This may be the greatest card wrapper in history. The color is absolutely fantastic. The blue works wonderfully with the yellow, which complements the red which clashes with the blue oh so nicely. The fifties style Topps logo pops out from the blue background so much that it's practically 3D. The yellow oval leaves no doubt as to what cards you are purchasing in this pack. The blue stripes in the background transforms the wrapper into a magical mystery tour, where the magic of Topps will take you away to a wonderful land of football and retro designs and base sets that people actually give a crap about. All the while, the harsh red border at the bottom grounds you, lets you know that this is a serious set for serious collectors. Pair this magnificent design with the boner-inducing silky texture of Topps Heritage wrappers and you have quite possibly the pinnacle of package design right here. I dare - no, triple dog dare - anyone out there to find a finer trading card wrapper. Go ahead, I'm waiting.
NEVER TELL ME THE ODDS
I'm not scanning this because it's a pain. I'll just list 'em all out.
Short Print 1:3 - typical Heritage odds. I prefer to collect sets with 1:2 short print odds, but Topps doesn't give a shit about what I want. Topps doesn't give a shit if I live or die as long as my heirs spend the inheritance money on cards.
Mini Short Print Parallel 1:12
Mini Black Border Parallel 1:8
Mini Black Border Short Print Parallel 1:24 - Unstated is the 1:1 odds for any sort of mini parallel per pack. Odds for a plain Jane non-SP non black mini would be a bitch to calculate anyway.
Mini Pigskin Parallel 1:37 - I guess these are leather cards? I wonder why PETA doesn't protest these things. Probably because they are a bunch of media whores who care more for attention than animals and no one really cares about football cards anyway. The 1:37 odds amuse me as Pacific used to use these particular odds to avoid having to put one insert in each box.
Gridiron Stamp of Approval 1:950
Historical Stamp of Approval 1:358 - Cards with stamps stuck to them, move along...
Magic Moments 1:4
Rookie Stars 1:6
History's Best 1:12 - base insert crap that was relevant in 1994 but not anymore.
Over 9000 tiers of autos, relics, autorelics, etc that I'm not typing out - I think there are two per box. Might be wrong, I didn't pay enough attention when I was in the store. You'll get a couple of autographs from 7th rounders who are playing in the CFL right now.
THE FIRST CARD - CARD DESIGN
Patrick Willis, a very good linebacker on an average team that was hobbled by a head coach who never quite figured out that his position no longer had "killing quarterbacks" as a job requirement.
As for the design, it's not really based on any historical design. Considering last year's product was very faithful to an extremely boring design, this is probably a good thing. My first impression is that it looks very similar to last year's Upper Deck Philadelphia set. I liked that set a lot, so I'm generally pleased. Upon further review, it kind of looks like Topps' 1961 set with a logo tacked on. The card photo has been Photoshopified to look like a painting or something. It looks not so much bad as just weird. I really wish Topps would realize that they had gotten to the point where they could reproduce photos reasonably well by the early 1960s and would stop screwing up the photo on these retro sets.
THE SECOND CARD - CARD BACK
I keep thinking Braylon Edwards plays for the Browns. Whether that's a reflection on him or me, I don't know.
The card back has an extremely basic design with just a card number, bio stats, a brief highlight from the player and a massive city photo/logo/quiz thing on the back. No basic stats can be found. Historically, this is nice, it looks similar to the original Magic cards. Realistically, no stats is pretty lame in 2010 and the city photo looks great the first time, but if Topps uses the same photo on every card it will get tedious quick.
They're not short printed! Um... I think?
HOLY CRAP INSERTS
Here is a magical moment commemorating the celebration when Gay Marriage was declared legal in San Francisco. Insert cards in Heritage products basically server as a reminder that, no, you didn't get a short print in this pack and good luck with that set you're building.
OH DEAR HEAVENLY CHRIST MINIS OHMYGODILOVEMINICARDS YAY FOR MINIS
No really, I love mini cards.
THE CARD BACK PART TWO
Yep, same picture. This will get old quick, especially since the picture is 2/3rds of the card back.
THE REST OF THE PACK
Basically this is Heritage for Football without calling it that. It's on Heritagey stock with a Heritagey design and Heritagey short prints and has Heritagey inserts and basic Heritagey autos and relics with absolutely no big money MOJO to be found anywhere. If there is a collector out there who both likes collecting Heritage sets and collecting football cards they will likely buy this product. If not, Topps takes a bath, boxes will sell for $30 a pop by Valentine's day and Topps Brass will murder off another set I like. Football collectors loooove their MOJO so I'm thinking the latter occurs.
It's not a perfect set by any means and will likely be forgotten in a few years unless Topps digs in and makes Magic their annual Football retro product. For every plus, there's an accompanying minus. The design it pleasing, but the photos aren't good. The retroization makes many of the players look like zombies. Check out Rashard Mendenhall's arms in that mini card. Ugh. Topps needs to stop messing with the photos on the retro sets. Just stop, please. The backs look good if you know what old football card backs are supposed to look like. If a random kid off the street saw that mess they'd just laugh. Old Timey sets like Magic, Allen & Ginter and T206 tend to have sparse backs, but you really need just a basic line of stats on there for a football product. It does remind me a lot of 2009 Philadelphia though and is probably a much easier set to complete.
The wrapper is just amazing though. You have to make up words to describe that wrapper. Fantabulistic or Fantasmorgasmical might work. I want a poster of that wrapper. Or a beach towel. Or a shirt. Maybe I'll have it tattooed on my dick. My God, that is a wonderful wrapper.