Saturday, November 15, 2014

Nostalgic Box Break: 1997 Collector's Choice FOOTBALL! (Part One)

First of all, I must once again announce that I am indeed still alive.

Second of all, I should probably add that the box I am about to begin posting about was ripped a little over a month ago. I am just now getting around to posting it. I've had a very busy month or so, and college is not being kind to my blogging mindset.

But who cares, because I'm finally getting a chance to post this box. It's part two of our tribute to 90's Collector's Choice, quite possibly the 2nd-best long running series of the 90's. Now we have a football edition of the 1997 set, which means the photography will be wilder than most football products.

One thing I should mention is that each box comes with a super-sized version of one of the major star cards of the box, sort of like a box-topper without the mojo. Mine, as you can see, was Dan Marino. It's much cooler in person though.

Alright, let's get on with the packs.

Pack One: Kevin Williams, Yancey Thigpen and Darren Bennett are our photo highlights. As you can see, the design is simple enough, has enough space for team color, and the photography tries to be wacky.

This, for example, is what the backs of cards look like. Just as a sample, they also have equally-awesome photos on the back, like Chris Gardocki's photo here.

This is the only thing close to a base star card in the pack, of Jason Sehorn, of the Giants, in the midst of one of the few great seasons in his short career. You probably know him for marrying Angie Harmon though.

Here are three of our inserts. The first is a Starquest of Fred Barnett, literally in his last season playing, two years removed from playing for Philly. The one in the middle is a Collector's Choice (?) insert of Mario Bates, two years removed from his only good season, in 1995. The one on the right is a Rookie Collection insert of Dwayne Rudd. He would have a decent career as a linebacker for the Vikings and Browns. Also, and this is a preview of what is to come, this is one of the more pedestrian photos this insert set used.

Pack Two- Our horizontal highlights here are of Alex Van Dyke, Rodney Thomas, and Terrell Buckley. Here, you can see just how cool the photos are. I like Buckley's because I feel like the cameraman snapped the photo at the exact right time. It captures all of the things coming at Buckley before it all crashes to the ground.

This is a very nice shot of Tommy Vardell signing some stuff for some confused fan. Man, this guy has some crappy luck. Plays with the Browns til their last season, then just as everybody else jets over to Baltimore, he's yanked to be on another crappy Lions squad, and then a crappy Niners squad. Nothing but back luck here.

One more really good back-of-the-card shot, of aging QB Jim Everett, being carted away on a golf cart during training camp.

Okay...THIS is what I was talking about when I spoke of the bizarre photography in this insert set. I mean...they're just too excited. Like they're being catapulted into the air by the world's strongest trampoline, or somebody's throwing them off of a cliff. These are just really, really funny. It reminds me of Wallace being thrown into the air in The Wrong Trousers, and yelling "Oh, sorry!" I know nobody else gets that reference, and I don't care.

Also, does anybody else find it funny that one of the guys being thrown into the air's name is Springs, and the other one sounds like Plummet? Just me?

These two did fairly well, actually. Springs was a journeyman DB, playing for a good 12 years. He's actually on the shortlist for the next HOF ballot, though don't hold your breath. Meanwhile, Jake Plummer had a nice career as the QB for Arizona and Denver.

These are two really nice Starquest inserts. First up is Robert Brooks of the Packers, a huge part of their 1996 Super Bowl win. Also, there is Brian Mitchell, an awesome WR/KR type who played for the Redskins, and also my Philadelphia Eagles. I worked with him on two separate shoots for NFL Network. Great guy.

Pack 3- Paul Justin, Lance Johnstone and William Henderson are the best photos here. Funny thing about this set is that they include a lot of kickers, punters, and backup QBs. Not nearly as many as Topps Total, but quite a few.

Two names I've heard of.  Veteran Defensive End Neil Smith is on the left, in a training camp pic, which is pretty nice. Marshall Faulk is the obvious star card, still with the Colts.

Okay, now I'm officially in love with this insert set. These two photos just make me smile, especially Rae Carruth's. That's right--a card of a convicted felon is making me smile big. Neither of these two really did anything (except kill somebody, in Carruth's case).

One more shot of Carruth, of the photo they used for the card back. Man, that does not look like a murderer.

Our Starquest insert is of Frank Sanders, who had a nice career as a receiver for the Cardinals.

Pack 4- A few nice sideways shots. One of them is a double. 90's collation at its finest.

A couple of great shots. Larry Centers passes a ball around on the sideline. Chris Chandler poses next  to the name of the team he will quarterback until a certain dog-lover named Vick comes along. Herman Moore takes a break on the sideline. Looks like he's using a defibrillator.

Two very nice, and very 97-centric, star cards. Desmond Howard had just finished a season with the World Champion Green Bay Packers, and decided he wanted to suck for a while, so he went to the Raiders. Meanwhile, Boomer Esiason spent one last season back on the Bengals before calling it a day.

These inserts are Building Blocks, in which they throw a bunch of players that are making the team great on a card, and show how they got to be on that team. Here in Titans, Bucs and Rams varieties.

A second-year Starquest card of Bobby Engram, who would have a decent enough career, but would be best known as a Bear.

Pack Five- Pictured are Rick Mirer, signing autographs for some fans who clearly have the wrong first round pick, John Carney going for a Charlie Brown, Jimmy Stewart, Russell Maryland going up against a Jets QB that is probably Vinny Testaverde, and Jerris McPhail facing down an Eagle.

Here is Flipper Anderson, avoiding a tackle from an angry Patriot.

And here are two borderline Hall of Famers and perennial Super Bowl ring receivers. Mason's is, I believe, his rookie card, and Bruschi is just clobbering a Bronco, probably as payback for Flipper.

Our inserts incude a Broncos Building Blocks insert, a rookie card of Troy Davis, who never did anything, and veteran Pro Bowler Herman Moore.

Those are five packs for one night. I'll get to posting some more eventually, hopefully sooner than later.

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