Tuesday, November 26, 2013

2013 Topps Chrome Football Retail Odds

I always find it funny how people on Blowout Cards are always wondering if the odds of hitting autographs are better in rack packs or blasters.  Inevitably, after every product is released, someone has to post on the boards something along the lines of:

"Hey dudez, should I buy rack packs or blasters if I want to get an auto?"

The reason for this question is because there is this prevailing myth among collectors that despite the stated odds of rack packs being exactly the same as blaster boxes, many people believe their chances of hitting autographs is better in blasters over rack packs (or vice versa).

I am totally dumbfounded why there is this nonsensical belief among the card collecting community, especially when card companies make it extremely transparent to us collectors by stating the odds on the outside of the blasters and rack packs.  If you take a moment -- and it really only takes a moment -- to read the odds, you'll see that the odds of hitting an autograph in 2013 Topps Chrome Football are exactly the same in both rack packs and (Target) blaster boxes.  (Blaster boxes from Walmart guarantee a relic card and therefore none of the packs will contain an autograph card.)

Let me say that one more time: the odds of hitting an autograph in 2013 Topps Chrome Football are the same for both rack packs and (Target) blaster boxes!

Okay, now that I've made that quite clear, let's tackle the next question: what are the odds of hitting an autograph in retail?

Some people on Blowout Cards tried to tackle that question in this thread.  Unfortunately, they did not do a good job of it.  One guy said there is an autograph in one in every eight blasters.  That was incorrect.  Another guy said that the odds are actually one in every 19 blasters.  That too, is incorrect because he only calculated the odds for base rookie autographs.  Since everyone else was botching the math, I figured I might as well do it myself.  The funny thing is, I'm not even a math person but I'm fairly confident I did a much better job calculating it than everyone else.  So here it goes.

Here are the stated retail odds for 2013 Topps Chrome Football autographs.  The odds for rack packs are the same as blaster boxes.  These odds are the odds for each individual pack (as opposed to the odds for the entire blaster or rack pack).

Odds                 Card
1:4,567             1959 Mini Refractor Auto
1:4,567             1986 Refractor Auto
1:4,795             Legendary Club Red Refractor Auto
1:2,275             Tall Boy Auto
1:3,412             Veteran Auto
1:172                Rookie Base Auto
1:600                Rookie Refractor Auto
1:980                Rookie Camouflage Auto
1:1,285             Rookie Pink BCA Auto
1:3,900             Rookie Black Auto
1:6,450             Rookie Prism Auto
1:9,780             Rookie Gold Auto
1:15,950           Rookie Dual Autographs
1:177,511         Rookie Triple Autographs

Converting the above odds to probabilities we have...

Probability       Card
.00022              1959 Mini Refractor Auto
.00022              1986 Refractor Auto
.00021              Legendary Club Red Refractor Auto
.00044              Tall Boy Auto
.00029              Veteran Auto
.00581              Rookie Base Auto
.00167              Rookie Refractor Auto
.00102              Rookie Camouflage Auto
.00078              Rookie Pink BCA Auto
.00026              Rookie Black Auto
.00016              Rookie Prism Auto
.00010              Rookie Gold Auto
.00006              Rookie Dual Autographs
.00001              Rookie Triple Autographs

Adding up above probabilities we have a total of .0125

Converting the above probability to a percentage, your percentage chances per pack of pulling an autograph is 1.25%.

So how does this all relate to blasters and rack packs?

Well, there are three retail packs per rack pack.  Therefore, your percentage chance of pulling any sort of autograph from a rack pack is 3.75%.

And since there are eight retail packs per blaster box, then your percentage chance of pulling any sort of autograph from a blaster box is 9%.

Putting this all another way, there is about one autograph of some sort per 26.67 rack packs, and one autograph of some sort per 11.11 blaster boxes.  Therefore, on average, you would have to buy 27 rack packs (26.67 rounded up) or 12 blaster boxes (11.11 rounded up) to guarantee yourself some sort of autograph! 

(Addendum: Since writing this post, I see that somebody has recalculated the percentage chance of pulling an autograph and has arrived at the exact same numbers as me.)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pack Searching 2013 Topps Platinum Football: There is a Soldier in All of Us

Call of Duty: Ghosts came out not too long ago.  The game looked pretty sick but I wasn't planning on getting it.  But then one of my buddies got the game.  He texted me and a bunch of our other friends, trying to get us to buy the game.  One by one, like dominoes, we all fell and got the game.  When I caved in and decided to get the game, I pondered where I should go to buy it.  I knew places like Game Stop and Best Buy had the game.  But I also noticed the last time I was at Target, that they were selling the game by the cash registers.  Might as well go to Target, right?  At least I could do a little pack searching while I was there.

