By Ethan Cahn aka hhliving1101

Well, it’s no secret what has happened this last month, and the impact it will have on us as collectors here in the States. With Topps and Upper Deck out of the football card business for now, we are left with Italian sticker maker Panini, but was that choice more of a marketing tool than anything else?

We all know for the past few years, the NFL has showcased Premier Talent in the UK for a regular season game (usually toward the end of October), as well as preseason games in Mexico and Canada. Could this recent decision been based more on brand expansion above anything else? Is the NFL beginning its push to be as world-renowned as futbol (soccer), because let’s face it: world-wide, soccer has football beat hands down? Could this be the beginning of a giant push to bring in European teams? This could be a huge move on the NFL’s behalf to benefit the sport as a whole, to move forward.

Consider:

How many more cities can have a team before they start watering down the league with sub-par talent? The league keeps taking from the same talent pool (our current college players), and that’s what this situation could do (anyone else remember the XFL?).

OR

This situation could bring in a new breed of player the likes we haven’t seen in a while. If properly schooled and drilled, the talent could be incredible. The toughness of rugby, stamina of soccer, and finesse/patience of cricket:
can you see it now?

I am not a fan of the trading card decision and I don’t take it lightly, but I look at it with open eyes.  After what Upper Deck did in counterfeiting cards (yes, this issue wasn’t sports-related, but does that matter?), they tarnished the NFL internationally, too, not just themselves; they had to separate for the good of the sport.

People want to point blame and continue to harp on the fact that the collector is almost an afterthought in this.  While right now that may seem
true, in the long run this could be a very good thing for the sport. With that said, I am very scared as to what the 4 distributor system Panini has implemented will mean to us. I know in order for my local shop to get new boxes from them, they are going to have to go through 3 vendors before they can get them – and if each vendor is out to make a profit, along with the store, where does that leave us?

This is just a theory piece.  Do not take it as fact – it is an idea.