By: Andrew Harner, Editor-in-Chief 

In what all started as mainly a baseball insert set honoring several Hall of Famers in the early 1990s but also a tribute to Joe Montana and Joe Namath in 1991 and Walter Payton in 1992, the Upper Deck Heroes series is seeing a comeback in 2008 after a small insert in 2007 featuring the top draft picks.

Now, Football Heroes is boxed complete set with 245 football players as well as a small selection of Sports Heroes and Guitar Heroes which hurts the integrity of this set just a little. While it keeps the theme of legendary sports stars intact, it brings in the growing and somewhat controversial idea of bringing in popular culture icons to sports card sets.

The base set is broken into several sections. The first 100 cards (Football Heroes) feature four cards of 25 of the top NFL stars. The four card sets for each player include three action photos and one painting.

The next 100 cards (Rookie Heroes) are include two cards of 50 of the top 2008 NFL Draft picks. The third segment (Legendary Heroes) have three cards (one painting, two action) of 15 legends of the NFL including Barry Sanders, Jerry Rice and Jim Brown.

The non-football part of the set begins with Sports Heroes which span the numbers 246-275 and include three cards of many names including Travis Pastrana, Oscar De La Hoya and oddly enough, Chuck Norris. The final segment is the Guitar Heroes subset which includes two or three cards of Santana, Slash, Les Paul, Ted Nugent and many others.

So like it or not, a base set isn’t complete without these pop culture icons. However, I can already see several ways to start collecting this set when it hits shelves tomorrow.

  • Every card 1-300
  • Every NFL card 1-245
  • One of every player

Collect it how you will, but let’s take a look at what you have a chance of pulling from your first box of Upper Deck Football Heroes.

Each box contains the following:

  • Two on-card autographs
  • Two relic cards numbered to 199 or less
  • Eight foil parallel cards on average
  • 24, eight card packs

Each case will have the following:

  • One cut signature or one of one autograph
  • One autographed relic card numbered to 15 or less
  • Two patch cards

Parallels:

  • Green /350
  • Blue /125
  • Red /75
  • Gold /25
  • Platinum /10
  • Black /1
  • Printing Plates /1

Autographs:

Rookie Heroes Autographs – Five tiers of parallels to the 100 Rookie Heroes cards in the set. All cards are numbered to 350 or less.

Football Heroes Autographs – Three tiers of parallels to the 100 Football Heroes cards in the set. All cards are numbered to 25 or less.

Legendary Heroes Autographs – Three tiers of parallels to the 45 Legendary Heroes cards in the set. All cards are numbered to 40 or less.

Sports Heroes Autographs – Three tiers of parallels to the 15 Sports Heroes cards in the set. All cards are numbered to 25 or less.

Guitar Heroes Autographs – Three tiers of parallels to the 12 Guitar Heroes cards in the set. All cards are numbered to 25 or less.

Heroes Cut Signatures – There are 42 cut signature cards in Football Heroes and they include both football greats and non-football greats. Football players include Walter Payton, Johnny Unitas and Tom Landry. Non-NFL likenesses used include Dale Earnhardt, Payne Stewart and Richard Pryor. All cut signatures are one or ones.

Relics:

Football Heroes Jersey Cards – Three tiers of jersey parallels to the 100 Football Heroes in the set. All cards are numbered to 199 or less.

Football Heroes Patch Cards – Three tiers of patch parallels to the 100 Football Heroes in the set. All cards are numbered to 25 or less.

Legendary Heroes Jersey Cards - A jersey parallel to the 45 Legendary Heroes in the set. All cards are numbered to 25.

Legendary Heroes Patch Cards - A patch parallel to the 45 Legendary Heroes in the set. All cards are numbered to 10.

Football Heroes Retail Jersey – A jersey parallel to the 100 Football Heroes cards in the set.

Autographed Relics:

Football Heroes Autograph Jersey – An autographed jersey parallel to the 100 Football Heroes in the set. All cards numbered to 15.

Football Heroes Autograph Patch – An autographed patch parallel to the 100 Football Heroes in the set. All cards numbered to five.

Additional information:

There are 10 super “A” signatures falling approximately one per case. Players are:

1. Barry Sanders
2. Adrian Peterson
3. Brett Favre
4. Dan Marino
5. Jim Brown
6. Peyton Manning
7. John Elway
8. Ladainian Tomlinson
9. Tony Romo
10. Eli Manning

There is also eight super “A” Rookie Signatures falling approximately four per case. Players are:

1. Darren McFadden
2. Brian Brohm
3. Matt Ryan
4. Rashard Mendenhall
5. Felix Jones
6. Chad Henne
7. Joe Flacco
8. Jonathan Stewart