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2009 SPx Football Review

Posted by houstoncollector on October 2, 2009

If you’ve been reading this for a while, you know that I’m not a huge fan of the hit-per-pack phenomenon, simply because it’s nothing but a huge gamble, where you spend $20 or more to get one item, which is likely a single-color swatch of material, normally white, that you’d throw on eBay for $1 + shipping if you’re lucky.  Since 2007, SPx has been one of the major culprits of this, although it routinely sells quite well.  On Thurday, 2009 SPx Football went live, and I was lucky enough to take part in a group case break of the product, which allowed me to see 10 boxes being broken live, and to see a number of the cards going live.

The break didn’t concentrate on the base cards, and to be honest, SPx has never been about base cards, so I’m not really going to talk about them here.  Instead, what I’m going to discuss is some of the good and bad that I saw during this break, but first, let me link the two videos that are up, of boxes 1-4 and 5-7.  For some reason, the final boxes didn’t get recorded, but it shouldn’t affect our viewing.  Also, I would like to thank NDePaul99 for both holding this group break, and for linking to my blog from his Youtube videos.  Both were highly appreciated.

Here’s part one, and here’s part two. (NSFW for language)

First off, this case was absolutely loaded.  Now, while he wasn’t looking at the base, and thus I don’t know how many of the Vick and Favre cards hit, all of the major rookies were hit, including three Mark Sanchez cards and two Ray Malauga.  Knowshon Moreno, Michael Crabtree, Matt Standford and Percy Harvin all showed up.

One major drawback is the fact that the triple-GU RC AU card is always in the same pack each box.  I’m not going to say where it is, but I’d be very careful about buying unsealed boxes of this product.  I’m not sure if the Shadowbox cards are in the same box each time, but I’d be careful of that also.

Speaking of the Shadow Boxes, these are absolutely gorgeous and Upper Deck needs to be commended here for totally raising the bar as far as giving us something innovative to look for.  Our case had two Shadow Box cards, and while neither was autographed, they’re still absolutely beautiful, as you can see in the first video at approximately 10:46.

For the rest of the GU and Autographed card variants, I’m going to take them in the order that they’re pulled.  The Rookie Materials Dual cards are very nice, with a minimum of wasted space, just a small section in the lower right, presumably where an autograph sticker would go if it’s an autographed variant.  The player picture takes up the left half of the card, and it honestly looks pretty damn good.

The triple-GU Auto RCs look … pretty much the same as last year, although it’s on gold foil instead of the silver from last year.  It looks better, but it still has the three football-shaped die-cut windows, and getting three swatches of the same color is a bit disappointing, although I expect each swatch to be one color, it’d be nice to have different colors overall.

The Winning Materials Dual look as good as the Rookie Materials do, with the swatch windows placed nicely on the right and no real wasted space.  Again, the player picture takes up a good half of the card, which is definitely better than only having a small picture.  The Xfactor Signatures also look very nice, with the auto sticker fitting in at the bottom and the card being dominated by the player’s picture.  I don’t really like the huge amount of open space on the right-hand side of the card, but it’s a minor gripe only to be honest.

The Winning Materials Singles also look pretty good, with the swatch almost in the middle of the card, and the not just placed in the same position as the Dual swatch cards, with two other spots that you’d think were normally swatch windows given to the team logo and the player’s number.  It’s the little things that make products work, and this definitely helps the design of the card.  Kudos here to Upper Deck.  Granted, it’s the same overall design as the dual Materials cards, but the placement of the swatch balances this out.

The Super Scripts autos are a step back, especially compared to the Xfactor cards, as almost the entire right-hand side of the card is blank.  I’m not sure if it’s because there’s a version of the Super Scripts that also come with game-used pieces, but it really is unbalanced, and needs to be more like the other type of auto.  Maybe making the Super Scripts auto horizontal instead of vertical could help, but I’m not honestly sure on this one.  The Super Scripts duos look just as bad, and really needed to have been horizontal to show off the players instead of using tiny windows for the player picture.

The rookie cards and auto’d rookies also look very nice, but again, there’s a lot of open space on the right-hand side of these cards, which I’m not certain why that is.  They still have nice-sized player photographs, which is highly appreciated.  Now, the Winning Dual Combo cards are …. really not good.  First off, it’s obvious that they use the same format for the dual player GU as well as the dual player AU, which means you have tiny player pictures on the left, the swatch windows, and then huge open spaces to the right. The dual-player GU cards really should have had their own design, perhaps vertical, with larger player windows and a spot to the right for the swatch.  The design works for the dual-AU cards, but it’s absolutely wretched for dual-player GU cards.

Now for the items that … really stuck out as being just bad designs.  First, if you’re going to have a patch card, or prime jersey, or whatever you want to call it, you need to make sure these cards have more than one color, and are patch cards.  I received a Matt Schaub ‘patch’ card that was a single red swatch.  Now, it may have been because this was a piece of the number, as it’s a thicker card, I’m not sure, but there were at least 2-3 of these in the case, and it’s very confusing on the collector’s end of things.  That being said, there were some nice patches in the box.

For the truly stupid decision, however, take a look at 20:26 of the second video.  We pulled a triple-GU card of Peyton Manning numbered to /10.  Here’s where the ludicrous set in:  It’s 3 GU pieces, no autograph….all white swatches.  The only thing that made this card ‘rare’ was the fact that it’s numbered to 10.  No card numbered that low should ever have white swatches.  Ever. This is the one card in the set that really made me think ‘What the hell is UD up to here?’.

Over all, the set is very solid at the box and case level, although be very careful about who you buy boxes from if the location of the Shadow Box cards turns out to be the same in each case, which I’m currently unsure about.  At the pack level, be very careful about buying these in a store and make sure that the store owner mixes the packs up when opening the box.  Otherwise, people can (and will) cherry pick the triple-GU-AU rookie cards, leaving you with little chance of actually getting them.  I wouldn’t even bother to touch these in single-pack form to begin with, and most definitely not on eBay, simply because I couldn’t stand spending $20 to get a single-color swatch of a player, period.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I would have to give 2009 Upper Deck SPx football a 7 out of 10.

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