2016 Donruss Football Goes Back to 1987, a Galaxy Far, Far Away and All Points in Between



By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

Nostalgia runs deep in 2016 Donruss Football. Like other recent Donruss sets, it has a foot firmly in the past — even in areas where Donruss hasn’t necessarily gone in football. Dominators, Fans of the Game and The Rookies are just some of the names from the brand’s past making a comeback. The base set is large and the inserts plentiful. Each hobby box comes with both an autograph and a memorabilia card.

The base design is similar to the ones used in 2016 Donruss Baseball and 2015-16 Donruss Basketball mixed with elements of the brand’s early days. It looks like something that might have sprung up if the 1980s never ended, which is aimed to appeal to the modern-throwback crowd. The base set’s checklist features a total of 400 cards including brand staples Rated Rookies and Gridiron Kings. In the case of the rookies, there’s one per hobby pack.

Stat Line cards are among the parallels in 2016 Donruss Football. Parallels combine to land 1:4 packs.

The celebrity-minded Fans of the Game line returns for the first time since 2014 Panini Prizm World Cup. However, that was even a bit of a departure for the line as it highlighted Andrew Luck and Kobe Bryant. 2013-14 Crown Royale Hockey was the last time it was seen with actors and other pop culture figures. For 2016 Donruss Football, Panini is including Daisy Ridley, Megan Fox, Al Pacino and others. Besides regular insert versions that are one per hobby box, there are randomly inserted autographed versions as well.

Panini continues to give a little added attention to the recently retired Peyton Manning. First it was the Peyton Manning Collection autographs and memorabilia cards in 2016 Panini Certified Football. Here there are a pair of additional insert themes, Peyton Manning Tribute (1:6 packs) and Peyton Manning Top Targets (1:12) featuring some of the receivers he worked with over the course of his career. Both of these have signed versions as well.

Rookie Phenom is a set of autographed memorabilia cards highlighting such key draft picks as Carson Wentz, Ezekiel Elliott and Jared Goff.

Among the notable memorabilia inserts is Passing the Torch. Normally the line is known for double-sided autographs featuring two generations of players. Here, it’s the same idea but with swatches. Prime parallels have as few as 25 copies.

1987 Donruss Classics is exclusive to hobby packs. The cards take on the same general design as 1987 Donruss Baseball, which was notable for its black borders. These fall three per box.

When you combine all the inserts, including autographs and memorabilia cards, there are three per pack. Some of the other basic insert lines are Elite Series, Elite Series Rookies, The Rookies and Legends of the Fall. Many of these come with autographed versions as well. Other signed cards come in the form of Signature Marks and Super Bowl Signatures.

2016 Donruss Football at a glance:

Packs per box: 24
Cards per pack: 10
Boxes per case: 18
Set size: 400 cards
Release date: August 3, 2016

What to expect in a hobby box:

• Autographs – 1
• Memorabilia Cards – 1
• 1987 Classics Inserts – 3
• All-Pros Inserts – 3
• All-Time Gridiron Kings Inserts – 4
• Dominators Inserts – 2
• Elite Series Inserts – 1
• Elite Series Rookies Inserts – 1
• Enshrined Inserts – 1
• Fans of the Game Inserts – 1
• League Leaders Inserts – 3
• Legends of the Fall Inserts – 3
• Peyton Manning Top Targets Inserts – 2
• Peyton Manning Tribute Inserts – 4
• Production Line Hits Inserts – 2
• Production Line Touchdowns Inserts – 3
• Production Line Yardage Inserts – 3
• The Rookies Inserts – 2
• Gridiron Kings – 3
• Additional Inserts – 3
• Parallels – 6

Comments? Questions? Contact Ryan Cracknell on Twitter @tradercracks.


Ryan Cracknell

A collector for much of his life, Ryan focuses primarily on building sets, Montreal Expos and interesting cards. He's also got one of the most comprehensive collections of John Jaha cards in existence (not that there are a lot of them). Got a question, story idea or want to get in touch? You can reach him by email and through Twitter @tradercracks.

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  1. Matt 18 May, 2016 at 19:11

    So of the 400 card base set there are two subsets, Rated Rookies and Gridiron Kings correct? A majority of the 400 card set will be your standard base cards? I really hope so, Panini needs bigger base sets like this.

    • Ryan Cracknell 19 May, 2016 at 10:00

      The description was a little vague, but it definitely looks to be focused on players versus subsets. Even the Rated Rookies are their regular cards, which I am guessing will be the biggest subset.

  2. Erik Tewey 20 May, 2016 at 10:48

    Panini can’t even came up with a new design..they use 1980 and 90’s designs really ? Come up with something new ?
    We seen these designs before..It’s not the 80′ or 90’s..This product is like those old big cell phone vs today’s i Phone..Get a clue Panini Old designs same old bad photos.

  3. Mario Bouchard 26 June, 2016 at 19:26

    CARDS and mny rookies in their new uniform.

  4. Nick Hoffman 6 August, 2016 at 14:10

    I just pulled a Goff auto jersey card numbered to 10 out of these packs. Pretty cool. Wish it was Wentz though

  5. John Barsuglia 24 August, 2016 at 02:57

    I was hoping there was some sort of price guide. I got theses cards already they are really nice cards. They give you what they say I have bought 2 boxes so far. Got lots of good rookies. Got 2 jersey cards. And some really good hall of fame players. Special cards. And the special Peyton Manning cards. You will really like these cards If you get them. I recamend you do.

  6. John Barsuglia 24 August, 2016 at 03:08

    Sorry Eric tewey. I disagree I like the older look. That’s what makes them nice. Especially when u star grabbing cards like. Joe Namath, gayle Sayers, Archie manning, you get my point right.

  7. John Barsuglia 24 August, 2016 at 03:26

    I e real nice got the Wentz rookie card with jersey. Also some real good rookies. Prescott, Elliot, Hardgraves 111. Real nice mix. I hope to get another box today. I wish I get th autograph card today.????

  8. Tim 6 October, 2016 at 20:42

    I got a white square card in one of the packs. Holding it up to light it looks like a negative inside. Does anyone know what this is?

    • Ryan Cracknell 7 October, 2016 at 12:28

      Perhaps a security card that would buzz if you walked out of the store without it being demagnetized.

  9. Brian Masterson 16 January, 2017 at 13:13

    @Tim…late response but that’s probably a printing plate. You should easily be able to see the players name. If it’s someone ‘good’ that could be worth some serious cheese.

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