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A down and dirty Playbook preview from Panini

Posted Jul 9, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo

Updated Jul 9, 2013 at 08:03 PM

Panini America is promising an overhaul of its Playbook football product, which will be released in early October. It won’t be pretty. In fact, some of the changes will be down and dirty.

Actually, Down & Dirty will be one of the more intriguing booklets Panini will be releasing. Player uniform swatches will be unwashed, or will contain grass stains or dirt, and the effect could be rather interesting.

Question: If you send a Down & Dirty booklet to be graded, can it ever be considered mint if it’s dirty or smudged? Just wondering. Guess it gives new meaning to the observation that someone owns “a filthy card.”

This year marks the third edition of Playbook football, and there are definitely some new — and cleaner — twists. Panini is promising that every four-card pack will contain four autograph or memorabilia cards. There will be two booklet cards — with at least one autographed — an additional autograph card, and one other hit.

The Rookie-Drawn Play booklet is an interesting idea that also was used in 2012 Topps Supreme. Each of the 40 rookies who attended the 2013 NFLPA rookie premiere sketched out their favorite play on one side of the booklet and then put their names on it, to paraphrase Herman Edwards. Another booklet features the same 40 rookies, with player die-cuts along with a pair of memorabilia swatches and an autograph. There is a nice silhouette effect, too.

Veterans also have their place in this set, with autographed booklets from current stars. There also will be 1/1 autographed printing plates, NFL Shield and Nike swoosh versions.

I remember taking the collar very well during my youth baseball days. Had a few of those 0-fers. But Panini is showcasing the collars of players in its Flywire booklets. These are going to be 1/1 cards and will be taken from game-worn jerseys. And while Panini’s news release is gushing with excitement for this particular type of booklet, I believe there are far nicer designs in the set. The collar is cut up across three panels of the card, and an image of the player seems to be peeking over the left-hand panel.

An example of a booklet that would be more appealing to me than the Flywire would be the Playbook Coaches Signature booklets. These cards will feature autographs from some of the NFL’s most influential coaches. Panini does not say if there will be cut signatures here, but if we’re talking influential coaches, I’d have to believe you include Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry, Bill Walsh, Paul Brown and George Halas. Thankfully, coaches like Don Shula, Chuck Noll, Bill Parcells, John Madden, Mike Holmgren and Tony Dungy are still with us. Would Bill Belichick have a signed card? That would be interesting.

I am not privy to the coaches Panini is using, but those are my choices.

Base signature cards will include gold, green and black versions.

The 2013 version of Playbook football has the potential of some outstanding cards, and while it is certain to be pricey, the reward factor should be quite high.



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