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2013 Totally Certified: My 1st Case! (Bonus – Redemption Card)

I mentioned in part 2 of my blog post about opening a 2013 Totally Certified Football case that I pulled a disappointing number of redemption cards.  Lucky for me, Panini still honors them – even the “expired” ones!  In fact, I’ve already received the first card from them.  (Bravo, Panini!)  This was one of the big names from that draft, and I’m pretty happy to get this card, even if the star power here has faded since 2013.  Still, a nice card and a very presentable autograph


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2013 Totally Certified: My 1st Case! (Part 2 – The Good Stuff!)

In the first part of this post, I showed (almost) all of the various non-auto jersey cards I pulled from my first full case bust.  There was some neat stuff, but nothing too spectacular.  I saved the best for last, but first – the worst.  This was sort of the height of the “redemption era,” and this case was full of them. Boo. Hiss. (Update: I’ve actually already received the Geno Smith jersey auto from Panini!)

I go to that low point, though, so we can turn around and head for the heights of hobby glory that came from this case.  First off, the base rookie autos.  Big names were all jersey autos in this set, but there are some pretty solid defensive players here.

Next up, the rookie jersey autos that were live in the box.  These are box hits (in a 12 box case), which shows the number that were redemptions. (#SadFace) Most of these would have been hits to celebrate back in 2013, especially the EJ Manuel.  At least it’s a fun time capsule back to a few years ago.

Now to the cards that apparently only come around once a case.  The base set has blue, red and gold parallels, with the gold numbered out of 25.  While his playing days may also be numbered, I was happy with this gold pull.

I pulled one vet auto, also numbered out of 25.  Again with the look-back to three years ago, Kaepernick was a hot commodity in the hobby.  Now he’s fighting with Blaine Gabbert to sit for whole games instead of just the anthem.  (Yes I know the pic is upside-down.  Pardon my politics, but I’m protesting him.  There is an ironic red, white and blue motif to this card, though.)

Like the Back to the Future movies, these last two cards take us even deeper into the past.  These were the two cards I mentioned in part 1 of this post that came from the same box in this case.  Really picked it up out of a lull in the case in a big way!  First off, the best of the Stitches in Time cards – a quad patch relic of four guys who combined for over 43,000 career rushing yards.  (That’s over 24 miles!)Once again /25, this would be hands-down my favorite card from this case, except that about two packs later…

…this bespectacled beauty burst forth from behind some base cards! (#Alliteration)  Hall of Fame QB, crucial member of the only perfect team in league history, and a guy who played well on Thanksgiving in 1977.  As I turned the card over to see exactly how well he had played in that game, a small, silver stamp caught my eye.WHAT?!?! WHOA! YESSSSS!!!! (I actually said these things in all caps, of course.)  Then I just sat and stared at the card for a minute.  It’s not the first one-of-one I’ve pulled, but definitely the best.  I love the ornate script “One of One,” too.  What I read in those three shiny words is not just “Meh, there’s only one of these,” but rather (in a fancy British accident), “Our congratulations on having acquired the sole and only specimen of this particular piece to have been brought into existence! Good show, good show!”


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2013 Totally Certified: My 1st Case! (Part 1)

This is another one to add to my hobby baby book – my very first time busting an entire case of cards.  It came just a few short decades after my first box of cards, too!  I had been watching this product on clearance from Dave and Adam’s website, thinking about buying a few boxes, when it dawned on me – I should just spring for an entire case!  This was an exhilarating sight for me when it showed up:

Carefully cutting open the “Panini” tape revealed the top two of the stack of twelve whole boxes, each with six packs and a hit per pack.  72 total hits awaited me, and I was eager to see each and every one.  My wife jumped right in to help open them, too! 🙂

Busting a whole case is definitely a rush, but it can get just the tiniest bit monotonous.  If you go a box or two without a big hit, or where the box hit is a redemption, some of the excitement wanes.  I hit this point about halfway through, but then I opened a box (maybe box 8 or 9) that completely blew my mind! More on that one in part 2 of this post, though.  

The basic hit in this set is the vet jersey card.  Including parallels, I picked up two per box.  Here are the base red ones.  A couple pretty big names with Romo and Dalton, and all around solid players. I did get one dupe, though.The parallels were fairly exciting, with two golds and a few blue ones.  Another Romo in the blue.  The golds are nice, especially the Mathews patch.  I’m disappointed that the Kerrigan was a plain white swatch, even if it’s from a jersey number.

There were also rookie jersey cards.  This class has turned out to be pretty weak, but back in 2013, at least the top three would have been pretty decent ones.

The last category of jersey cards are the “Stitches in Time” cards.  These are some of my favorites in Totally Certified. There are single, dual and quad jersey cards of notable players.  The duals and quads usually have some connection between the players – same team, same college, or just same position.  Pulled a couple pretty good ones here, in my opinion. I did pull a quad (relic, not leg injury), but that will be in part 2.

