Friday, January 4, 2019

A Four-Pack Blister of 2018 Panini Donruss, or Why Football Cards Again?

Hello, football cards. It's been a while.

Those of you who are longtime readers of the blog (, 2 of you), you'll remember that from 2010 until somewhere around late 2014, there was a lot of football card content on the blog. Why? Because I had enough time and energy to remember all of the good players, and collect the ones I wanted. Also, I did get a ton of hobby boxes of current Panini products from a top-secret source (who...hasn't made it to the merch room in a while), and got a few consecutive Topps flagship factory sets. So I had the materials to collect, but once I hopped off to college, I lost the time. And I collected less and less football, and the amount of people to keep track of grew and grew.

So...I haven't really collected a ton of football cards since roughly 2015. Since Topps lost their license. And then, on Christmas Day, my dad figured he'd throw in a blister of 2018 Donruss. Because it'd been a while. I am with four packs of Donruss, with a bonus card of Clay Matthews, Packers hero. I'm not gonna know a lot of these players, so I'll use pro-football reference for help.

 Pack 1-
Kyle Long, who is an offensive tackle for Da Bears, and is expected to play against the Eagles on Sunday.
Kevin Byard's an All-Pro safety from Memphis.
Jacquizz Rodgers I have heard of, don't forget that name. Used to be a steady running back for Atlanta, now stuck in Tampa.
And Brandin Cooks, who I have heard of, is one of the chief receivers of a strong, playoff-bound Rams team. Glad he's not on the Pats anymore.

 Two players I have DEFINITELY heard of. And yes, there is a reason I have them stuck next to each other. Because one took down the other earlier this year.
Always great to get Foles cards. Always great.
I should talk about the design, and it's...alright? Kind of forgettable, though I do like that they're trying for the 84 Donruss white lines down there. It's striking enough, but very minimal.

 Card backs are solid. There are career stats, but like usual with Panini the year splits are truncated. Definitely colorful and simple enough, if...a bit drab.

 Rookies at least look cool. Very '07 Bowman. Keke Coutee is essentially a backup receiver, but at least he's on the Texans.
DJ Chark is another backup, but he looks pretty damned cool on this Gridiron Kings insert. Very stylized. Helps that there are logos.

 Pack 2-
Kyle Juszczyk is a three-time pro-bowler fullback, who seems to be one of the highlights of the now perpetually-dreary niners rosters.
Jordan Howard was a pro-bowler in his first season in Chicago, and has been a steady mainstay as one of Mitchell Trubisky's favorite running back targets.
Evan Engram is a tight end for the Giants that's losing some serious playing time lately. Also, kinda odd that these Press Proof parallels aren't numbered or anything.
And AJ McCarron, who I had heard of, is the former Alabama QB who spent four years as Andy Dalton's backup...before becoming Derek Carr's.

 Julian Edelman's another one of those stinking Pats, though at least it's another one I've heard of.
Courtland Sutton had a fine enough rookie year, but it's too early to tell if he'll become a mainstay.

One thing I do like about this base set is the peppering of legends, like Bradshaw, along with inserts that occasionally feature other Hall of Famers. A Steelers hot pack!

 Pack 3-
Like a lot of rookies in this set, Marcell Ateman didn't see a lot of time this year.
Jimmy Smith is one of the few remaining ring-holders still left in Baltimore. Hopefully he keeps things up.
Kawann Short is an intimidating defensive tackle from Carolina. Again, a lot of people warrant cards these days, and I'm not sure which ones I'd choose to collect.

 Thankfully I'd heard of all four of these guys. Joe Klecko is an odd choice for a legend subset in a modern base set, but I'll take it. Faulk is welcome.
And then there's Agholor and Brees, two guys I love getting cards of. So I'm not complaining here.

 This year's Donruss throwback insert was from the 88D set, which looks relatively cool, especially with Matthew Stafford fitting right in with the blue.

 Pack 4-
George Kittle's a tight end that made a pro bowl this year.
Rashann Evans is an inside linebacker who was another rookie miss for Panini.
Anthony Barr is a four time linebacker pro-bowler with Minnesota
Michael Crabtree,  contrary to popular belief, is still playing. He's also carrying on the legacy of Donruss/Panini not finding new photos as of press time.
Tyrell Williams is a solid receiver for LA.
And Devin Funchess is a strong Carolina receiver whose 2018 numbers paled in comparison to his 2017 ones.

These last two cards prove that this blister was meant for a Steelers fan, with JJ's younger bro and a super-cool Legends Series insert of Rod Woodson.

So...this was interesting, if anything. Definitely enjoyed seeing what the product looks like now. I don't know if it's enough to get me back into collecting football, but it definitely amused me.


  1. Not a huge fan of this design... but the photography is pretty awesome. Kudos to Panini for their well-cropped action shots.

  2. I would have loved those packs of cards since I am a Steelers fan. Any chance the Steelers are available for trade? You can reach me at tim(underscore)gretchen(underscore)marriage AT

    Thanks, Tim