So, within 20 minutes, I was at my local Target.  There were a bunch of 2013 Topps Platinum Football rack packs out for sale.  I think I had searched them before, but I decided to search them again.  I was jonesing for some cards.  I needed to rip something open. 

I grabbed all the rack packs off the shelves and started mugging them real good.  Searching rack packs for hits is pretty hard.  I'd rather not do it because it can be such a crap shoot sometimes, but I haven't had much of a choice lately because I've been getting beat to stores. 

After a couple of minutes I had located a rack pack which I suspected contained a hit.  I wasn't sure at all.  Like I said, finding hits in rack packs is hard.  I was about 60% sure it had a hit.  I hemmed and hawed the decision for a couple of minutes while I went to the electronics section to pick up Call of Duty: Ghosts.

Of course, in the end I decided to get the rack pack.

Joseph Fauria
2013 Topps Platinum Football
Autographed Rookie Card
Odds:  1:44

When I opened it up in my car, I breathed a sign of relief.  I had a hit!  It was a Joseph Fauria autograph rookie card!  Pretty nice looking signature on the card too!

Okay, not the biggest name guy to hit, but it was a hit.  I was happy that I didn't miss on this rack pack.  My card craving was appeased for a couple more days.  And, hopefully, with the distraction of a little Call of Duty: Ghosts, I could go a full week without buying more cards... just maybe.  Cards are addicting.

There is a Soldier in All of Us.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pack Searching 2013 Panini Prizm Football: Courtney Upshaw Autograph

More loot from my little one-day road trip.  Hit up a second Target on the trip.  This one only had a double gravity of Prizm -- no retail boxes.  But to my completely surprise, this entire double gravity hadn't been searched at all.  Not one bit.  I found a crap ton of camo and green parallels and one autograph.

Courtney Upshaw
2013 Panini Prizm Football

It turned out to be a veteran autograph of Courtney Upshaw.  It was also one of those error cards, where regular autographs were printed on black foil instead of chrome foil.  What a mistake, right?  Panini printed almost 3/4ths of the autographs in 2013 Prizm on the wrong freaking colored foil.  How did they mess that one up?  I mean, I can understand messing up one, two, three, or maybe five players, but a whole 75+ players?  Geez.  Talk about a huge production oversight.  Anybody else pull any of these? 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Previewing 2013 Topps Chrome Football

2013 Topps Chrome Football should be hitting retail any time now.  This product is one of my favorite products to collect.  The cards look nice and sell well.

The big question for most of us reading this blog is: can it be searched?

We'll never know until the product actually hits the stores, but if it's anything like last year's product then the answer is basically "yes".  Die-cuts should be easy to find.  Redemptions should be easy to find.  Sticker autographs will be a little harder to find, but not impossible.  On-card autographs should be pretty hard to find.  Numbered parallels can be found, but I think the process for finding those can be so time-consuming that I don't think it's worth it.

I bet most retail stores will get one retail box of 24 loose packs.  Those will be the first packs to get searched.  I doubt that the retail boxes will guarantee one autograph per box.  In fact, I'm almost sure they won't.

There will also be rack packs.  Those should be a lot tougher to search.  In fact, considering that finding autographs can be hard enough just holding one loose pack in your hand, I bet that most pack searchers probably won't even bother searching the rack packs.  They may just search the orange refractor pack in the rack packs to pull top rookies or veterans, but searching the retail packs within rack packs is hard and I bet most of us won't even bother.  I know I rarely do.

Anyways, I hope to find a few good things but I'm not getting my hopes up.  Competition will be tough.  Lots of non pack searchers will be out there too looking for the product.  You're going to have to beat not only them but the other pack searchers out the stores to get first dibs on this hot set. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pack Searching: 2013 Panini Prizm Football

Went on a little day trip.  I hit up a Target on the way.  To my surprise, I saw not only a double gravity box, but an actual Prizm retail box too!  I started searching the double gravity first.  It didn't look searched, but I soon noticed that all the packs had deep gouge marks in the plastic wrapper from another pack searcher's finger nails.  I immediately dropped all the packs from the loose gravity box.  I didn't even bother searching the rest of them.  Odds were that the other pack searcher probably pulled all the autos.  No need to waste my time searching through the leftovers.

