Friday, October 2, 2009

Product Review: 2009 SPX Football

Yesterday I had the chance to spend a few hours with my friends as they broke a case of SPX and a few other things. I was very eager to see the SPX because of the bad taste I had in my mouth after the initial eBay auctions, and im not sure it got all that much better. Sadly, SPX has been a dissappointing experience to me ever since they went to the new format in 2007, and this year I was hoping for more than just a bunch of needless relics.


There are two parts of this set I love, one part im good with, and a bunch that I hate. The first of the parts that I love is the Shadow Box cards. They are fucking sweet, and you really have to see one in a non scan format to appreciate it. The cards almost look 3D, and the way they are put together highlights a few different full sized player pictures. My buddy pulled the Peyton Manning, and it was the best looking card he pulled. Its one of those parts that a lot of people will be after, so be ready.

The second part of the set that I love is the autographed version of the Rookie Materials subset. The pics arent my favorite, but the design may have been a better choice for the base rookie autos. They are a balanced card with some cool elements, opting more for simple lines and features rather than filling it with needless paint spills and the like. I would definitely go after a few of them, but helmet off pictures are not my thing.

I also gained a little bit more appreciation for the base rookie autos after seeing them, as the design isnt all THAT bad when you see it in person. The problem is that its still a gaudy example of gold foil, but at least its dulled so that it doesn’t distract from things like the normal Panini fare. I would love to see on card autos on these, but with the time between the premiere and the release, that is just impossible. At least these cards look better than last year, which is a plus, but still not at the standards I expect from Upper Deck.

Outside of those three elements, SPX is just plain boring and poorly designed. If they went back to the format from 2006, it would prevent a lot of mediocrity that has seeped into this set. The jersey cards are horrible looking, like they forgot the autos, and the non-base rookie autos are a snoozefest. I almost tuned out after the main hit was pulled from each box, because of how bad some of the cards are.

I would say that SPX looks rushed at the very best. You can easily tell where the focus is, and the rest is a graveyard of floating swatch windows and Panini-style design elements.

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Autograph Cards

I don’t have many complaints about the autograph cards, because they arent the downfall of this product. They don’t bring this product to another level either, so its pretty much indifference here. The stickers do detract from things, but at least they arent covered up by dark colors either.

The rookie auto jerseys arent as horrible as I thought, but they arent that great either, a running theme for this year. Thank god the windows look like footballs instead of spelling out SPX like they have for the last 2 years, one of the main welcome changes for the set.

The base scrub autos arent horrible either, they just look like the filler they are. They fit in with everything in the product, and they really arent something you are going to have as that one memorable card from your box. Most of them suffer from the Brady effect, or getting every rookie to sign some cards just so you can have a card of the one guy like Brady or Romo who breaks out from the later rounds.

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Relic Cards

Man, Im wondering if someone from Panini designed the relic cards from this set. They are the worst I have seen out of a UD product in a LONG time. Floating swatches, backwardly designed cards, and boring concepts litter the product to the point of nauseum. At least they are better than the weird die cut numbers and shapes of the last few years, but not on the level they should be at all.

When many of the relic only cards look like you forgot to add the autos, there are major problems. Panini does this on a regular basis, but we have yet to see UD break the golden rule of designing the relics as stand alones and finding a place for autos later. Otherwise they end up like crap when you have 10 parallels to fill the set.

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Value to the Collector

SPX as singles will actually hold value pretty well, especially the rookie autos and the shadow boxes. These are the first cards that really will hold through the year, even with other releases, and its not a bad idea to buy now on the cards you like. The parallels that are created on the rookie autos are always collected by a lot of people, so if you pull one, consider yourself VERY lucky.

The Shadow Boxes, especially the auto'ed versions will sell well because of the way they look and because of the rarity. I would think this type of idea will be repeated in other ways, and that its pretty cool to think how it can be used. Black already somewhat uses it with the Lustrous cards, but now it may be taken in another direction. I really like that, and so will the people who will chase these cards.

Outside of the rookie autos and the rare case hits, there isnt much value. The jersey cards are throwaways and the other stuff is junk. It’s the reason you should stick to singles over buying a box. The fact that this product is carrying a 150 dollar price tag is borderline Triple Threads territory.

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Overall impressions

This set was held back by the non auto jersey cards, plain and simple. Without the relics and with a cheaper price tag, this could have been a great product a la 2006. I think things are definitely better than 2008, but not to the point where it deserves any praise. SPX needs a major redesign, as it does in baseball, hopefully with figuring out ways to get rid of the swatch cards that are completely worthless.

Average Rating =

2009 Product Leaderboard (SO FAR)

1. Topps Chrome (4/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Upper Deck Football (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Philadelphia (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Topps Football (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Icons (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Heroes (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Draft Edition (3/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Upper Deck SPX (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Playoff Absolute Memorabilia (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Bowman Sterling Football (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Donruss Threads (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Donruss Classics (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Donruss Elite (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Playoff Prestige (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Bowman Draft Picks (2/5 GELLMANS)
16. Score Inscriptions (1/5 GELLMANS)
17. Leaf Rookies and Stars (0/5 GELLMANS - NR)

1 comment:

  1. Is that the only game-used relic card type? The design of it is uninteresting especially UD had a ball with it with basketball edition. Here are few examples from SP basketball edition (based from Ebay which I been picking a few off):

    Based on designs and look I would rather have anything from UD SP out from basketball than the football.