I felt the same way when I went to my local Walmart and saw blaster boxes of sports cards on the shelves for the first time in months.
So I grabbed a blaster box of 2021 Panini Contenders Draft Picks, since NFL minicamps are coming up soon.
The Contenders product line features current draft picks, of course, but also established NFL players pictured during their college days.
A blaster contains seven packs, with six cards to a pack. Pulling an autograph from a blaster is unusual, but the fates were with me as I found a College Ticket insert red parallel of Cal defensive back Camryn Byrum, who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings.
Remember: Thirsty man on a desert. That card was a nice oasis.
The base set has 100 Season Ticket cards, and I pulled 35 from the box I bought.
The design is clean, with a lot of foil, and, as the product name implies, has a ticket theme. The photograph on the card front shows the player in action, with the college team logo in the upper right-hand part of the picture.
The player’s name and position appear across a small black banner, framed by a white border and positioned underneath his photograph.
“Season Ticket” is in bold black, italic letters beneath the player’s name, with a seat, row and section randomly chosen and stamped in silver foil. There are three diagonal bars stamped in foil above the team logo, which breaks up the white border that surrounds the photograph.
The player’s college team logo dominates the upper-right hand side of the card and is positioned under the card’s number. The player’s name is featured in white type inside a black box, and there are 10 lines of ragged right type that provide highlights and statistics about the player’s college career.
In addition to the base cards and autograph, the blaster box I bought had two Game Ticket red parallels and four inserts. The Game Ticket cards featured Big Ten rivals Tom Brady (Michigan) and Ezekiel Elliott (Ohio State). The ticket “stub” is stamped in red foil.
The inserts include two Legendary Contenders cards, which are part of a 20-card subset. The cards I pulled were Peyton Manning (Tennessee) and Russell Wilson (Wisconsin). Unlike the base cards, the photographs of the players in this insert set are displayed in black and white against a blurred reddish background. The Wilson card was a red parallel.
Draft Class is a 40-card insert set, and I pulled a Zach Wilson rookie card red parallel. Ragged right type on the back of this card, too.
The final insert I pulled was a Front Row Seats card of Terrace Marshall. This insert also has 40 cards, but the design is horizontal on the front. Back to ragged right for the type on the back.
Overall, a clean-looking set. Collectors who enjoy delving into the past of NFL stars and upcoming rookies will enjoy this concept.