Marcus Davis
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Autograph Rookie Card

But that retail box of Prizm looked fresh, like a Target employee had just put it out.  All the packs were still neatly arranged in the box, face up.  I removed them and inspected the packs.  No fingernail gouge marks.  Unsearched.  Lucky me.  I gave the box a search and found an autograph!  It was a Marcus Davis autographed rookie card.

I actually could tell who it was before opening up the pack.  I was probably better off selling the pack as a hot pack but I'm an autograph collector so I decided to keep it to add to my collection.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pack Searching: 2013 Panini Football Monster Box

Well, I decided to give one of those 2013 Panini Football Monster Boxes a shot.  I've been searching those ever since they hit the stores in hopes of finding one with a golden ticket for a box of 2012 National Treasures.  None of them stood out enough to buy.  But I eventually got tired of looking at them all without actually opening one so I caved and bought one for kicks. 

Panini Football
Monster Box

They come with five packs of 2013 Score, 2 hobby packs of 2013 Prizm Football, and 3 exclusive prizm cards.  Obviously, the real hit potential in these boxes comes from the hobby packs of Prizm, and to a lesser extent the 3 exclusive Prizm cards.

Randy White
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Decade Dominance Insert

The two Prizm hobby packs were pretty disappointing.  Only got a prizm of Randy White Decade Dominance. 

Dion Jordan & Quinton Patton
2013 Panini Prizm Football
HRX Rookie Cards

The HRX rookie cards look pretty nice.  I don't think the whole QR code thing on the back is that great of an idea though. Supposedly, Panini wanted to bring the excitement of pulling an HRX video card to everyone, and not just those few lucky people who hit HRX video cards in hobby boxes.  So if you scan the QR code on the back, you get to see some special video or something.  I haven't scanned the QR codes and I won't.  I'm not impressed by this gimmick.

Tyler Eifert
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Monster Box Exclusive Insert

And, the bonus Prizm pack just had a Tyler Eifert Building Blocks (blue), and some other unmentionable veteran Cornerstones Inserts.

Are these 2013 Panini Monster Boxes worth buying from a pack searching standpoint?  No.  The odds of knowing what you're getting is slim to none.  While there certainly might be some with Golden Tickets out there, I'm sure they're very rare and so despite your best searching efforts you may never come across one.

Are these 2013 Panini Monster Boxes worth buying purely from a collector's standpoint?  I would say "no" again.  I think the value of these boxes is not that great.  Five Score packs provide a $10 value (each pack is normally $2 each).  The two Prizm hobby packs provide about a $10 value ($5 each).  Thus, you're already at $20 Monster Box MSRP.  So the exclusive Prizm pack is a bonus on top of it all.  But are you really going to be happy with all those cards for $20?  Probably not.  Score, while a very nice low end football set, isn't going to provide you with much hit potential.  Maybe you hit a jersey relic or an autograph from Score but it's not going to be anything big.  The Prizm packs give you a chance at gold and black finite parallels and better autographs, but even still, odds are you'll probably hit one of the many junk autographs in Prizm I'm not sure those two Prizm hobby packs make the Monster Box worth the price.

Overall, I'd probably skip these Monster Boxes.  Save your $20 to buy something else, or buy a Topps Value Box instead. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

It's Okay to Pack Search Packs You Already Own

Saw a funny thread on the Blowout Cards forums.  It can be seen in its entirety here.  But basically, it goes something like this:

Dude buys a Topps Value Box, and writes:
Not much out of the regular Topps packs, gold bordered Bruce Irvin.

Noticed one Platinum pack was significantly thicker so I set it aside.
[Proceeds to post pictures of his two hits from the hobby Platinum Football packs.]

Other guy responds:
YEAH i always look for the fat pack myself and "set it aside" cant believe you actually said that let alone did it.......FAIL  

Other guy clearly seems to be insinuating that the Dude is a pack searcher because he set aside the fat pack. 

Dude replies:
FAIL on your part buddy. I have every right to pack search my own sealed boxes after I have purchased them and brought them home. 

Yup.  The Dude is right.  A person has every right to pack search their own packs after they have bought the box.  It's actually sort of amazing that some people think otherwise.

The next time I get myself a hobby box, I'm totally going to pack search it before I open any of the packs.  Why?  Just for fun.  I like the little challenge of trying to figure out which pack has what in it.  Then, I get to see if I was right when I open the packs. 

Anyways, I just wanted to share that funny little anecdote of anti-packsearcher fail.

