Filed under: Beckett Media, NFL, Panini, Topps, Upper Deck | Tags: 2010 NFL season, Aaron Rodgers, Alex Smith, Brandon Marshall, NFL Trading Cards, Peyton Manning, Ryan Mathews
Man, we thought the 2010 NFL season would never get here. I mean, it seems like forever ago that Drew Brees and the Saints – yes, the Saints – were winning Super Bowl XLIV, setting off a celebration in the Gulf Coast region that still hasn’t ended.
Everywhere else, the euphoria quickly subsided, vanquished by the dark recesses of something called the off-season. But now that a new season has arrived, officially starting Thursday night when New Orleans hosts Minnesota in an NFC Championship Game rematch, happy days are here again.
In honor of that, we present some of our choices for the must-collect players of 2010. We’ve profiled five players here. For the complete list of 10 – you know, 10 for ’10 – check out the October issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly, on sale everywhere next week.
Some of our selections are no-brainers, a few will leave you scratching your head and one or two will likely have you questioning our sanity (if you don’t already). Perhaps the rationale behind each pick will help our case.
Either way, here’s to another fantastic NFL season. And by all means, if you disagree with our list send us yours (email@example.com) and you might be profiled in a future issue of the magazine.
Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts
No quarterback in NFL history has accomplished more in his first 12 seasons than the Colts’ incomparable leader. In that time, Peyton Manning has ascended into the top five all-time in every significant passing category, including touchdowns (366), yards (50,128) and completions (4,232).
In 2009 he claimed an unprecedented fourth NFL MVP Award, logged his 10th 4,000-yard season (no one else has more than six), threw at least 25 TD passes for an NFL-record 12th straight season and became the Colts all-time leader in victories.
To no surprise, Manning is primed for another ho-hum spectacular season in 2010. But when it comes to most football card collections, the living legend is a victim of his own perpetual greatness. His brilliance has become borderline boring, his mastery mundane.
Overlook him if you want. As for me, I’m going to take this opportunity to collect arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history, while he’s still a relative bargain — and while he’s still in his prime.
— Tracy Hackler
Card to Watch: 1998 SP Authentic #14 RC /2000
Current Value: $800
Projected Value at Season’s End: $900
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
It’s little surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention to Beckett Football to hear again that we really like Aaron Rodgers. He has all the skills to be an elite quarterback and has proven just that in his first two full seasons as a starter.
Rodgers passed for 4,434 yards in 2009 (fourth in the league), threw 30 touchdown passes (fourth in the league) and ended the year with a bloated 103.2 passer rating (also fourth in the league). Expect him to surpass all of those totals this season while piling on a few more wins for the Pack.
If that happens, Rodgers might spark the football card story of the year. Collectors have been gearing up for this scenario by making him one of the hottest players the past couple of months — and there’s always plenty of upside in a Packers quarterback who wins.
– Dan Hitt
Card to Watch: 2005 SP Authentic #252 JSY AU/99 RC
Current Value: $1,000
Projected Value at Season’s End: $1,500
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers
Yes, Ryan Mathews was a trendy fantasy football pick this season and, yes, his cards have been on the rise. But this is one rookie who will live up to the building hype.
The Chargers are sure to be in contention this season and have the potential to win it all. With LaDainian Tomlinson shipped off to the Jets, the door is wide open for Mathews to become an immediate starter – and an immediate star.
The more-experienced Darren Sproles is certain to steal a few carries, but the Chargers didn’t select the former Fresno State star in the first round to sit on the bench. Mathews paced the nation last year in rushing yards per game and finished second in rushing yardage, so he’s used to carrying a heavy load.
If the Chargers fulfill their promise and Mathews gets his touches, then expect his cards to stay hot all year.
Card to Watch: 2010 Donruss Elite Rookie Team Logo Autographs #31
Current Value: $60
Projected Value at Season’s End: $100
Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco 49ers
To all those San Francisco collectors who invested so heavily in Alex Smith six years ago hoping/believing/convinced he was the next great 49ers quarterback, well, your blind faith/loyalty/refined investment mind is about to pay off.
Every indication is that the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft finally has come of age and is ready to lead the Niners back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2002 season. Tim Tebow might have been Urban Meyer’s greatest college QB prodigy, but Smith was his first, when the two were together at the University of Utah.
Since a woeful rookie campaign in 2005 (1 TD, 11 INTs), Smith has accounted for 38 total touchdowns. What’s more, he led the Niners to three wins in their last four games in 2009. This year, many expect him to help them win the NFC West.
Card to Watch: 2005 Bowman Chrome #222 AU/199 RC
Current Value: $60
Projected Value at Season’s End: $90
Brandon Marshall, WR, Miami Dolphins
Brandon Marshall is one of those players collectors love to hate, but he’s been highly productive for three straight seasons amid all the controversy. He has that “wow” factor that should grab the attention of Dolphins collectors craving an offensive superstar.
QB Chad Henne may be the safer choice on this team, but I like Marshall because of the upside. His top RCs heated up this off-season but have yet to catch fire. He has a few that could take off if he solves the Dolphins’ receiving woes early and delivers consistently.
He has key RCs in the most-collected sets of 2006, including Exquisite Collection, Playoff Contenders, SP Authentic and National Treasures. There’s a chance those cards all could double in value if the mercurial Marshall fulfills his potential.
The downside, of course, is that Marshall can blow up in your face as quickly as his cards can explode on the market.
Card to Watch: 2006 Playoff Contenders #147 AU/608* RC
Current Value: $50
Projected Value at Season’s End: $100
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