Wednesday, July 22, 2009

First Look: 2009 Donruss Gridiron Gear Football

In 2007, Gridiron Gear was one of my favorite sets of the year, but in 2008, it dropped well below acceptable standards to me. The continued use of event used footballs, as well as a RC Patch auto design that didnt lend well to parallels sold the product down the river to me.

I see a lot of 2008's product in 2009's preview, which concerns me, in addition to ANOTHER Donini set with sticker autos, despite a focus on hard signed products elsewhere. Gridiron Gear is like SPA and Limited is like Ultimate in terms of the release calendar, and both are at a disadvantage to UDs sets before a preview is even released. See, I love UD products because they are the best, its not even a contest, especially when Donini continually falls short of product expectations.

Ill give you an example.

Instead of retiring lame gimmicks like signed plastic NFL fields, and cards with rubber helmets embedded in them, they are issued as a staple in the product. I cant tell you how bored I am with these cards, even when they were created in 2007, and it makes me really frustated to think how lazy the Donini designers are. Why not focus on the design of the Gridiron Gems to ASSURE that every parallel fits into the design. It didnt last year, and from the preview of the sanchez here, this year's is the same. Look at the tapering of the window in relation to the design. It looks off, because the card was actually designed for the other parallels. This fact, in turn, makes the window look like it is breaking through the borders of the card.

Here is the reality I see in Donini cards for 2009. Who ever is designing them was just given the old set and adobe photoshop and told to reinvent. Rather than starting from scratch as UD and Topps usually do, they just tweak little parts of the old cards. Im guessing its because of a lack of talent/lack of knowhow in the designers' repetoir, but it could just be that they have no resources - hence all the stickers.

As I said in my UD bias post, I give them more positive press because they are just better at making cards. Donini and Topps are second tier when you hold up the calendar against each other. Sadly, the second tier is second class in this case. Ill take SPA and Ultimate over Limited and Gridiron Gear every day of the week.


  1. I am not sure what you really expect for the rookies and event used in the product. It comes out before the season so there is no choice unless you drop it all together. I would be bitching more about UD high edn exquisite and SP authentic when they release the most sought after products pretty much at the end of the season but still give the event used


  2. When you say cards, you're just referring to football cards, right?

    I'm sure it's just a resource thing: if you've got 2000 plastic NFL fields left from last year, you gotta use 'em.

    I'm also pretty sure they don't have the market research team to really look into what collectors enjoy.

  3. Whoa no way. Gellman praising Upper Deck and ripping another company. What a shocker.

  4. Wheels, the event used is a necessity, but no reason for those stupid footballs they put in the cards.

    Harner, I will continue to praise UD and rip the others as long as things continue the way they are. I dont see why that is hard to understand. UD makes better products, so they are the benchmark. Not only do the Donini products not measure up to what's out there from UD, but they fall so short that they might as well not play the game at all. Sorry that flies too high over your head.

  5. Maybe if Donruss wouldn't put out the same product design every year in 5 different brand names, Gellman would cut them some slack. Of course the same could be said for UD's unatural love of X's.

    At least Topps has some product differentiation, Donruss has none.

  6. Gellman,
    I would hope UD is better. There product is a fortune so it should be. Enough with they make a better product lol. If you pay for Lincoln you best not get an escort engine. That being said last years exquiste had so much hype but Treasures are way better IMO .The fact they use event itmes in Exquiste and SP is unexcusable. UD are the biggest scammers going. Too much Upper Deck Kool Aid in the blog ;)
    My opinion on the this particular product though is I think they did great Kudos Panini


  7. Where is the love for the pullout jerseys? THe pullout jerseys seem to sell almost as good as spa rookie patch autos.|66:2|39:1|293:1|294:50#ht_500wt_1182|66:2|39:1|293:1|294:50#ht_2980wt_1166

  8. As far back before 2008 as I can remember, they have been very cool. The pullouts fit the design super well. Now, the pull out window is too big for the card's spot for it, making it look like it wasnt designed correctly.

  9. Gellman, I love the blog but I have a single suggestion: take more of a "what have you done for me lately" approach.

    I'm all for you praising the crap out of Upper Deck, and Smashing the crap out of Donruss and Topps but I think you should do it when the product actually comes out (or is previewed I guess.)

    Right now, all of your reviews are reading the same "Boring product, but what Upper Deck is going to release is going to be way better"

    Seriously, you have UD Draft, UD Icons, and UD Heroes all above Donruss Classics. Do you realize the insanity of this?

    These sets don't even list the TEAM that they play for -- not Heroes, Not Draft, Not Icons.

    How do you justify your rating system? How do you add and subtract points?

    I don't particularly care how much better UD high end stuff is, you haven't reviewed it yet. What I do care about is how the stuff you reviewed has managed to achieve a better grade than a really *solid* classics product.