Kenjon Barner
2013 Topps Platinum Football

Oh, one last interesting note.  One other guy in the thread claims to have opened 22 Topps Value Boxes and not received a single hit from all the hobby Platinum Football packs.  There are two Platinum Football hobby packs per value box. 

Unlucky Dude:
Like I said...I think I am up to 22 of these now from 7 different stores...not one auto yet! DUN-ZO on these thingys!!!

Wow!  That is some crazy bad luck!  In a hobby box of Platinum Football, there are 20 packs per box and three hits per box.  So, this poor guy has purchased 22 Value Boxes, opened up 44 Platinum Football hobby packs from those Value Boxes, and not gotten a single hit!!!  Crazy.

If I can do math properly, the chances of opening up 44 Platinum Football hobby packs and not getting a single hit are:

(17/20) ^ 44 = 0.00078
or about 0.078%

Put another way, if you opened up 44 Platinum Football hobby packs, you would have a 99.922% chance of getting at least one hit.  This guy was that poor 0.078% which didn't.  Ouch.  Just... ouch. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pack Searching 2013 Panini Prizm Football: A Second Untouched Gravity Box

Pack Searching 2013 Panini Prizm Football: An Untouched Gravity Box (Part I)

I had just found an untouched double gravity box of 2013 Panini Prizm Football at a Target.  I searched it, pulled an autograph and a bunch of green and camo prizms from it.  I was on a mission for more and I had just completed the 15 minute drive across town to the other Target.  I rushed into the Target like it was Black Friday midnight opening.  My eyes were wild and probably bloodshot, like a drug addict who hadn't had a hit in a week.  I needed more. 

But when I arrived in the card aisle, there was no new Prizm out.  None at all.  This Target is usually slower to put out new products than its counterpart across town.  I shouldn't have got my hopes up.  I could feel my disappointment set in, and my high slowly wear off.  I was sooo looking forward to being the first person to the gravity box at this Target.  Damn.  I decided to check back in a few days.

The next few days were like torture.  I kept wondering if the Target had put out new gravity box, and whether another pack searcher had searched it all out.  I suppose I could have checked that Target every day.  After all, it wasn't that far away from where I lived.  But, I swear, there is nothing more disappointing than making a special trip to Target to pack search, getting all excited on the drive over there, to find that nothing new has been put out and going home empty handed.  So I just waited three days, and crossed my fingers that if the product had been put out that it wouldn't get searched.

I went back three days later, and the gravity box was out.  The packs in side the box were neatly stacked in two piles.  Damn.  It looked like someone had already been through them.  You never know until you check!

I grabbed all the packs and started to get my grope on.  Some of the packs definitely seemed like they had been searched, but most others weren't.  It was like someone had spent about one minute trying to search a few of them but then gave up.  Oh well, their loss is my gain.

In about five minutes I had located a hit.  When I find hits I actually try not to look to see who or what it is so that when I do open it up there is some surprise.  But as I was searching this pack I could see that it was a "Ryan".  I knew this could be good or bad.  It could be a Ryan Nassib autograph (good!), or it could be a Ryan Swope autograph (bad!).  Eh, I decided not to look and just buy it anyways.

I kept searching and found four other packs with prizm parallels in them.  I bought the five packs and went on my merry way.

Ryan Swope
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Rookie Autograph

First up was the autograph hot pack.  I have to admit, I got my hopes up.  As I was opening it, I was praying for a Ryan Nassib autograph.  Instead, it was Ryan Swope!  Isn't he quite possibly the worst person to pull?  I mean, he's out of football already because of an injury!  No offense to the guy, but his autograph probably isn't even worth the card stock that it's printed on.  Damn.  I should have sold this hot pack! 

Greg Jennings
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Camo Prizm

Next up was a nice Greg Jennings camo prizm. 

Jason Pierre-Paul
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Camo Prizm

And a nice Jason Pierre-Paul camo prizm.

Michael Floyd
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Camo Prizm

A Michael Floyd camo prizm, and...

Jonathan Stewart
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Camo Prizm

A Jonathan Stewart camo prizm. 

I pulled all veterans from the camo prizms!  I was hoping for some rookies.  Not even one rookie!  Blast.  And oddly, I couldn't find a green prizm in the entire double gravity retail box either.  I thought that was weird.  I'm sure there must be at least two per double gravity box.  Maybe the greens were inserts.  I don't like the inserts in Prizm this year so I avoided all of them.  Oh well.

