Saturday, January 31, 2009

Product Review: 2008 SP Authentic Football

SP authentic is one of my favorite products over the last few years because it never disappoints with its set. It usually has some of the prettiest cards of the year, and the autographed patches are some of the most valuable RCs right under Exquisite. It went live after much delay on friday, and I am quite impressed.

The Good

This product's main focus is the RC patch autos, and this year they look as good, if not better than last year's. People were shocked by the horizontal orientation of the cards in 07, but I fucking loved it. This year, they stay with the same orientation, and it looks even better with the new patch windows and autographs right underneath.

I noticed that the theme of the set is to create bullseye targets of modern weaponry almost, like looking through an advanced sight on a rifle, and that was a pretty cool idea. Maybe its supposed to be like a cumpass rather than a weapon sight, but it looks very modern and very technological, and for some reason, I like it. It works well in my mind. I still like having a set look like everything is stitched into the card like RC threads, but this makes everything look futuristic. Even the scrub autos carry this theme, with full, bold colors. Triple suck has everything as bright and borderline neon, while SPA is all bold and prominent colors. SPA makes triple threads look like a 2nd grader did it with a coloring book for half the price. I love it.

In terms of the autos in the set, this is one of the only sets to stay COMPLETELY on card. That is a prize, and it is glorious. Every single card in the product that has a signaure, was done on the card itself, including duals and trips. That is amazing, Bravo.

Last year, I really liked the Chirography and the Sign of the times subset's design, and this year, they look pretty good too. They fit the theme of the set quite nicely, and I like that the autos dont go up the side this time. Plus, there is not a single "helmet off" card from either of the subsets, and that is a big plus.

Lastly, there are quite a few veteran based subsets in this product, a rookie based adventure, and I must applaud UD for not making them an after thought. They bumped up the quantity of RC patch autos in this set, and I think that is awesome, but also didnt forget about the By The Letters, or even some of the other sets like the Chirography's, SP Authentics, and the SOTT's. I like that about SPA more than anything. Big props for keeping offensive lineman off the checklist too, from what I can tell.

The Bad

There isnt many "major" problems with SPA this year but there are a few minor ones. First off, the leatherheads were a good idea on paper, but the execution is pretty poor, if not only because of the pictures. Gregg said it was tough to get them excited to wear one of the old school leather helmets, and I understand that, but the pictures look like someone just took away their lolli's. They not only look ridiculous in their helmets themselves, but the players look like douches. Nice try, but axe it for next year.

Another good on paper idea was the rookie retro jersey autos, but there are too many problems with those to make it a good execution. I thought the designs would vary card to card, almost like creating a patch auto from that year that didnt have them, but instead they are all the same type from Vick's rookie year. It was cool to get Fran "Turkenton" in that set too, but dumb to have them as all part of the same design. It was a time to shine with design (no rhyme intended) and that ball was dropped.

The Ugly

I dont mind that there are redemptions in the set, its a necessary evil with a product that is all on card, but when half of the RC class' biggest names are redemptions, that fucking sucks. With 2007, Peterson, Quinn, Johnson and Lynch were all there and ready to go, but with 2008, Flacco, Johnson and others are not. Completely unacceptable when they should have been the focus of the auto getting venture.

I told Gregg straight out that the Number Pieces set was beyond stupid looking when the sell sheet was first put out. As good as the Exquisite version is, is as bad as this version is. They trade the cut out jersey pieces in Exquisite's version for an idiot looking manufactured patch, which in turn it makes SPA look like Topps Lettermen. That, my friends, should NEVER FUCKING HAPPEN. Ditch it.

Overall, I think SPA is a continued expectation of excellence, and for the price, you almost cant beat SPA in any way, shape, or form. Its almost like buying a high end product, and paying for a mid end - something that every single collector appreciates. Go buy a box or two this year, and I am sure that you wont be disappointed.


  1. The bad part about the product is that just about every triple and quad auto is a redemption

  2. Yes, SP Authentic is the perfect mid-end product - for Joe Collector.

    Go to ebay, and have a look at the number of decent veteran autograph cards in the product - there are almost none, and those few that are in the product are in very small quantities - so if you are buying the product for one of these, chances are you are a very big (and not too smart) gambler.

