With baseball now behind us for the time being it's time for me to shift some of my attention to the NFL. While my Carolina Panthers are sucking it up this season I can't help but to collect cards of my home town team. The other day while @ Target I stumbled across the display for Panini's first ever NFL licensed sticker album. I flipped through it and thought it was kinda cool, then I noticed the $2.00 price tag. My opinion changed from "kinda cool" to "wow".
Ever since Panini made it's way into the trading card business I haven't paid too much attention to them since I'm a baseball card kind of guy first. I have a few random Panthers and Bobcats cards from different Panini products and while they are nice I just haven't given them the time of day. This is about to change however since I bought this new NFL sticker album and a handful of packs.
I'm not new to collecting, but sticker collecting is something new for me. I remember all the various non-sports stickers and albums Panini released in the U.S. when I was a kid, but I wasn't really into collecting anything during that time of my life. Over the last year I've seen the World Cup soccer album, the How to Train Your Dragon and more recently the Toy Story 3 albums. I never flipped through any of them - just casting them aside while looking to what new trading card packs that particular store had.
Today I sat down and organized my stickers into numerical order and began to stick them in the album. I debated whether or not to actually stick them or not, but the idea of having a self contained album to flip through was intriguing. I think I bought 10 or so packs and I got one free w/ the album so I had a nice little stack of stickers to get me started. I can't put my finger on what makes these stickers so much fun, but I enjoyed sticking the stickers to each team's page. The layout of the album is really nice.
At the beginning of the album is a place to stick 4 holographic stickers of various NFL logos - NFL, AFC, NFC and the NFL Players Association. You then have a splash page featuring empty brackets for the coming NFL playoffs. There are places to stick stickers of the defending AFC & NFC teams as well as a place for a Pro Bowl 2011 sticker. After that you get another large splash page featuring the 2010 schedule for each team. There are smaller stickers that come 2 per sticker that feature each team's helmet on a silver foil sticker that corresponds to each team's schedule. Now we get to each team's page that stretches across 2 pages. There are some nice background images that will still be viewable even after you apply the various player stickers. Each team has a larger foil team logo sticker that attaches in the upper left hand corner. There are approximately 12 player slots for stickers that feature both offensive and defensive players. At the bottom of the right hand page are 3 slots for holographic team leader stickers that features a different photo from the standard sticker. The lower right hand corner of the page features team records including Super Bowl appearances & wins which I though was neat. Below that are individual team records such as passing/rushing/receiving leaders along with the winningest coach. Small thumb nail photos also show each team's home and away jerseys.
You can tell a lot of thought went into this simple sticker album. I'm still having a hard time believing something this nice only retails for 2 bucks! After you flip through each team's page you have a 2009 Leaders section in the back for each league. I haven't pulled any of these stickers yet, but from what I've seen online these sport a slightly different design than the base stickers. The last page of the album is reserved for Super Bowl XLV stickers. The 2011 logo is comprised of 2 horizontal foil stickers. I'm not sure what the other Super Bowl stickers look like yet, but there are 7 spaces for them.
All in all I am very impressed with both the album and the stickers. The set consists of 560 stickers so I can see it taking me awhile to fill this album up. The stickers retail for $1.00 a pack and each pack has 8 stickers. It's a fairly good value when compared to trading cards and I'm hoping fellow collectors out there in blogger land will be buying these as well so I can trade for some of the stickers I lack. I should also mention that included in each album is a order form for missing stickers. You can order stickers direct from Panini via this order form or their website for $.20 a sticker. You can also order packs and albums if you desire. Knowing this why would anyone buy these stickers for $1.00 plus each that sellers on eBay are asking? This is a very cool step Panini took by including this offer. It would get expensive to just order all your missing stickers, but if you've been filling the album all season long and you lack a handful of stickers this is a great option.
I know that Panini produced some MLB sticker sets in the 80's and after having these NFL stickers and album in hand I would love it if Panini was somehow able to get the license to create baseball product. What Topps is doing is great and all that, but a little competition never hurt anyone.
All that said, if you have bought any sticker packs or if you plan too keep me in mind as I can see myself buying a lot more of these stickers in the near future.