Anyway, not bad for $15, I guess.

... The End ...

Monday, November 11, 2013

2013 NFL Mid-Season Review

We're about half way through the 2013 NFL Season.  When the season started, I provided a few thoughts of mine on which players I thought were worth buying and which should be sold.  You can see that old post here.  For fun, let's take a look at how my predictions are panning out.

My Pre-season Prediction:  Strong Buy Tavon Austin

Mid-season Result: Still a little too early to tell, but not looking good.   Tavon Austin has probably one of the most disappointing rookies of 2013 thus far.  For a guy who was drafted very high, and had so much success in college, he's had a hard time producing in the NFL.  Through November 3rd, 2013, he's been targeted 51 times and only had 31 receptions for 207 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Wow.  Pretty pitiful stats for the 8th overall pick.  But, this last week he just blew up against the Indianapolis Colts logging 138 receiving yards on 2 receptions and also scoring touchdowns on both those receptions.  In addition, he also went bonkers on special teams gaining 145 yards on four punt returns, and scoring one touchdown on one of those returns.  I think his game against the Colts demonstrates what he can do if he can get the ball in space.  He's a fast guy and very elusive.  I do see him being a productive player in the future.  He's sort of like a poor man's Desean Jackson.

My Pre-season Prediction:  Strong Buy T.Y. Hilton

Mid-season Result:  T.Y. is having himself a very nice 2013 season.  Through November 3rd, 2013, he's been targeted 66 times, catching the ball 34 times for 533 yards and five touchdowns.  He's become quite the speedy deep threat for Andrew Luck and the Colts offense.  He has a good chance at having over 1000 yards on the season.  I think he's a guy who will be one of the premiere WR threats in Indianapolis for years to come. 

My Pre-season Prediction:  Strong Buy Luke Kuechly

Mid-season Result:  Kuechly is proving to be a monster for the Carolina Panthers, and one of the key reasons why the Panthers defense is so good this year.  Although Kuechly doesn't lead the NFL in tackles (he has 64 on the season so far, good for 27th in the NFL), I think he's well on his way to being one of the best linebackers in the league, and a guy with Ray Lewis type potential.

My Pre-season Prediction:  Buy Josh Gordon

Mid-season Result:  He's got 626 yards on 35 receptions, and three receiving touchdowns.  These are pretty good numbers half way through the season.  Now, imagine what these numbers might look like if he wasn't on the Cleveland Browns.  If I'm Josh Gordon, I'm praying some other team with a good QB trades for me.  Gordon looks like he's going to have a great 2013 season.  I'd definitely try to pick up a few of his autos if you haven't yet. 

My Pre-season Prediction:  Hold Brandon Weedon

Mid-season Result:  I got this one wrong.  Although Weedon has shown some flashes of proficiency, he also has shown flashes of incompetency.  Now, it looks like he's out of a job in Cleveland.  I think it's highly doubtful he'll ever amount to anything now that we haven't seen much improvement in his second year.  I'd sell anything of his.

My Pre-season Prediction:  Sell Nick Foles

Mid-season Result:  Welp, I got this wrong too, but I'm not sure anyone was expecting Foles to blow up like has the past two weeks.  Through November 10th, he has 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions.  His completion percentage is above 63% too, which is pretty good!  If you have any of his cards, I would either hold on to them for a bit.  Foles has shown improvement from his first year, and is demonstrating that he can be a good starter in the NFL.  This could be the start of a productive NFL career.  Sell his cards if you need money now, but I think he's worth hanging onto for the time being.

My Pre-season Prediction:  Strong Sell Geno Smith

Mid-season Result:  58.1% completion rate, 8 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, a low 71.0 QB rating, and a very poor 30.4 Total QBR.  Things aren't looking good for Geno.  He is just a rookie, and he's not exactly on a good team, but he hasn't looked that great when he's played.  I'd sell anything of his.  I think you can usually tell with most rookies whether they either have it or not, and so far I would say that Geno hasn't shown that he has what it takes to be a good to elite QB in the NFL.  Sell, sell, sell!

Biggest Bust of the 2013 NFL Season?

Here are my updated pointers for buy/hold/sell half way through the 2013 NFL season:

Strong Buy:  T.Y. Hilton (keep buying him before he gets too expensive);  Luke Kuechly (he's going to Brian Urlacher and Ray Lewis kind of good);  Alshon Jeffery (having a nice breakout 2013 season, pick up a few of his autos before he blows up even more);  Andre Ellington (looks like Arizona finally found their RB, get him while he's cheap!)