    So what does the product have in it? Let's face facts, the only reason you would buy this product is for the RC patch autos. And unless I am very much mistaken (please correct me if I am wrong) the patches are event worn! Why no mention of this Gellman? Every other product that has these you rant and rave about Gellman, but because you blow your load about this product you keep quiet about this. Why?

    So why do people buy this product - in the hope they hit it big in the RC event worn patch auto cards, by getting a Ryan, Flacco, Johnson, Forte etc. The truth is though that you are probably going to get some low round loser who will never ammount to anything, and plays for a team that will never, ever win a Super Bowl - Like John David Booty.

    So this is clearly a Joe Collector Product. Joe Collector buys a box in the hope of hitting it big with a Rookie Event worn patch auto of a big name rookie (why else would you buy it?), so they can sell it before the hype shifts to next year's rookie class or the player gets injured or their outpit declines. I mean Kevin Jones and Cadilac WIlliams would have been great pulls in the rookie year, now look at their cards. It is a 1 (if you are extrenely lucky 2) hit product that is designed for the "collector" looking to make a quick buck, though the chances of this happening are very small. It is not a product for a true collector, whether they be a set collector, team collector, or especially player collector because it has so little outside the year's rookie crop.

    If Joe Collector does pull a Matt Ryan event worn craptch auto, they yell "mojo" and refer to it as "sick" (word of advice here - anyone who refers to cards as being "sick" is in no position to criticise people for using the term "mojo" - anyone who uses either term is likely to have an IQ lower than their shoe size).

    Gellman, you have the best football card blog around. Yet when I read you blowing your laod over a product like SP authentic, and conveniantly overlooking the problems with the product that you point out ad nauseum with other products I can'thelp but wonder if the evil empire has got to you too! Maybe we should start referring to you as Hackler Jr?

    Please try and be more objective. Otherwise, keep up the good work.

  3. Of course, I should also learn to check my comments for spelling mistakes before psoting them!

  4. What Alex said and more.

    I just bought two boxes today and neither contained a rookie auto patch card or an on the letter auto. There were two basic auto cards in each box. Two of the four were no-name rookies. The other two were Kevin Smith and Vernon Ghoulston. Whoopty-Doo! The box says "3 Autographs in Every Box (on average). One Memorabilia Auto or On the Letter Auto per Box (on average)." Well, according to Upper Deck's math, I should have pulled four auto's, two of them Memorabilia or On the Letter, from one of those two boxes. Didn't happen.

    SP Authentic is a crappy product. There are no parallel cards, the base rookies are usually free agents or 7th rounders, and the rookie auto patch cards are few and far between. Upper Deck swings and misses with this product. Not worth the money.

  5. Just out of curiosity, if you had pulled a Ryan and a Flacco, would you have said the same thing? I LOVE spa because there are no parallels, and from what I have seen there are quite a few RC Patch autos per case, like 2:3 boxes. There are always collation issues as you describe and I would check with UD on how they can make that up to you.

  6. To the above poster there was one box of this stuff last sunday in the Austin San Antonio area. I called 13 different stores and everyone was sold out except for one place in San Antonio. Just so happens that this box had a Ryan in it. Just like every thing it's luck of the draw. I also pulled a Big Ben in 04

    I did notice if you really want to collect this set it is possible if you go to ebay. In the last week i have bought 15 auto rookies, 6 patch auto's, including a decent Jamal charles, and 30 of the numbered rookies for around 120 dollars. Much better and more valuable than the 1500 I spent on various other products.

  7. I pulled a ryan out of one box last week. Also pulled a Big Ben out of the 04 stuff as well. Just like with everything it's luck of the draw. I don't sell my cards but the quality and overall value of my SP stuff far out weighs the other products I have bought.

  8. Yes, I would have been ecstatic if I pulled a Ryan card, not so much if I pulled a Flacco. But a Forte, Stewart, Johnson, Slaton, or Royal would have been just as nice. My point is that those pulls are unlikely to happen as much as pulling two basic no-name auto's. That's why I don't care for the product. Unless you get a nice pull, you just dropped $115-$125 on 120 base cards.

    Mobb, you are totally correct. It is "luck of the draw" and you have to have luck on your side to pull anything good out of SP Authentic because they load the product with so many junk auto's. Don't get me wrong, the rookie jersey auto's are beautiful and there are a lot of sharp looking cards in the set, but I am better off going on Ebay and finding the cards I like rather than drop $115-$125 and take a costly gamble.