Thursday, December 10, 2009

Product Review: 2009 Upper Deck Black Football

When I first saw the announcement that UD black football was coming, my mind jumped at the possibilities as to what they could work with. Now that we have seen what the product was, to say that there are mixed reviews is an understatement. The people who busted the boxes are angry at the content of what they paid for, while the singles buyers are salivating at the top pulls from the set. Although I fall under the latter part of the divide, I see the merits of all the complaints that have been lodged.


Off the bat, I want to say that I absolutely love the design of this product. I love the looks of the cards, especially some of the more creative ones like the film strips, and I think that it could be the best of the year so far. My favorites of the set are probably a tie between the Lustrous patch autos, and the quad patch autos, though many of the cooler ideas are threads among all the cards. The black background makes everything that much brighter and cooler, and it reminded me of the Vizio commercial where they put blacker blacks on their TVs to make the colors more vivid. At the time I thought that was crap, but it is present here I believe.

As for another major point of contention in the set, the rookie autos, I love the look of them, but I see the validity of the complaints for why they don’t work. First off, College Unis in this type of product is a problem, and a lot of people have a right to complain, especially with pro logos for team designation. I think if this product was a few months later, it would have been great to have a rookie style Lustrous patch auto. Then you march into the territory of SPA and Ultimate, so I see why they went with it the way they did. At least the cards look good enough in most of the cases to look past the short comings to a cool little card, but again, I am not missing the forest for the trees.

Another great example of a cool idea is the signed swatches that are sparsely included in the sets. They look beyond awesome, and though the autos arent as clear as they should be at points, the design and look of the cards are awesome. Its been years since we have had signed GU stuff in football sets, and I am glad to see it back. From what I remember, it should be making a comeback in Exquisite as well.

Moving on to the flag base cards and signed parallels, I have no complaints, though I have heard mixed reviews. Some people love them from their Basketball black collections were happy to see them included, others just thought they were dumb and unnecessary. I think it’s a cool idea, and would maybe even buy a few of the unsigned ones. The signed ones are crap shoots, as there usually isnt enough room for the players to sign. Some are good, some are bad, and that’s where things get dicey. I think moving the name would have been a good idea, and expanding the space to sign is essential.

Lastly, the cuts in this set are awful. Plain and simple. No pictures, high numbering, bad checklist, poor design. I would say that they are some of the better ones of the horrible cuts we have had this year in Classics, Limited and otherwise, but lipstick on a pig don’t make it a woman.

Rating =

Autograph Cards

The signed portion of this product I like a lot because I am a sucker for on card signatures, and because the design looks great. I think better pens were needed in some cases, but in most, they look fine. As said above, the Lustrous cards are some of the cooler cards I have seen in a long time, and the film strip cards are a gimmick that actually works. The dual auto jersey cards are awesome, and the quad jersey cards are even better. That being said, the flag autos are mostly bad, the cuts suck, and the rookies are college style. A weighted scale for sure.

The part that may offset the rookie college unis are the duals, triples, and quads that look amazing. The pairings are pretty good for the most part, and having quad signed cards are awesome additions to a set that lacked in its rookie element. I got a very distinct feeling that the Pen Pals cards are not going to be that good looking this year after seeing some of the previews, and these multisigned cards make the Pen Pals look like prestige junk.

Overall, I think the autographs live up to black potential, but there are no shortage of bad parts for sure.

Rating =

Relic Cards

There are no relic only cards in this set

Value To The Collector

First off, let me say that there is no way in hell I would ever buy a box of this unless it was a drastically reduced price. Those people who were complaining have it mostly right. Unless you get lucky, you are going to pull two rookies and two flags and be done with your 175 bucks. To have a shot at the good stuff, you have to break multiple boxes, and for this price, it almost isnt possible.

However, if you do manage to pull something besides a rookie auto, there is a lot of potential in some of the cards. Many of the Adrian Peterson, Peyton Manning, and others are selling above the cost of a box, which is good, and there are a few cuts that people do want. The good rookie autos are selling reasonably higher than most of the others out there, and the Lustrous cards do very well. You shouldn’t be buying these boxes to make money anyways, and I think if you go into it with those expectations, you could come out happy.

The cards themselves will hold their value, especially some of the rarer subsets, which will be good for the singles buyers, but the drawback of busting a box is still going to prevent a lot of people from enjoying this product.

Rating =

Overall Impressions

I would say this set is the first in about 3 months where I want multiple cards from multiple players. The others I just buy the Harvins or the Petersons and be done with it. This one is different. For that I think there are a lot of other people out there like me. However, there are just as many people who got a swift kick in the baby maker when busting this product, and they are out for blood.

Personally, I don’t see how this product is performing any different than past years, yet for some reason, the stigma is definitely poor. I would say that if we got pro uniform rookies and some guarantees on case content, you would have seen a much different reaction.

Also, considering this set is all live with no redemptions is particularly awesome. That is an accomplishment unlike anything we have ever seen before, and I think that bears repeating. When was the last time that a set with all hard signed stuff was put out with no wait on any of the cards? Never.

Average Rating =

2009 Product Leaderboard (SO FAR)

1. Topps Chrome (4/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Black (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Donruss Limited (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Bowman Chrome (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Donruss Certified (3/5 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)
12(t). Topps Finest (2/5 GELLMANS)
12(t). Upper Deck SP Threads (2/5 GELLMANS)
12(t). Upper Deck SPX (2/5 GELLMANS)
12(t). Playoff Absolute Memorabilia (2/5 GELLMANS)
12(t). Bowman Sterling Football (2/5 GELLMANS)
12(t). Donruss Threads (2/5 GELLMANS)
12(t). Donruss Classics (2/5 GELLMANS)
12(t). Donruss Elite (2/5 GELLMANS)
12(t). Playoff Prestige (2/5 GELLMANS)
12(t). Bowman Draft Picks (2/5 GELLMANS)
12(t). Topps Mayo (2/5 GELLMANS)
22(t). Score Inscriptions (1/5 GELLMANS)
22(t). SP Signature Edition (1/5 GELLMANS)
24. Leaf Rookies and Stars (0/5 GELLMANS - NR)


  1. This stuff was a flop. So many no-name rookie autos as "hits", college unis, many top guys (Favre, etc...) with no autos (or relics obviously). Flag patches mean nothing because they are so common. Flag patch autos look horrible because there was no space for the guys to sign - almost like an afterthought.

    1.5/5. The truth, no slurping.

  2. All of your points were addressed above, mentioned, and criticized. You obviously didnt pay attention.

    Also, flag patches are the base of the product. Of course they are common.

    As for busting this product, I said there is no way in hell, standing on the quality of the cards, my review stands.