I am a large man. Two main reasons have made this reality happen. Reason number one is genetics - 23 pairs of chromosomes have conspired to make me 6'4", make my shoulders incredibly broad, and give me size 13 feet. Sadly, those same chromosomes did not give me much speed or grace to utilize that 99th percentile size. Reason number two is snacks. Oh lord, I do so love junk food. Genetics may have given me height and length, but Ben & Jerry, Hershey's, and Hostess have given me girth. Oh sure, I have tried to give up these things and exercise and what not, but besides being a large man, I am also a lazy man with very low impulse control. So I don't fight it much anymore. I am content to buy 3XL shirts and 44 waist pants and be done with it.
I consider myself a connoisseur of snacks, so much so that some of my friends call me the Snack King. I like to be on the cutting edge of sugary confections and salty conveniences. So when I saw this post on Buzzfeed last week combining two of my weaknesses, I made it my mission to have them in hand and report whether their Frankenstein's monster of tastes was a hit or miss. So I have been to every Target in a 20 mile radius at least three times each in the last week and alas, no luck. No Candy Corn Oreos for me. It is this kind of obsession that has kept my sports card collection both a curse and a blessing. And as you can imagine, that aforementioned lack of impulse control in Target was going to eventually lead me to buying new stuff. So, once again, it became a "why fight it" moment and at my last stop yesterday, I gave in and bought a couple things in the trading card aisle:
On the left is a 2012 Topps Football box promising me 72 cards and 16 rookies. On the right is a repack that caught my eye because it had Drew Brees on top. Having just sorted out my Saints cards, I was 98% certain that I did not have that particular Brees card, and besides, I needed something to distract me from the fact that I had spent the last week searching - in vain - for friggin' cookies. So that repack promising me "Extreme Value" an "unopened pack" and "1 Helmet Card" (whatever that is) found its way into my hands as well.
Let's look at that unopened pack first:
Oh repacks, you promise so much and deliver so little. If you do not recognize that right away, that is 1990 Fleer, one of the most overproduced of the overproduction era. Like every other kid back then, I opened a fuckton of this stuff (it's an industry term). One thing I never noticed on the wrapper before is the offer for a 1990 Fleer Football Collector's Pin. I wonder if there was a run on these things or if there is a warehouse somewhere in Philly with a million of these things still inside.
Let's do a quick Pack a Day/A Pack to Be Named Later run down of these:
The 1990 Fleer design is not too terrible. Nice use of team colors and a mutant Lombardi Trophy-esque looking football on front. You got a Bruce and a Bubba and a couple of Whites.
These six round out the 15 total cards from the pack:
Here you have the wrong Eddie Murray, Sterling Sharpe (he is considered the "quiet" Sharpe brother), and a dude I never heard of before, but he is a Saint, so I will give him a shout out...Hi Buford Jordan! I will leave that gray space there as an indicator of the small section of my soul that has been stolen by opening this pack.
On to the highlights of the other cards in the repack:
I like repacks because they are all over the place. That first card (starting in the upper left) is a Bjorn Nittmo World League card. Wow. Those of you who are insomniacs like me will recognize that name from Late Night with David Letterman. Then you have two extremes in design, the 2011 Rookies and Stars, which uses white space and lines, and the 1995 Fleer, which looks like a painter's palette threw up. After that, there is a NY Giant, a 1986 Topps Cowboy, and a TO Bowman card from 2000. I point out that Bowman card because that red and yellow was part of the design; they did not use team colors. But with the 49ers, that design looks sharp. On the bottom there are two Score sets from the early 90's. That 1992 design couldn't look more 90's unless Tiffani Amber Thiessen was on it too. Then you have Tim Brown. Tim Brown had a hell of a football career, but in my college circle of friends, Tim Brown has a different meaning. We used to have Super Techmo Bowl tournaments in the dorms and my friend Kevin would take the Raiders for the "Tim Brown play" which was just him running straight down field and the quarterback would throw it up to him. You knew Kevin was playing because he would bellow at the top of his lungs "TIM BROWN!!!" throw the ball and just put down the controller. Years later, although he will probably make the Hall of Fame, all I ever think of when I hear his name is Super Techmo Bowl and the late night screams of my insane, deranged roommate.
