Wednesday, August 22, 2012

2012 Topps Inception Football Box Break Recap And Review

We have probably all experienced something like this.  You are having a great day, things have gone your way and then something happens that is completely disappointing.  No matter how hard you try to shake it off, you can’t, which negates all the good that has come your way before it.

Unfortunately this is the scenario that plays out with 2012 Topps Inception Football.  These are great looking cards and a fun break. Rookie prospectors should be eating it up while fans of the veteran players should be enjoying the base cards and low numbered parallels. These could be standouts of any collection. Then, as you handle the cards, or even go to put them in protective sleeves, you start dealing with the delicate edges.  Even with pain staking care I managed to chip the bottom of one of my autograph cards while lowering it into an appropriately sized penny sleeve.

In card collecting, condition is king.  Two of the major components in determining condition are cornering and edge wear. Most of these cards had cornering and chipping issues straight out of the pack.  So there is no getting around it, Inception Football will never achieve its full potential until Topps comes up with a plan to protect the edges of these cards.

Inception Football falls into our premium cards category.  Each hobby box contains 1 – 7 card pack with 1 memorabilia and 2 autograph cards per box.

Here is a look at the cards we pulled.

Base set
Steven Jackson, front and back

 Jake Locker

 Julius Peppers - Blue #/252, Steve Johnson - Gold #/123

 The Hits
 Jarius Wright Jumbo Relic #/165

 Joe Adams on-card Autograph

 Chris Givens Silver Signings #/25

Overall Look
Without commenting on the edging and cornering, these cards look great. The base cards and lowered numbered parallels are a nice combo of high dynamic range photography, dark contrast layout, gloss and matte finishes and smart foil accents.  The base autos are executed to near perfection with just the right amount of soft edged, cloud-like dodging to allow for the signature to be highlighted without seeming like a huge blank space was created.  While I am not a fan of paint pens on auto cards, these are done very well.

Quality and Variety of Players
Most of the variety of players can be found in the compact base set and parallels.  In all other cases you are dealing with the 36 players who attended this year’s Rookie Premiere shoot. 

Do the Hits satisfy?
The initial answer is yes but the drawbacks of the edging issues, for the most part, negate that.  Here is the bottom of the Joe Adams Autograph card.
The chip you see on the bottom of the card, towards the center, and the one to the left of it happened after the card had been inserted in an oversized card sleeve made for thicker cards.  Half of the card was in the sleeve when it chipped.  You can also see the cornering and edging problems that were present straight out of the pack.

This is sad situation for rookie prospectors as these are the first real premium cards of the incoming rookie class.  Another issue that might bother collectors is the lack of true numbering on a lot of the rookie cards.  All three of my hit cards have the players in double zero “00” jerseys. 

Will you keep coming back for more?
The real question for collectors will be do you feel burnt by the edging and cornering issues.  This is a legitimate question, especially when you are paying over $10 a card.  For collectors of premium products, having the potential to achieve a high grade with the proper handling of the cards is essential, something I just don’t think is possible with Inception in its current state.

2 out of 5

It pains me to give 2012 Topps Inception Football such a low rating because I find the layout and look of these cards so striking and impressive.  In someways, it almost feels like I'm throwing the baby out with the bath water, but it is impossible to overlook the current quality problems.  I've seen other card releases with premium, thick black edging that holds up fine while retaining sharp cornrting so I know it can be done.  You will see a big jump in next year’s review if Topps can get a handle on the part of the production process that creates the edging issues that plague these cards.

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