So think about this.. starting next year all four major US sports will have exclusive contracts with just one card manufacturer.
Topps has baseball.
Panini has basketball and will have football all to itself as well. And I'm sure will continue to put out unlicensed MLB stuff.
Upper Deck has hockey.
This might be great for the companies, but for collector's and fans that really sucks. I don't collect hockey or basketball. I've come to realize that we shouldn't expect anything extraordinary from Topps so this is aimed at Panini and it's football license.
As a guy who has really culled down his set building I can safely say I probably won't be putting anymore football sets together in the future. Panini really only has one brand aimed at set collector's and that's Score and they ruined that this year by taking it upscale. Hey Panini I'll help you out here. Make a set call it Panini Football, get some good photo's, don't crop out the player and put them on a background, don't use foilboard, make the set at least 400 cards, limit your parallels, put in some inserts that aren't half-assed, create something new, from scratch, don't go back to the same well, we don't need a Donruss football, we don't need Pacific football, don't short print anything in the base set, don't number in autographed rookie cards to the base set. Here's a few more ideas, feel free to use what you want. How about Ref cards, haven't seen those in a few decades, cards of the head coaches, they don't get enough love, team checklist cards that either feature the full team or perhaps their stadium. Have the set come out a little later so you know who made the cut and feature those rookies instead of the 100's of guys you get auto's from who didn't make the team.
Whew ok rant over, I've got to get back to work.