Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Contenders is Live, Disappointing

Well, 2009 Contenders has hit eBay, and that means that we finally get to see how bad this could possibly be. For those of you who have not followed along, Panini has touted through the whole thing that this set will feature on card autos, but then we find out that only a portion of the tickets are on card. The rest of the cards are stickers, and from what I have seen on facebook from the on card stuff, I think I actually prefer the stickers. The rest of the autos are bubbly and barely seen on the over crowded card, and I cannot believe that people are trying to get in on this product right at the beginning.

These new tickets feature a design that is worse than 2008's visual abortion, something I didn’t think was possible, and the autographs are mildly visible to hardly visible. I have no idea why you would even try on card autos on a foilboard surface, as the reflective coating will highlight every miserable defect of the bubbly signature. They also switched to a horizontal orientation that did nothing but give them a huge space to write 2009 ROOKIE in humoungous letters. I always like when a painted player is featured on a card, but why would you cover up part of the artwork with a font that takes away from the general design? That doesn’t make sense. Plus, if you really want to do well, how about just ditching the foilboard all together and giving us a card that doesn’t blind us in the sunlight.

Contenders has always been the Bowman prospect set of football due to the fact that there are so many rookie autos, and this year is no different. The problem is that with 200 products that all have the same number of rookies on the checklist, the novelty isnt there anymore. The good thing is, they have made an effort to adding value to each case by promising a few top rookie autos per case and one on card auto per box, but when the cards look the way they do, the value just doesn’t matter as much. Contenders has gone from one of the top rookie autos of the year to another mid end whatever, and I can pretty much say that it is a direct result of the design of the cards and the refusal to adapt to the needs of the colletors.

I will give Panini their due for not rehashing the design, and for trying to up the on card content, but when your cards go from nice in 1998-2007 to awful, those smiles turn to scowls. Ive put together a retrospective here, and you can see what I mean when I say the design has tanked.

Take a look (CLICK TO ENLARGE):


  1. uhhhh.

    Their version of Contenders basketball is coming out soon too, and I quite frankly am thinking if it looks like this, nobody's going to buy it.

    'You ugly, you ugly, yo momma said you ooglay.'

  2. They look almost as bad as the rookie autos in Upper Deck Black. Almost as bad - nothing is that bad. Heck, Triple Threads cards look 100 times better than the rookie auto cards in Upper Deck Black