Tune in next time to see the autos and the biggest hits of this case!


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NFL HOF Week: 1994 Pinnacle “Canton Bound” Set

I don’t remember how or when I got this set, but it was in my original collecting days back in the mid-1990’s.  None of these players were in the Hall of Fame at the time, of course, and it can be a bold claim to say that even the best players at any given time will one day be inducted.  This set, though, has a pretty amazing track record.  More on that later, though.  First off, a look at the card design and a guy who was clearly one of the best from the moment he stepped on the field.
Each card features a solid action shot that focuses on the subject player. The player’s name and the company logo highlight the front with a little gold foil.  The “Canton Bound” bottom border is a little cheeseball, but this was 1994, after all.  The back features a portrait they had to squeeze into the left side, another action shot, and the requisite stats and info on the player.  In keeping with the 90’s cheesy design cues, the second letter of the player’s name is a different case and color, because, again, 1994.  Overall, a pretty typical design for the time.  What really distinguishes this set, though, is the checklist.

When they called these guys future HOF’ers, they pretty much nailed it!  Montana, Rice, Emmitt, Barry, BRUUUUCE, Reggie…  Of the 25 players, 21 now have busts in Canton, and not all were sure things in 1994.  Bettis had only one year under his belt, Seau and Kennedy were still in the fairly early stages of their careers, and Steve Young had really only been an established star for a few seasons.  

Only one player in this set never really belonged in the discussion.  Foster had just one spectacular year, and 1994 was his last season.  Sterling Sharpe’s career ending injury might have also ended his HOF chances, but he got high praise from his brother Shannon (HOF Class of 2011), who said “I’m the only pro football player that’s in the Hall of Fame, and the second best player in my own family.”  A few more years as Brett Favre’s top receiver would probably have done the trick!  Simms has consistently been a nominee, and will likely get a look from the old-guys committee, much like Ken Stabler did this year.  Even Rison looked like he could be one of the greats before a year in Cleveland seemed to derail him.  That Packers Super Bowl ring he’s got isn’t a bad consolation prize though!

Overall, this set is one I just keep coming back to.  At least one of these guys was inducted into the Hall of Fame every year from 2002 until 2012, and while I wasn’t actively collecting most of that time, I’d still pull out this binder and think “Yup, there’s another one!”

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2014 UD Conference Greats (Card Show Box 1!)

I had several requests to see what I actually pulled from my card show boxes, so here’s the first!  This product features SEC players from their college days and a couple select coaches.  The main reason I picked up this box is that some woman I’m married to is a big Tennessee fan…  (I love you, baby!)  She is particularly fond of some QB who played there, and he was well represented in this box.  More on that in a minute, though.  First, some notable base and parallels (including a few 90’s players!):


There are also short print cards with foil backgrounds. 


As I mentioned, plenty of Vols cards, including the de facto mayor of Knoxville. 

There are three hits per box with at least one auto.  Don’t know much about Stoerner, but the gold auto looks great, even on a sticker.  Lorenzen is a veritable folk hero, too!  (I’ll leave the fat jokes alone, though this was the thickest card in the box.)


Each box also has a jumbo box topper, which is pretty cool, but an awkward size.  Basically a booklet, but one flat piece.  Some are even autographs and count as a bonus hit, like this: 


I didn’t recognize that name at all, until I pulled this card:


Chris Davis, it turns out, was the guy who returned the ill-advised long FG attempt by ‘Bama for the stunning, Saban-humbling, game-stealing TD in the 2013 Iron Bowl.  That really took the jumbo auto to a whole new level – a bonus hit featuring the guy who pulled off a play that was the stuff of college football legend!  This card is also the perfect demonstration of what’s great about this set – celebrating the brief, unforgettable careers of the best to play the college game. 



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1995 Fleer Metal

The mid-1990’s spawned a number of groundbreaking advances in football cards, and 1995 Fleer Metal represents one of my favorites – foil etched cards! Every card in this set features an etched foil background on the front behind the player photo. The patterns and textures created by this technique give a striking sense of depth to these flat pieces of cardboard. As you can see from the pictures below, the designers really had a field day with all the different foil designs in the base set, too. (My scanner didn’t pick up the designs very well, so I had to go back to using the trusty iPhone camera.)
Several of the cards are even split between two different foil designs.IMG_9664
The radial patterns centered around the football are my favorites.IMG_9670IMG_9669
Heck, even the checklist card I pulled is pretty cool! (The scanner and iPhone had to tag team this one to really get the full effect.)IMG_9672
While the base set is striking in and of itself, there are a couple of inserts to compliment it. What would a “metal” themed set be, after all, without a little silver and gold? It also doesn’t hurt that I got a couple of Hall of Famers, including long-time snub Tim Brown, who will finally be inducted this year. IMG_9676IMG_9585


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1996 Topps Laser

This product features the most intricate, delicate “die-cut” cards you’ll ever see. I put “die-cut” in quotes because the designs on these cards were actually laser cut, hence the name of the product. (Cards made with frickin’ lasers!) Either way, it’s a terrible shame this product was one-and-done, because these cards are amazing!

