Cheap Wax Wednesday Box Breaks: 1997 Playoff First and Ten Football

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1997 Playoff First and Ten Football features one of the most generic boxes in the history of cards. Okay, maybe not quite that bad, but for the late 1990s, this box was oddly simple.

As far as the set goes, the base checklist featured 250 cards. Included in the base set are 32 rookies that were pictures in their college uniforms or NFL workout clothes. In addition to the base set, there is parallel set called Kickoff. These parallels were colored lucite (plastic), and have held up over the last 25 years.

Playoff tried something new in a couple of their 1997, debuting Chip Shots. What are Chip Shots? They are basically light plastic poker chips featuring players on the face. They were so excited about them that they featured them in two releases, First and Ten, and Absolute Beginnings. Collectors didn’t love them. The reaction was bad enough that Playoff scrapped them after one season. 

The other inserts are not easy pulls. The easiest to find, Hot Pursuit, is found just once in every five boxes. Xtra Point are even more difficult, found just once in every 12 box case. If that wasn’t tough enough, there are also Xtra Point Autographs to chase. The autograph checklist featured just two players, Tony Banks and Terrell Davis. They land 1:14,454 packs. 

1997 Playoff First and Ten Football Box Break

Cards per pack: 9 + 1 Chip Shot
Packs per box: 36
Price paid: $35

Shop for 1997 Playoff First and Ten Football boxes on eBay.

Pack 1 highlights:

Errict Rhett, Vinny Testaverde, Dan Marino, Brent Jones & Jerome Bettis Chip Shot (one per pack)

Testaverde’s best NFL season came in 1998 when he threw 29 touchdown passes (and just seven interceptions) for the Jets. 

Pack 2:

John Elway, Isaac Bruce, Curtis Martin, Jim Harbaugh, Steve Young Hot Pursuit (1:180 packs) & Keyshawn Johnson Chip Shot

Pack 3:

Drew Bledsoe, Bruce Smith, Michael Irvin & Warren Moon Chip Shot

Pack 4:

Rich Gannon, Antonio Freeman & Todd Collins Chip Shot

Pack 5:

Steve Young, Tony Gonzalez RC, Brett Favre & Jeff Graham Chip Shot

Tony Gonzalez was drafted 13th overall by the Chiefs. He went on to be selected to 14 Pro Bowls and is arguably the best tight end in the history of football. 

Pack 6:

Jake Plummer RC, Jeff George, Rodney Hampton, Johnnie Morton & Terance Mathis Chip Shot

Pack 7:

J.J. Stokes & Gus Frerotte Chip Shot

Pack 8:

Reggie White, Ed McCaffrey, Jimmy Smith & Rodney Peete Chip Shot

Pack 9:

Zach Thomas, Dan Marino, Kevin Greene, Ricky Watters, Steve Young Kickoff (1:9 packs) & Larry Centers Chip Shot

Zach Thomas is a five-time All-Pro and twice led the NFL in tackles. 

Pack 10:

Garrison Hearst, Errict Rhett, John Elway, Darren Woodson & Darnell Autry Chip Shot

Pack 11:

Qadry Ismail, Mike Alstott, Derrick Thomas, Corey Dillon RC, Jerry Rice & Warrick Dunn Chip Shot

Pack 12:

Tiki Barber RC, Simeon Rice, Charlie Garner & Marcus Allen Chip Shot

Pack 13:

Drew Bledsoe, Terry Kirby & Curtis Martin Chip Shot

Running back Terry Kirby finished his career with more receiving yards (3,222) than rushing yards (2,875). 

Pack 14:

Cris Carter, Keyshawn Johnson, Kerry Collins, Rashaan Salaam & Cris Carter Chip Shot

Pack 15:

Joey Galloway, Jake Reed & Larry Centers Chip Shot

Pack 16:

Emmitt Smith, Orlando Pace RC, Mark Brunell, Jamal Anderson & Jim Harbaugh Chip Shot

Pack 17:

Ken Norton, Steve Atwater, Terry Glenn, Eddie George & Keenan McCardell Chip Shot

Hall of Fame safety Steve Atwater played just 11 NFL seasons, making the Pro Bowl eight times. 

