That’s because Panini is promising at least one autograph or one relic card in every blaster box. The box I opened had a relic card — a blaster-exclusive Newcomers card of Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst. There are 35 cards in the Newcomers set.
A blaster box holds eight packs, with eight cards to a pack. The base set includes 100 veterans and 50 rookies, and there are 40 Rookie Material Autograph cards.
The blaster box I opened had 53 base cards and four rookies. The design on the card front is vertical, with the team name running up and down the right side of the page with letters perpendicular to the cutout action shot of the player. The team name is printed in an italic block font, with one of the team’s primary colors used to fill in the letters. In most cases, another team primary color is used as the background on the card front.
The design for the card back borrows the front photo but tints the background with a primary team color. The photo runs down the left-hand side of the card. In the middle of the card is a seven-line biography, and beneath that are stat lines from the 2017 season. The team logo is in the top right quarter of the card.
There are plenty of elements at play with this set, but it surprisingly is not intrusive or busy looking. The only complaint I have is for player cards whose teams have gold as a primary color. The player’s name blends into the background too easily. Cards featuring Washington Redskins players are a prime example.
The design for the rookie cards is different than what is used for the veterans’. Instead of a team name running down the right side of the card front, the word “Rookies” runs down the left side. The cutout action shots of the players show them wearing the logos of the teams that drafted them. The rookies I pulled were Logan Woodside (Bengals), Vita Vea (Bucs), Jordan Whitehead (Bucs) and Kurt Benkert (Falcons).
The card backs are similar to the designs used for the base cards, with red a dominant color.
There were four different inserts inside the blaster box I opened.
Introductions is a 20-card subset that gives information on rookie players. The two cards I pulled were of No. 1 draft pick Baker Mayfield and the Steelers’ Jaylen Samuels.
Late Game Heroics takes a horizontal design and showcases a player’s clutch performance; there are 20 cards in this set, and I pulled a Russell Wilson card that showcased a 41-38 Seahawks victory against the Texans.
The 1-2 Punch insert set also consists of 20 cards. This subset highlights player combinations that have been effective in the NFL. The card I pulled featured Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and running back Christian McCaffrey.
Another insert card I found was a Revolutionaries card of Miami Dolphins Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino. This 20-card insert set features players who were groundbreaking players during their NFL careers.
That plays into the final insert card I pulled, appropriately called Covering Ground. This insert features running backs and receivers who chew up chunks of yardage every time they touch the football. The card I pulled is an excellent example: Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones.
The 2018 Absolute Football is shiny, with lots of foil and plenty of vibrant colors. There is a good mixture of veterans and rookies, and collectors who prowl retail stores can pick up a nice hot card from a blaster box. It’s a nice guarantee.