The base cards feature a finely detailed, laser cut foil section along one side with the product name, the team name, and the player name, as well as a saw tooth pattern on the edge. NFC cards have gold foil, while AFC players have silver foil on their cards.

My favorite base cards from the five packs I opened are the two Green Bay players and two HOF’ers shown below.

I also pulled a Draft Picks insert card, which has its own remarkable laser cut pattern. I was almost afraid to handle this card for fear of bending one of the minutely sculpted pieces!

Here, because I am so in awe of it, are two more views of this card showing off the holofoil and a silhouette view. Enjoy!


Thanks to @JamminJDCards for hooking me up with a great deal on these packs!


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1990 Score – The RB’s

As promised in my 1990 Score post, here are my favorite action shots of RB’s from this set.

The running backs (and fullbacks!) are right in the middle of the action in the 1990 Score football set. They start by taking a handoff and looking to hit the hole:
Where there’s room to run, these guys are charging down the field:
You’ve got to make that one guy miss:
Bo knows, though, that sometimes you just get stuck in traffic:
You’re gonna get dirty at this position, but every now and then, you get to hit back, too!

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1990 Score – The QB’s

As promised in my 1990 Score post, here are the first of my favorite action shots from this set. I’ll start with the QB’s.

Flipping through some modern football sets might lead you to believe that all an NFL quarterback does is stand stoically in the pocket with the ball in his hands and a concerned look on his face. The 1990 Score set gives us a little more insight on what it’s like to be a QB.

2015/01/img_9442.jpgDrop backs, hand offs, and pitches are a pretty standard part of the job description.

2015/01/img_9441.jpgCapably throwing the football is the thing for which these guys get paid the big bucks, though. You have to get your whole body into it to really rocket one down the field!

2015/01/img_9444.jpgIn the pocket, however, time to throw can be a rare and fleeting luxury. If you can’t get rid of the ball, you’ll probably want to tuck it and run! (Don’t forget the importance of ball security, either. Looking at you, Elway!)

2015/01/img_9443.jpgLastly, remember that the way you survey the field is important. What’s behind the facemask helps portray a command of the game and strike fear into your foes. There’s also the “I hope this works!” face. Then there’s what we’ll call, well, “Harbaugh face.”

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1990 Score – The Value of “Junk Wax”

The 1990 set was just the second year of Score football (following up the legendary 1989 set), but it is truly the definition of “junk wax.” The 660-card boxed set can be had for less than $10 on eBay, almost 25 years after it was released. The main set takes a big hit because the top Score rookie card from 1990, Emmitt Smith, was included in a separate, supplemental set. Still, commons from this set are valued, at best, as filler material for shipping other cards.

Inexpensive as it may be, though, 1990 Score certainly has some charm for a true 90’s collector. The simple design of the base cards is colorful but not flashy or gimmicky, and it focuses attention on the photograph on the card. Good thing, too, as many of the photos on the cards are spectacular! From the classic, full-extension catch by a receiver, to a kicker mid-stroke on a field goal attempt, there are great action shots of every position. Some of my personal favorites are the gritty, in-the-trenches shots showing the big guys on the line battling it out. This set features so much great photography, in fact, that I’m going to have to include it all in a series of separate posts to follow this one!

The 1990 Score set has several other fun elements that make it worth its weight in, well, cardboard. The checklist is extensive; they found room for dozens of punters, for example. (Find me a dozen cards of punters from the last ten years!) [NOTE: Actually counting these shows there are 17 punter cards in this set.]

There are also some notable rookies not named Emmitt who did make the original set. Kennedy is a Hall-of-Famer, Seau will be soon, Butler invented the beloved “Lambeau Leap,” and the others went on to pretty successful careers, as well. (George didn’t really live up to his top pick status, but he did play 12 seasons in the NFL.)

I’m a big fan of the HOF class subset. It’s a shame modern sets don’t do more to celebrate the Hall of Fame class each year.

1990 Score also has some other entertaining subsets featuring big names – Hot Gun QB’s featuring Instagram-worthy cloud backgrounds, Ground Force RB’s with lightning flashing dramatically behind them, Rocket Men WR’s apparently running on cartoon fields (at night!), and my favorite – Crunch Crew defenders with comic book action words!

Lastly, the set features two cards I find to be particularly awesome – one because I’m a Packers fan and the other because I love a good, cheap pun. “Moon,” hehehe.


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