Buy:  Keenan Allen (having a decent rookie season, and showing potential to be a solid #2 WR for many years to come);  Josh Gordon (still worth picking up before he gets too expensive, still has character concerns though);  Eddie Lacy (looks to be the #1 RB in Green Bay and is a good power RB but he's still in a pass-first offense);

Hold:  Tavon Austin (things aren't looking good right now, but he has too much potential to not give more time);  Nick Foles (nobody expected him to blow up like this, but now that he has, hold on to his cards since he's red hot and only getting hotter);

Sell:  Cordarrelle Patterson (is averaging 35 yards per kickoff return, but can't even catch a cold as a wide receiver, looks to be a ST-only guy).

Strong Sell:  Brandon Weedon (he looks like a great #2 QB);  Jake Locker (when will Tennessee give up this guy?  Get rid of cards before it's too late);  Geno Smith (still only a rookie but things are not looking good at all);  Tyler Wilson (the guy isn't employed by a NFL team at all, do I need to say more?);  Chris Harper (even the 49ers cut him and they desperately need WRs).

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pack Searching 2013 Panini Prizm Football: An Untouched Gravity Box

The most delightful surprises truly are the ones when you're not expecting it. 

I was at a local Target.  I had just finished some dinner at a local restaurant.  It was nearby one of my favorite Targets so I went over there to do some grocery shopping.  Yes, I'm talking about actual grocery shopping, not "grocery shopping" (going pack searching).  Of course, even on legitimate shopping trips to Target I always stop by the card aisle to see what's new.  I wasn't expecting to find anything new at this Target because I had just been there three days prior on its usual restocking day and it hadn't been restocked.  I knew 2013 Panini Prizm Football was hitting retail across America but my area always seems to be one of the last areas in America to get new retail so I wasn't expecting to see it for another week.

But as I entered the Target and looked over at the card aisle, I could see that the gravity feed boxes hanging along the wall had been rearranged.  Towards the top hung a huge, fat, double gravity of 2013 Panini Prizm Football.  It had a loud camouflage design on it, and stood out like a sore thumb.  It was calling to me.  And my heart fluttered a bit from the surprise. 

I've been so busy the past few months that I pretty much have been picking through the leftovers of all the baseball and football products of the last two months.  You may have noticed, I haven't shown any 2013 Topps Update hits on the blog.  That's because I haven't found any.  All the other pack searchers in my area (there seem to be more and more of them nowadays) got to them before me.  And 2013 Topps Prime?  Only found one hit so far in my entire town.  But this double gravity box of 2013 Panini Prizm Football... I was pretty sure it hadn't been touched.

I examined the packs inside the box.  Surprisingly, for how big the double gravity boxes are, there weren't that many packs inside.  The packs weren't neatly stacked.  Instead, they looked disheveled, but in a good way.  Not like someone had rummaged through them, but like they had just been shipped across America, but untouched by any human hands after being put onto the shelves. 

With eager anticipation coursing through my veins, I grabbed the packs and started searching. 

2012 Prizm was ridiculously easy to search overall.  I was pretty sure 2013 wouldn't be much different.  I soon realized it wasn't.  It's pretty easy if you know what to look for.  My experience searching last year's Prizm set helped.  But I also had some notes passed along to me from a friend of mine.  Using the information given to me, pack searching this stuff was a breeze.  In no time at all, I had found five packs I wanted to buy.  Four were prizm parallels, and one was an autograph hot pack.

Luke Joeckel
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Camo Prizm

The first prizm parallel pack was a camo prizm of Luke Joeckel.  The biography on the back of the card says that he feels like he has a "chip on his shoulder" because he went 2nd overall instead of 1st overall in the 2013 NFL Draft.  Really?  I'm a fairly competitive guy myself but I wouldn't be pissed about not going 1st overall in the NFL draft.  I'd just be happy to be playing in the NFL and pretty much becoming a millionaire overnight. 

Xavier Rhodes
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Camo Prizm

The next prizm parallel pack was a camo prizm of Xavier Rhodes.  Another first round pick.  He's seeing some playing time with Minnesota. 

Jarvis Jones
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Camo Prizm

The next parallel pack was a camo prizm of Jarvis Jones.  Another first round pick!  Not bad.

Zac Dysert
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Green Prizm

And the the last parallel pack was a green prizm of Zac Dysert.  He was a 7th round pick out of Miami (Ohio).  Maybe some day he'll be the starter in Denver... once Peyton Manning retires... and Brock Osweiler proves himself a bust?  You never know.

