Product: 2014 Panini Certified hobby box
Break Date: September 17, 2014
Hit Breakdown: One autograph plus three additional autograph or memorabilia cards
Summary: A few months back I decided to walk away from collecting football cards. I was tired of investing in running backs that lose their jobs, QBs that never pan out, and wide receivers that can't catch passes.
So, I started unloading all of my football cards, focusing any football I had on my Gator alum PC (which I am going to keep adding to).
Panini runs regular "scavenger hunts" on their blog, though, and the prize is generally a box of a new product - could be baseball, basketball, hockey, or yes - football. And, I was fortunate enough to win one of these contest. The prize? A box of 2014 Certified.
Sure enough, a week after being notified that I won, a FedEx box was on my doorstep with a fresh box of Certified, so I got to opening.
The base set's quite nice – a clean design and good photography. But, anyone who collects these days is basically chasing the hits, and there were supposed to be four (auto/jersey cards) in the box, per Panini's site:
"Every box of 2014 Certified Football will deliver one Freshman Fabric Autograph Rookie, three additional autograph or memorabilia cards, three Rookie Cards, four Mirror parallels, and four additional inserts."
Upon opening the box I noticed a little slip of paper that informed me that some of the Freshman Fabric cards weren't inserted, and instead I may find a redemption for Panini's new points program. And, that's what I received - a 250-point card; in the end, it may not be as exciting as the rush of pulling a sweet patch auto, but it also gives the collector the flexibility to choose their own hit, which I guess is nice.
The other three hits turned out to be solid enough - a CJ Mosley /25 auto (featuring one of the laziest autographs I've seen in a while), an Andrew Luck jersey (numbered to /199), and an Andre Williams rookie jersey (numbered /599).
However, from here, things get murky. There should have been three rookie cards, which there were. There should have been four mirror parallels, and there were two for sure: the red Trent Richardson and Marcus Smith. There should have been four inserts, and there was definitely a Russell Wilson Pro Bowl Bound insert in there and a Retro Anthony Barr.
But, then there were two additional chase cards - a blue Deion Sanders (/99) and a Rookie Retro Red Derek Carr (/249). I can't quite tell if these count towards the Mirror parallel tally, or the insert tally, or both. If it is indeed both, then they have poorly worded their web site, because the way it reads, I expect that there should have been additional cards to look out for, not cards that count towards two categories.
My other gripe is that the condition on a few of the chase cards was less than great. The foil on the red Marcus Smith was peeling when it came out of the pack, and the Deion and Luck jersey card both have scratches down the front.
At the end of the day, though, who am I to complain about a free box? I had a great time opening it, and overall, the product is a decent mid-range product. I'd have like to have gotten a huge hit, and the low-numbered Mosley may turn out to be one, but he's a defensive player so the ceiling on value is limited by that fact on its own. But, it's a cool card, as is the Luck jersey card.
I'd probably grade this break out a bit lower, but the 250 point card may turn into something – while it wasn't a 400 point card, it could have been a 100 point card, so that's a win there I guess.
But, thanks to Panini for the box, and keep those scavenger hunts coming!
Grade for the product: B-
Grade for the break: B-
Panini Reward Points: 250 Points
Certified Potential Mirror Autographs Gold /25: CJ Mosley
Mirror Materials /199: Andrew Luck
New Generation /599: Andre Williams
Blue /99: Deion Sanders Immortals
Red /249: Trent Richardson, Marcus Smith (RC)
Rookie Retro Red /249: Derek Carr
Rookie Retro: Anthony Barr
Rookie /999: Lache Seastrunk, David Fales, Jackson JeffcoatPro Bowl Bound: Russell Wilson