Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Product Review: 2009 Topps Football

When it comes to Topps products, much of their success hinges on the content of their base set and Chrome series. Both Base Topps and Chrome this year have looked promising, and we get our first taste starting today. Before I move into the review of the set, I want to say that this could be the first time I would support buying any of the base product instead of chrome, as it seems as though topps has really took stock of the necessity for having content in the base set.


I applaud the Topps designers for the great design this year for the base and for Topps chrome. I really like it a lot, and I especially like that each card is team color coordinated. The border on the design gives maximum space for the picture, unlike 2008, and you can really tell that the photos have benefitted from it. The 2008 cards suffered from cramped pictures taken from a mile away, where 2009 seems to be more up close and personal. I cant tell you how much better this makes the product, as what is true for base is true for chrome.

Topps has also gone with a number of variations in the base set, something I think is necessary to show collectors that the base set is worth your money. Before, it was almost stupid to buy this product unless you always collected the base set or if you were going to go after the rookie premiere autos. Now, it seems like there is more content for you to go after, mainly because the extra content seems to be very, very rare. I wholeheartedly support this, as I never thought of Base Topps as worth my or anyone's time, but these could do a lot for the set.

They have also included throwback retro cards that resemble the famous National Chicle Bronko Nagurski card, which is how I wish most retro sets would be done. No need to do a whole fucking National Chicle set when they look just as good as add ons to a set that never has anything worth getting. Im still not quite sure why 2009 is the year of the National Chicle invasion, but I am much more apt to support it as an insert than a focus of a particular product.

Personally, I think low end is the last thing that Topps has going for it when it comes to football, and I am glad to see they did a really good job with it this year. Color me very satisfied.

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Autograph Cards

In base topps there are two types of autos that one can always expect. The first is always one of the most anticipated cards of the year in the Rookie Premiere autos, and this year they are great. I stayed far away from the 2008 RPAs because of the weird flag they used in the background of the pictures and the lack of a good border design, but 2009 has cured all and made it better. The way they incorporated the autograph into the new design is great, thus alleviating the concern that they would just draw a white line above the bottom of the border and fill it in with a white space for the player to sign. I think that of the last 5 years, 2009 could be the best of all of them when it comes to these cards, and you will see that the value will follow.

When looking at the duals and the quads, the way they adapted everything was very cool. It seems as though over the last few years they just made the multiples look like multiple cards pasted together, however, this year its different. I really like them a lot, and I may even have to put in some cash on a Moreno/Staffford one.

As for the second type of auto, the unfortunately named Career Best autos look so much better in terms of design this year, something which makes me that much happier about the product. Last year they looked ridiculous, while this year they look polished and well put together. Even though they are stickers, the stickers are done well. I have said before that a sticker should be produced as if it were on card, and topps has definitely made strides in making this the case. Still not 100% awesome, but so much better.

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Relic Cards

Topps has tried to make a push with Manufactured Non-Autoed Letter cards in this set, which was something I hoped would stay quarrantined in UD Icons. I said before that I really dislike the use of these cards, though the design in Icons this year had alleviated some of the gag reflex I had over them. In Base Topps, the cards may have well been put into Triple Threads as they opted for a tiny little picture and homage to the 2009 base design. Why even do this? I have no Idea. Plus, it looks like they included many of the 2008 rookie premiere players, even though many of them DO NOT deserve a second year card, let alone a fucking letter patch. See Andre Caldwell for example.

They have also included the Career Best relic cards, which actually were much better in 2008. The have some floating swatches that obstruct player pictures, which always make my blood boil as to why they were even included in the first place. Last year, they just put the swatches into the base design, which would have worked much better this year. I think we may need to get rid of these types of cards all together. They arent Donini level crimes against my eyes, but they are pretty bad.

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Value to the Collector

I think when it comes to the acutal worth of the base cards and parallels, the set will always hold value to the purists who have closets full of Topps sets that go back however many years. Individually, they arent worth much. However, this year, the variations and low numbered parallels seem to be getting a lot more value on eBay, so maybe things are on the up and up for Base Topps.

As for the RPAs, they are always going to hold their value, as the red inks, duals and quads are some of the most valuable rookie autos of the year. If you are lucky enough to pull a good auto, consider yourself to be in possesion of one to hold onto for the season. Otherwise, be sure to sell early enough to get top dollar.

If you are considering a box or two, I would actually hold off, as box prices for base Topps always drop dramatically as the new prodcuts come out. Stick to singles, as you can avoid astronomical group A odds on the autographs, and not have to worry about paying for a bunch of cards you don’t want.

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Overall Impressions

I would say that Base Topps has been the best its been over the last half decade. I congratulate them on creating a good way to bolster value, and I applaud them for doing such a good job with the RPAs. I still think Chrome is going to be the true test of how far this design can go, but I have high hopes after seeing some of the great looking cards that are coming. I would have liked to see some Chomies inserted into this set, but they have at least made other changes to make up for not having Chome aspects of the set. I still think that the Parallels of the base set need a revamp, but base topps parallels have never been too much of a focus as they are in the chrome. Maybe next year we can see some sweeping changes.

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2009 Product Leaderboard (SO FAR)

1(t). Topps Football (3/5 GELLMANS)
1(t). UD Icons Football (3/5 GELLMANS)
1(t). UD Heroes Football (3/5 GELLMANS)
1(t). UD Draft Edition (3/5 GELLMANS)
5(t). Donruss Classics (2/5 GELLMANS)
5(t). Donruss Elite (2/5 GELLMANS)
5(t). Playoff Prestige (2/5 GELLMANS)
5(t). Bowman Draft Picks (2/5 GELLMANS)
9. Score Inscriptions Football (1/5 GELLMANS)


  1. Busted a few jumbos today: First the good news - was lucky enough to pull a couple nice autos including a Sanchez RPA, there is bad news however - the RPAs are once again going to be easily counterfitable. No holo, no numbering.

  2. Sucks on the no-num and no-holo, but nice pull!