Jasper Collins
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Rookie Autograph

And then the autograph hot pack was an autographed rookie card of Jasper Collins!  Okay, I have to admit I was very underwhelmed from the hit.  Jasper Collins was not drafted at all.  He was signed by Miami as a free agent, but then later waived.  He's currently on the Cleveland Browns practice squad.  Not exactly the autograph you want to get when you're opening up an autograph hot pack.  Oh well.  I'll probably still keep his autograph anyways just in case that one in a million chance happens and he becomes a star. 

After going five out of five with these packs, I was excited.  I looked at the clock.  It was 9:15 p.m.  I had to check the other Target here in town just in case they put out their gravity feed box too.  It was late, but I knew I could get there in about fifteen minutes.  That would leave me 30 minutes to search before they closed.  With that, I started my car and drove off, determined to find more hits.

... To Be Continued ...

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Previewing 2013 Panini Contenders Football

Since getting back into the hobby, I've learned that Panini Contenders Football is one of the strongest brands in football card collecting.  Why?  It's a mixture of its longevity, large rookie autograph checklist, and unique ticket theme.  Card collectors drop hundreds of dollars on hobby boxes of this stuff year after year. 

In 2012, Panini Contenders Football made an appearance in retail too.  A very limited run of $30 blaster boxes popped up at Targets offering one guaranteed autograph per box.  The boxes were very hit or miss with some people reporting only getting crap $3 autographs while others reported getting multiple short-printed variations worth more than the boxes themselves. 

So what does 2013 have in store?  Well, Panini finally released some images of its 2013 base design.

I have to admit, the cards look pretty sharp.  I like the portrait design of the card.  I like the ticket theme.  I like the white space on the right side of the card for the player to sign their name.  The only thing I would like to see disappear is the barcode in the lower right corner.  I think it's an eyesore and detracts from the overall aesthetics of the card.  If the barcode was removed, you could drop down the "Rookie RC Card" logo, leaving even more room for the player to sign their name. 

Anyway, while the cards themselves look nice, the real reason I wanted to talk about this set is because I think it will be the hottest football product to pack search when it streets. 

In case you have missed it, there will be a retail version of 2013 Panini Contenders.  The full details of the retail boxes can be found on The Cardboard Connection's website right here.  But, for your convenience, I've copied the most important information right here:

2013 Panini Contenders Football Hobby Box Break

  • 5 Autographs
  • 14 Inserts

2013 Panini Contenders Football Retail Box Break

  • 2 Autographs
  • 1 Rookie of the Year Contenders Insert
  • 1 Draft Class Insert
  • 1 Round Numbers Insert
  • 1 Touchdown Tandems Insert
  • 4 Additional Inserts
  • 192 Total Cards
Do you see what I see?  Retail boxes of 2013 Panini Contenders Football will have not one, but two autographs in them! 

Wow.  Let me repeat that for a moment to let the significance sink in.  One of the most popular football sets in football card collecting will be making a full-on retail box appearance with two autographs per box!

Can you imagine just how hot the competition is going to be among not only the regular card collectors to get to those retail boxes first, but also between the pack searchers to get first dibs on those boxes?!  It's going to be madness. 

I mean, can you imagine going to a Target, finding an untouched retail box of 2013 Panini Contenders Football, and pulling out an E.J. Manuel autograph, and perhaps an Eddie Lacy autograph too?  I can.  And doing it just might be a reality for some of us. 

So get ready.  Because come December 13, 2013, (or a few weeks after that date once Panini retail hits), the pack searching competition is going to be on and crazier than ever.  Contenders Football is coming to retail, and with two autographs per retail box!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Pack Searching 2013 Chrome Baseball: Lucky 13

Pack Searching 2013 Topps Prime Football: Close Encounters of the Professional Kind

The number 13 is sort of a funny number.  Some people find the number extremely unlucky.  Others embrace it like it's just any other regular number.  I'm in the latter group.  To me, it's just like any other regular number.  In fact, I might even be more attracted to the number for the very fact that other people find it unlucky.  Weird, I know.

I had just come from Target where I had pulled a Ryan Nassib quad relic from 2013 Topps Prime Football.  I was now in a Walmart across town, looking for more 2013 Topps Prime.  Unfortunately, there wasn't any to be found at this Walmart.  In fact, there wasn't much of all to be found.  This Walmart was severely depleted of cards.  Some 2013 Topps Update was out and had already been searched.  There were just three rack packs of 2013 Topps Chrome Baseball remaining.