Pack 18:

Terry Allen, Terrell Owens, Herschel Walker, Deion Sanders, Junior Seau & Will Blackwell Chip Shot

Pack 19:

Troy Aikman, Ike Hilliard RC, Terrell Davis & Edgar Bennett Chip Shot

Pack 20:

Keenan McCardell, Napoleon Kaufman & Leeland McElroy Chip Shot

Pack 21:

Trent Dilfer, Marshall Faulk, Warren Moon & Antonio Freeman Chip Shot

Warren Moon was an absolute gunslinger! He finished his long career just 675 passing yards shy of 50,000. That’s good enough for 13th all-time. 

Pack 22:

Jerome Bettis, Thurman Thomas, Warrick Dunn RC, Amani Toomer & Brad Johnson Chip Shot

Pack 23:

Herman Moore, Robert Smith Kickoff (1:9 packs) & Bryant Westbrook Chip Shot

Pack 24:

Tim Brown, Anthony Miller, Andre Reed & Terry Glenn Chip Shot

Pack 25:

Marvin Harrison, Eric Moulds, Michael Irvin & Ike Hilliard Chip Shot

Eric Moulds holds the NFL record for most receiving yards without hitting 10,000. That is a thing, right? He finished his career with 9,995. 

Pack 26:

Vinny Testaverde, Curtis Martin, Isaac Bruce, Brett Favre, Jim Harbaugh, Steve Young & Adrian Murrell Chip Shot

Pack 27:

Bruce Smith, Brent Jones & Tim Biakabutuka Chip Shot

Pack 28:

Ben Coates, Barry Sanders, Shannon Sharpe, Steve McNair, Daryl Johnston & Ki-Jana Carter Chip Shot

Pack 29:

Eric Metcalf, Barry Sanders & Lake Dawson Chip Shot

Eric Metcalf broke the 1,000 kickoff return yards mark three times in his career. Just one player did this in 2022. Packers return man Keisean Nixon had 1,009 kickoff return yards. 

Pack 30:

Dorsey Levens, Greg Hill Kickoff (1:9 packs) & Rodney Hampton Chip Shot

Pack 31:

Rich Gannon, Terance Mathis, Tony Gonzalez RC & Thurman Thomas Chip Shot

Pack 32:

Eric Metcalf, Jeff Blake & Drew Bledsoe Chip Shot

Pack 33:

Carl Pickens & Pickens Chip Shot

Pickens won the 1992 Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. He did so while catching just 26 passes for 326 yards and one touchdown. 

Pack 34:

Kordell Stewart, Marcus Allen, Lawrence Phillips & Deion Sanders Chip Shot

Pack 35:

Steve McNair, Antonio Freeman, Shannon Sharpe, Sam Gash Kickoff (1:9 packs) & Jeff Blake Chip Shot

Pack 36:

Ben Coates, Kordell Stewart, Lawrence Phillips & Jeff Graham Chip Shot

Lastly, the Brett Favre card back. The generic design elements continue on the backs as well. 

I feel like they could have done a lot more with 1997 Playoff First and Ten Football. The base design isn’t terrible and the bright colors certainly help. But it seems like they put more effort into the Chip Shots rather than the actual cards.

The Hot Pursuit inserts are great. I was lucky enough to pull the Steve Young card. However, the inserts are extremely tough pulls. If they could have thrown some more, especially if they used more of that Kickoff parallel lucite, this could have been a really nice release.

This one cost just $1 per pack, which certainly makes up for the mostly simple set. Now, what do I do with these chips?

Shop for 1997 Playoff First and Ten Football cards on:

Want more installments of Shane Salmonson’s Cheap Wax Wednesday? Check out his other breaks in the archives.

When you click on links to various merchants on this site, like eBay, and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission.

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