I managed to get my grubby paws on an early box of 2010 Classics Football earlier today. Stay tuned tomorrow for another riveting episode of Box Busters. Until then, here are some random observations — and an interest-piquing preview gallery — from one box.
* While Classics’ overall base design likely won’t overwhelm you, the looks of Membership, Team Colors and Flashback Fabrics probably will. The attention to detail on Membership will make you think your card has a crease on it.
* Flashback Fabrics, the insert provides a nice, tidy opportunity to incorporate dated game-worn inventory without looking way out of place. The Terrell Owens we pulled included a rather juicy patch from one of TO’s old Eagles jerseys; seems like forever ago that Owens was flying high in Philly.
* Many of the cards in this set seem particularly susceptible to chipping. Handle with care.
* All four RCs and both Significant Signatures autographed parallels feature photography of the respective rookies in their NFL uniforms. That’s a good thing.
* The presence of a sticker autograph on Jermaine Gresham‘s Significant Signatures parallel (#’d out of 199 as opposed to Chris Cook‘s that’s #’d out of 499) proves there are limits — both contractually and in the way of time constraints — on just how many autographs manufacturers can obtain at the NFL Players Rookie Premiere.
* Classic Quads once again looks to be a fertile opportunity for team collectors. The Jets card we pulled included 1990s stalwarts Boomer Esiason, Wayne Chrebet, Keyshawn Johnson and Curtis Martin.
* Much like Upper Deck’s cross-brand America’s Team insert in 2009, Panini’s multiple 2010 inserts devoted to the Dallas Cowboys‘ 50th anniversary team are sure to be in high demand all season long.
* Pre-release literature for Classics guaranteed four auto/mem hits per box with at least one of those being an autograph. This particular box delivered two autographs and two memorabilia cards.
* Some folks will bemoan Classics’ year-in, year-out similarity; but it’s that commitment to the brand — padded with just the slightest tweaks — that many diehard Donruss/Panini collectors have come to appreciate and expect. There are some products that require massive overhauls from one year to the next. Classics is not one of them.
* OK, I’ll admit it: I happened to like the neon green alternate jersey the Seahawks unveiled last season. Apparently, someone selecting Panini’s photos is with me. I came across two base cards — John Carlson and Nate Burleson — featuring the loudly hued spectacle.
* Look, I know it’s part of the “throwback” design scheme, but giving Junior Seau the sepiatone treatment on his Legends card just seems . . . wrong.
Tracy Hackler is the editorial director for Beckett Media. Have a comment or question? Send an e-mail to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.