I stared hard at those three remaining rack packs.  They had to have been searched already.  But, odds are that there wouldn't be a single hit in any of them anyways if they hadn't.  Nevertheless, I grabbed the three packs and gave them a good mugging.  One of the rack packs caught my attention.  All signs pointed to it having a hit in it, but I was skeptical.  I had just whiffed on a rack pack of Prime a mere 20 minutes earlier.  My gut told me there wasn't a hit in that Prime pack and I was right, there wasn't.  Of course, I realized that there wasn't because I had bought the pack.  Now, I was faced with another decision: should I buy this rack pack of 2013 Topps Chrome?

I have this rule that I try to follow when I search.  Only buy packs of cards when you can identify via two different search methods that it contains a hit.  I've bought packs before using only one search method, and struck out.  How does this happen?  Simply, sometimes what appears to be a hit via one search method is really just a decoy or a bunch of other cards which group together to appear like something else.  The chances of you whiffing on a pack can be eliminated greatly if you can use two independent means by which to identify a hit. 

Unfortunately, using two different search methods on rack packs is often hard.  Very hard.  The best you can do is sort of just fondle it real good, look real hard, and hope for the best. 

What did my gut say?  My gut said to buy it, and that there was a hit in it.  I checked my notes in my phone from previous pack searching trips.  I cross checked my notes on Chrome sets with Chrome sets of previous years.  Aside from one small piece of information which was throwing doubt into my mind, all my previous research and notes said this was a hit.

What were the chances that there was actually a hit in 1 of the final 3 rack packs on the racks?  I don't know.  But the numbers 1 and 3 bounced through my mind again.  One.  Three.  One.  Three.  One-three... thirteen.  Unlucky.  Or... lucky?

I thought of all the previous rack packs which had been bought by other people.  I thought of all the other pack searchers who probably already searched these rack packs.  I told myself all the hits should be gone.  Could there really be a hit in one of the remaining three rack packs?  Statistically, the odds were very low that there would be a hit in one of the remaining rack packs.  The odds were even lower considering that 2013 Topps Chrome Baseball had been out for weeks now and surely other pack searchers had been to this Walmart before me.

What should I do?

I quickly searched two 2013 Bowman Football blasters.  I don't know why I don't buy more of those.  I should.  It's pretty easy to figure out which ones have the best chances of containing a hit.  Should I buy one of those instead?

I hemmed and hawed.  I literally wandered around Walmart for 10 minutes while I thought about it.  A $20 Bowman Football blaster which has a medium shot of having a hit, or a $10 Chrome Baseball rack pack which I was pretty sure had a hit?  Putting into that perspective, I had to go with the Topps Chrome rack pack.  I paid for it and left.

In my car, I opened the rack pack.  Freeing the three individual packs inside from the outer rack pack plastic, I was able to fully search each pack.  One pack had a die-cut.  Another was just a regular pack with base cards.  And the final pack had the hit.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  Nothing sucks more than realizing you whiffed after just dropping $10 on a pack of cards.  Realizing you do have something good after spending your hard earned money releases the tension that builds when you're not sure if you have anything.

I opened the hot pack.

Ryan Wheeler, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mike Olt
2013 Topps Chrome Baseball
Base Rookie Cards

The pack greeted me with three rookie cards!  The last time I pulled a hit from 2013 Topps Chrome it had two rookie cards in it.  I briefly wondered if all the hot packs had two or three rookie cards in them. 

And the hit...

Manny Machado
2013 Topps Chrome Baseball
Auto Rookie Variation
Odds:  1:200

Awww yeah!!!  It was a Manny Machado autographed rookie variation!  I cracked a huge smile.  Man, what luck!  Just five minutes ago I was wandering around Walmart debating whether to even buy this rack pack.  Good thing I did!

I marveled at the thought that this rack pack was sitting on the racks of this Walmart for the past three weeks, having been left behind by other collectors, and searched by other pack searchers... and yet it still remained.  It was one of three final rack packs.  One.  Three.  One-three... thirteen.  Unlucky?  Or lucky?

In my case, it was lucky.  Or maybe it was just meant to be.  Manny Machado, does, after all, wear #13 himself.  He was picked in the first round, with the third overall pick.  He was born on July 6th.  Seven plus six equals thirteen.  He was a 2013 All-Star.  Hmm. 

... The End ...