is #’d 1/100 helps the overall appeal in this case.

* Thumbs up to the high-gloss sheen and two-photo fronts of the Freshman Orientation memorabilia cards. Our Edwards autograph is numbered out of 100; our Prime Roberts is numbered out of 50.

* Oh, and if you want pure football enjoyment, look no further than the 15-card Elements subset, a welcomed, inclement-weather oasis.

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


1 Comment so far
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Looks great. Love the design.

Comment by Gellman

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