Second Look: 1996 Topps Chrome Football

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1996 was quite the year of events.

Dolly the Sheep became the first mammal to have been cloned from an adult somatic cell. The Centennial of the Olympics was celebrated in Atlanta and a lot of us were into the dance craze known as the Macarena. Which to this day, I still cannot do.

But one thing a lot of us forget about was that 1996 introduced us to Topps Chrome, which changed the hobby landscape as we know it.

It seems like today almost every product is chromed or has been chromed or is being thought about being chromed. But we forget about the origin of the product that we all have come to know so well.

I was first introduced to Topps Chrome in 1996 when I purchased some football packs. Each pack was $3.99 and came with four cards per pack. Without product previews or the power of the internet, you really didn’t know much about the products until you opened them. So, every product was a surprise not knowing what to expect.

We are spoiled in today’s times.

When I opened my packs of 1996 Topps Chrome Football, I felt instantly gratified. Despite it just being a shinier, much smaller sized set version of 1996 Topps Football, I was hooked.

The base set consists of 165 cards: 149 veterans, just 15 rookies and one checklist.

The veteran base includes stars such as Emmitt Smith, John Elway, Steve Young and Dan Marino. The 1000 and 3000 Yard Club subsets are just like their base Topps set counterparts. The rookie portion had a few strong names to chase, such as Marvin Harrison, as well as should-be Hall Of Famers Eddie George, Keyshawn Johnson and Simeon Rice.

There were also a few rookies that we knew the names of, hoping they would blossom into stars. Names like Eddie Kennison, Alex Van Dyke, Duance Clemens and Lawrence Phillips. Alas, they didn’t pan out.

I’ve gotten this far with this impressive product and haven’t even whispered the word, “Refractor” yet. Well, 1996 Topps Chrome Football had those, too. They fall 1:12 packs meaning you get two per box and the only color available is base silver. Not the 12 per box and 33 different parallels we see today.

Overall, it was a strong start to the Topps Chrome line, and it only blossomed from there. I plan to also take a Second Look at a few other Topps Chrome sets and insert sets of the 90’s as well, as I think we tend to overlook them.

I started with this one since, to me, it’s iconic. Since its launch, the brand has become a hobby phenomenon.

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