Moving on, group two includes that promised Helmet Card. It is a card with a thick plastic helmet embedded in it. It is neither autographed nor serial numbered. But boy, is it thick.
Running through these. That Neil O'Donnell Collector's Edge Card is serial numbered 048237. I hope it's scarcity will help put my grandchildren through college. Natrone Means is the recipient of one of the best Chris Berman nicknames of all time. Insufferable as he is, every once in a while he drops one that never gets old and Natrone "Re-fried" Means is one of them. In that second row, you have a 1988 Topps John Elway, a 1982 Topps Joe Theismann; a couple of near vintage cards that are nice to find in a repack. Also in that row is Terrell Suggs, who matriculated from Ball So Hard University. That last row has another Giant (Mark Collins), one of those despicable rookie poses of a despicable player (Desean Jackson), and last but not least, a checklist card from 1996 Pinnacle Summit. There is no indication, front or back, of what player that is. Anyone recognize him? I don't.
Last page of the repack. Promise:
I am not a Jets fan, but I think D'Brickashaw Ferguson has one of the best names ever. I got not one but two of his prerookie cards in here. I also got one of poor Mark Sanchez, who despite last week's fine performance, will still have Tebow breathing down his neck all season. That second row has "Cadillac" Williams - bad player, great nickname. Also there is Bubby Brister, who's parents must have known he would be a backup quarterback because no one has ever had a better backup quarterback name. That last row has yet another UD fake rookie card thing, one of those fantastic old school Action Packed cards which are thick and weird, and say what you want about the 1990 Pro Set, the most über-overproduced set of all time, a lot of the photos were fantastic and that Carl Banks card is no exception.
OK, let's dive into that box of 2012 Topps Football. Basically, that box is a jumbo pack. It is even packed inside like one, using cellophane instead of a proper wrapper:
At least it was nested nicely inside of the box so nothing got damaged. One thing I have noticed about recent blasters is that packs are loose inside and all sorts of dings and creases abound from that.
Let's take a look at what I got:
Right off the bat, I like the design. It is unique to football, not a riff on the baseball design, which is always a plus. I don't know why, but the bottom graphic looks like an outtake from a Spiderman logo design brainstorming session. The photo is nice and big and for the most part, they are pretty sharp. I am a huge fan of the Chargers' powder blue unis, so it is nice to see those. It is also nice to see a kicker actually kicking on a card. I also am glad I got a Gronk card, but it would have been more appropriate if the picture had captured him mid-spike. Or coming out of the hotel room of a porn star. Either one.
Let's look at some of those 16 rookies I was promised:
After one week, Robert Griffin III has been anointed. One week. Never mind that he was facing the Saints defense or that, you know, it is only one damn week. OK, I am still bitter, let's move on. I also got Russell Wilson, who shocked everybody by winning the Seattle QB battle. Most of the rest of the guys I have barely heard of, though Brandon Boykin has a great alliterate name. The last row has Darren Sproles, my lone Saints card in the whole pack, Jason Pierre-Paul, a name with three first names, and Cam Newton, whom the Saints take on this afternoon. Hopefully, they will acquit themselves a little better against him than they did RG3.
Finally, we have the inserts:
A Dan Marino rookie reprint; I always liked that 1984 Topps design. A few different full bleed shiny cards of Joe Flacco, Dan Fouts and the Patriots receivers that I couldn't care less about (anyone who does, lemme know). A code card for the latest one of Topps giveaways, that one is available if you want to trade for it as well. Lastly, there are the Tallboy inserts. I do not get these at all. They are based on the 1965 Topps design, which was not the standard 2 ½" x 3 ½" but 2 ½" across and a bizarre 4 11/16 inches tall. It is one of the all time odd looking sets of all time. It is a cool design, but the size makes them hard to display and they damage easy. These inserts are made to the same dimensions as the '65 Topps, but obviously not 4 11/16th inches tall but a little less than 3 ½" and thus much narrower than 2 ½". All that makes them sort of mini-ish but I wouldn't exactly call them minis. I cannot decide if I like these or not, but they are certainly different.