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Bob D’Angelo

Bob is a longtime member of the Florida sports media, having served as a reporter and copy editor for more than 30 years. His true sports passion, however, is the history of the various games, exhibited by his in-depth book reviews and hobby of collecting cards and other sports memorabilia. He blogs for on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.

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Collect call: 2012 Elite Football

Posted Aug 2, 2012 by Bob D'Angelo

Updated Aug 3, 2012 at 12:29 AM

Panini America is beginning to hit its stride in its football product. Based upon what I saw in its new Elite Football product, there are plenty of pleasant surprises.

I mean, when the second pack you open yields a 1/1 autographed printing plate, well, it’s hard not to get excited. That’s what I pulled — a yellow plate for card No. 169, Arizona rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley. It’s autographed, and it’s a 1/1.

And it’s a great way to start when you open a box.
Elite promises an average of two autographs and two relic cards per hobby box, and the box I opened met that quota. In addition to the Lindley, there was a Justin Blackmon autograph card from the Elite Series Rookie insert set, numbered to 99.

The two relic cards were a Down and Distance game-used insert for Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, numbered to 299; and a New Breed insert swatch of Dolphins rookie tight end Michael Egnew, numbered to 399.

The sizzle cards are great, but Elite is a good product for set builders, too. A hobby box contains 20 packs, with five cards to a pack. The collation was very good, as I pulled 85 cards from the base set of 100. On the negative side, there were three doubles.
In addition to the base, there are 100 rookies cards — but these will be harder to get.  A typical hobby box will give a collector four rookies, and the box I opened was right on target. Rookie cards will be numbered to 999 or less; three of the rookies I pulled were 999s, while the fourth one was numbered to 799.
Foil is the major player in this set. The base cards have a silver foil background, while the rookies have a black background. If shiny cards are your thing, then you will be in heaven.

There are several other inserts besides the ones named: there was one Hit List, Prime Numbers and Craftsmen insert in the box I opened, plus a die-cut card of Reggie Bush numbered to 78. Prime Numbers displays the statistic in interesting fashion, as the number is made up of tiny holes.

My daughter watched me open this set, and the card that she found most attractive was the acetate-style Hard Hats insert. A player and his team’s helmet are superimposed against a clear background. The card was numbered to 399 and featured the Colts’ Vick Ballard. My daughter was so excited to see this card; she reacted as if I’d bought her tickets to a One Direction concert (If you have a teenage daughter, you will get that reference).

Elite has certainly been a good product for Panini this year. In every sport it’s been issued in, it has delivered some nice cards and excellent inserts and hot cards.

Elite Football continues this trend.

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