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The Texas-based company called Donruss Playoff has been in the football card business since the 1990's. But the most famous part of the name - Donruss - has been around a lot longer than that, and it has a somewhat complicated history.
Formed in 1954 by combining the first names of brothers Donald and Russell Weiner, Donruss made its mark the way many early card companies did: making gum. It wasn't until 1981 when a court decision gave other companies the chance to challenge the Topps baseball card monopoly that Donruss entered the sports card business. Just a few years later, after the manufacturer merged with Leaf, the 1984 Donruss Don Mattingly rookie card became one of the industry's icons.
After falling on hard times in the 1990's, Donruss was acquired by Pinnacle Brands (best known for its Score line of sports cards) in 1996. Just two years later, Pinnacle went bankrupt, allowing Playoff to enter the picture by buying the rights to the Donruss, Leaf and Score names. The naming process came full circle in a way when the company changed its name to Donruss Playoff in 2001.
Though its components have produced cards for all four major sports at various times, Donruss Playoff currently holds only an NFL license. That hasn't stopped it from continuing to create new products, which are well known for their creative memorabilia cards and strong sense of sports history.