2017 Panini Plates & Patches

Super Bowl LII ranks pretty high on the list of entertaining championship matchups over the last few years. I went into Super Bowl week with pretty limited expectations. Neither the Philadelphia Eagles nor the New England Patriots land in my list of favorite teams. The Patriots broke my heart as a Falcons fan last year and like most of America, aside from New Englanders, I’ve grown tired of seeing them in the big game over and over. As for the Eagles, they took down my Falcons this year and they don’t have a great track record of endearing themselves to fans outside of their region either.

Illustration: NFL.com

Needless to say, I didn’t go into the game with a tremendous rooting interest on either side. It ultimately boiled down to who I’d like to see win the least. I know, that sounds like a pretty horrible way to enjoy a Super Bowl but I am certain I was not alone in that camp. Because of the heartburn that has existed since last year’s Super Bowl, I had to tie my fandom to Philly for this game. I wasn’t very confident in the Eagles ultimately being victorious but I simply couldn’t get very excited about the Pats hoisting another Lombardi trophy.

As the game started to unfold, I found myself feeling a little more invested in the game than I initially expected. The Eagles played very well in the first half and found themselves going into the locker room at halftime with a 22-12 lead. That lead was thanks to a rather gutsy call by Doug Pederson on 4th and goal with :38 seconds remaining. Instead of attempting a field goal with a 15-12 lead, the Eagles went for it and ran a trick play that resulted in Nick Foles catching a pass from Trey Burton for the score. After the extra point, the underdogs made a statement that they were there to win!

As the Pats came out in the 2nd half, I couldn’t help but think back to the way everything unfolded just a year ago when my Falcons has that infamous 28-3 lead. The Pats took their opening drive 75 yards for a score and Rob Gronkowski made his presence felt. The Eagles responded with a touchdown scoring drive of their own, capped off by a 22 yard catch by Corey Clement. The Pats answered again with another 75 yard scoring drive, finished by another Gronk TD. This time, they took a 33-32 lead. As a long time football fan who has seen numerous big games, this felt like another Pats comeback win.

4 Trading Card Frame Kit

Black Aluminum. (silver aluminum pictured) Outside Frame Dimensions: 8-1/4 x 10-1/4″ Windows: 2-3/8 x 3-3/8″ Each kit includes: * Clear acrylic front sheet; 3/32″ thick; blocks 98% of UV rays * Outer front window mat (specify color) * Inner front window mat and outer back window mat, both the same color (specify color) * Appropriate number of PAT-tested, crystal clear, polypropylene sleeves, to mount cards * 4 aluminum frame pieces * 4 backing corners with 8 screws * Hanger Note: All mats are white-backed with cream cores.

But not so fast! Nick Foles responded one more time and hit Zach Ertz with a lead changing touchdown pass that was ultimately confirmed after a lengthy review. The Eagles defense answered the bell and turned Brady over and a field goal gave the Eagles an 8 point lead with just over a minute remaining. I sat back in my chair, expecting to see Tom Brady pull another game winning drive out of his back pocket but for the first time in a long time, I watched a defense stop Brady in crunch time. The game turned out to be one of the most entertaining Super Bowls in several years, partly because my heart wasn’t overly invested and partly because the Patriots stranglehold on the NFL was briefly halted.

Photo: WSJ

As for sports cards, there were a few winners in that aspect as well. Nick Foles has a great performance and his sales skyrocketed on eBay in the direct aftermath of the game. His autographs from Panini Contenders were topping out in the $300 range, which was up from around $40 just a couple months before. Corey Clement was another winner as he had the best game of his young career. He had over 100 yards receiving, a tremendous touchdown catch in the back of the end zone and was the player who took the direct snap on the now famous 4th and goal play right before the half. Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz also had solid games and were noticeably hot in sales searches the next day.

As for the Patriots, the game did nothing to tarnish the career that Tom Brady has built. While his team lost and he had a crucial turnover late in the game, he also threw for over 500 yards and no reasonable NFL fan ever thought he was out of it until the final whistle. In fact, his last second Hail Mary pass was extremely close to being hauled in by Rob Gronkowski. Speaking of Gronk, he had a monster game and added to his legacy as an unstoppable tight end. He finished with 9 catches for 116 yards and 2 scores. If he had hauled in that final attempt, his iconic status would have been thrust into hyperspace. But as it would turn out, that final pass fell to the turf and the 2017 season was finished.

But wait! There’s more!

But just when you thought football was over, it’s trying to pull you right back in with another football card release. On Friday, February 9th, Panini released Plates & Patches. This product is an interesting release for the collectors who chase the hits as each box includes an autograph, relic and printing plate. The configuration of a hobby box is 1 pack with 5 cards and the additional 2 cards are both numbered, with one being to 50 or less. The cost of a hobby box is currently around $90. The autograph in each box could be either a veteran autograph or a rookie RPA (Rookie Patch Auto).

The “base” card in the box was this Calvin Johnson Legends Card. It was numbered 33/75 and had a nice thick stock, resulting in a nice premium feel.

The second card from the box was the low numbered card of Hines Ward. This was numbered 7/25 and has a nice green foil look to it. As a Bulldog fan, I always love adding a Georgia Legend to my collection.

The relic in the box was this dual card of Robert Kelley and Samaje Perine. Both Patches were “player worn” and only the Perine was multi-colored. I haven’t quite figured out where the gold patch for Kelley comes from. This was numbered 25/50.

The printing plate was of an Ohio State Buckeye rookie, Curtis Samuel. Samuel was drafted by the Panthers and had an up and down start to his career. He does have some world class speed and flashes some raw athleticism from time to time. I think he’ll have a productive career and will develop a nice hobby following.

When it comes to world class speed, no one compares to John Ross III. He ran a record breaking 4.22 in the 40 yard dash at the combine but also injured himself at the end of the run. It would be the first of many injuries that would ultimately derail his rookie season. He was the #9 overall pick on the 2017 Draft and if he can stay healthy, has a chance to endear himself to the Bengals faithful. Now that I own an RPA numbered to 99, I have a little extra incentive to hope for that to happen!

I’m a fan of Plates and Patches as the set offers some premium memorabilia and is the only set to provide 1 printing plate per box. Even the base cards are falling at 1-2 per box so they are more rare than normal as well. As with any product, you have a chance to hit big here but also take on some risk with this being a 5 Card box. I’ll probably take another shot or two at a hobby box before the next football product comes out.


9 Trading Card Frame Kit

3/4″ Black Wood. (silver aluminum pictured) Outside Frame Dimensions: 12-1/8 x 15-1/8″ Windows: 2-3/8 x 3-3/8″ Each kit includes: * Clear acrylic front sheet; 3/32″ thick; blocks 98% of UV rays * Outer front window mat (specify color) * Inner front window mat and outer back window mat, both the same color (specify color) * Appropriate number of PAT-tested, crystal clear, polypropylene sleeves, to mount cards * Assembled frame * Sawtooth hanger Note: All mats are white-backed with cream cores.