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A Contenders Confidential: Panini America Unveils 2013 Contenders Football RCs

September 22, 2013

Panini America 2013 Contenders Football Confidential (39)

For many of the most dedicated football card collectors on the planet, this glorious Week 3 Sunday of the 2013 NFL season is a day you’ve been eagerly anticipating for months. It’s a day that, in hindsight, might be remembered as something of Christmas in September. It’s the day, after all, that we unveil the new Rookie Card designs for Panini America’s 2013 Contenders Football.

One of the most important and revered football brands in NFL trading card history turns 21 this season, carrying with it another splendid rendition of the landmark Rookie Ticket design and a few new additions to the autograph roster that will surprise even the most tenured Contenders collectors. Get all of the details after the jump.

One of the most pressing questions regarding any new Contenders Rookie Ticket design is a simple one: Vertical or horizontal? In the decorated 15-year history of Contenders’ autographed Rookie Tickets, the cards have sported a vertically oriented design 11 times, with just 2002, 2003, 2009 and 2011 featuring a horizontal design.

(Speaking of rookie tickets, the one to have later today is the one that lets you watch EJ Manuel and the Buffalo Bills battle Geno Smith and the New York Jets. That’s this week’s #PaniniWildCard game so stay tuned to the Panini America Twitter feed beginning today at noon CST for more information.)

For 2013, Panini America keeps with the brand’s vertical-format roots on cards that boast crisp action photography, a bold team-color scheme, subtle foil touches and plenty of short-printed variations (including Cracked IceHolofoil and photo variation versions). 2013 Contenders Football also includes a radically reimagined Rookie Ink insert design that instantly ranks among the most unique of the season.

More breaking news for 2013 Contenders Football: Panini America has added two new rookie-dedicated autograph inserts in NFLPA Rookie Premiere Autographs and a Contenders version of Pen Pals.

Without further ado, then, we present the world-premiere unveiling of the 2013 Contenders Football Rookie Ticket designs. Most of what you’re about to see is unsigned at this point, but at the end of the gallery you’ll also find autographed versions of some of the earliest arrivals, including Eddie Lacy and Marquise Goodwin.

Enjoy the gallery and stay tuned to The Knight’s Lance for additional coverage of 2013 Contenders Football.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. Michael Phillips permalink
    September 22, 2013 9:30 am

    Big fan of the new design…glad to see the Cracked Ice are returning for another year. Good job, guys!

  2. A.J. permalink
    September 22, 2013 10:16 am

    Hey Tracy, what is the point of the bar code on the front of some cards?

    • steve s. permalink
      September 22, 2013 12:21 pm

      good point, what’s up with that? is it a special promo?

    • September 22, 2013 3:22 pm

      I’m guessing birthday by the numbers underneath.

  3. September 22, 2013 10:17 am

    Looks Great! Must pull the Eddie Lacy Autos!

  4. The Alt permalink
    September 22, 2013 10:53 am

    I like the design and the concept of player’s bar code with birth date. I will buy some packs and hope to hit a Lacy or Michael ticket. My biggest complaint- WHY large font “ROOKIE” if you already have enlarged RC logo??? It is simply an overkill that hurts your brand quality. We collectors are not that stupid so we don’t need to be reminded that the player is a rookie. Do one way or another. My suggestion for the future- do away with large “rookie” fonts on all of your brands. RC logos will suffice. Thanks.

    • steve s. permalink
      September 22, 2013 12:25 pm

      i agree. less fonts and flash. more game action photos shots is needed.

  5. September 22, 2013 11:43 am

    I think I really like these. A little strange, but they’re pretty nice.

  6. September 22, 2013 11:57 am

    Like the design this year. Looks sharp. I’m not really seeing it, so I’m going to ask. Is there any way to tell the photo variation from the base card?

    • September 22, 2013 4:27 pm

      Good question. Not that I know of at this point; but will try to do a complete visual gallery when possible.

  7. September 22, 2013 1:47 pm

    Look’s like another GREAT YEAR for Contenders Football! Well Done!

  8. September 22, 2013 2:33 pm

    Solid design this year, seems more orderly so players know where to sign on the card. Thanks Tracy!

  9. September 22, 2013 3:22 pm

    Very colorful overall!!!

  10. Nick Gauder permalink
    September 22, 2013 7:33 pm

    Love it!! Contenders will be a hit like always! Great job Panini!

  11. September 22, 2013 8:42 pm

    dont like the side autos

  12. Sport Card Collectors permalink
    September 23, 2013 10:16 am

    Very solid. Nice job again on this design.

  13. Sean permalink
    September 23, 2013 11:56 am

    When will the list of Roundtable stores be posted? I need to know who to buy Prizm from

  14. Marshall McNair permalink
    September 24, 2013 2:22 pm

    Very creative with the “admit one-(stadium name)” on the side of the card another great set up of football cards!!!

  15. January 31, 2014 12:38 pm

    i pulled a Knile Davis thats auto’ed on both sides…any news on how many are like this?


  1. Panini Peek: 2013 Contenders Football | The Official Panini America Blog

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