In today's hobby, it helps a brand's chances for success if collectors can easily figure out what it's all about. Entering its second season in 2007, Donruss Threads Football is hoping its autographed jersey letter rookie cards and four hits per box are enough to keep people coming back for more.
Hobby boxes of 2007 Donruss Threads hold 24 packs with five cards per pack. Expect to find at least two rookies numbered to 999 and 12 parallels or insert cards per box on average.
Base Cards and Parallels
Donruss base card designs can sometimes tend to be a little busy, but for the second straight year, Threads succeeds by playing it simple. The player photos are set against a white and team-color background, with silver stripes on each side and all player information at the bottom.
The 150 veterans in the base set have four levels of Century Proof parallels (Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum, numbered from 250 down to 25) which utilize the same basic design but set it all on shiny foil board. That's the same treatment given to the first 75 rookies in the set, who appear on cards numbered to 999. Veterans also get memorabilia parallels while the rookies get autographed parallels, all of which are numbered to 250 or less.
An additional 25 rookies have signed rookie cards numbered to 999 or less. And the final tier of first-year players, including all of the big names from the 2007 draft, have Rookie Class cards limited to no more than 250 copies. These cards feature the player's autograph on a letter from an authentic jersey nameplate, though it should be noted that they don't come from game-worn jerseys.
That's plenty of variety for a base set, and my review box displayed some of it. I found 92 veterans (plus 10 duplicates) along with two Bronze Century Proofs and a Gold Century Proof LaDainian Tomlinson numbered to 50. I also pulled three standard rookies (#'d to 999) and one Bronze Century Proof.
Some of the base cards in my box were damaged, but I do not believe this to be symptomatic of a wider quality control issue.
Memorabilia and Autographed Cards
Two memorabilia-only inserts are the backbone of Threads' jersey card program. Century Collection Materials presents swatches from 15 NFL greats, with the likes of Jerry Rice, Joe Montana and John Elway on the checklist. There are also prime swatch versions limited to 25 copies or less.
Rookie Collection Materials features gear worn by some of the top 2007 rookies at this year's NFL Rookie Premiere photo shoot. Along with prime swatch and autographed parallels, Threads also serves up Combos, Triples and Quads cards with swatches from two, three and four players respectively.
For the autograph crowd, College Greats Signatures take autographs from 20 players ranging from Lance Alworth to JaMarcus Russell and put them on cards depicting the players in their college days. There are also five dual-signature cards with pairings like Adrian Peterson and Barry Sanders, but these are tough pulls numbered to only five copies.
My sample box was kind of a dud on the memorabilia card and autograph front, turning up only two of the expected four hits: a Rookie Collection Materials Trent Edwards, and a Rookie Collection Triples Materials card with rookie receivers Calvin Johnson, Dwayne Bowe and Anthony Gonzalez.
For the second straight year, Threads is the home of Gridiron Kings, the venerable art-based insert that was once popular enough to be a complete set of its own. Sixty players appear in their NFL duds in Pro Gridiron Kings, while 40 more are pictured in their school unis in College Gridiron Kings. The college cards are especially cool, with legends like Dan Marino and Tony Dorsett on the checklist alongside rookies and rising NFL stars.
Both groups of Gridiron Kings take parallels to a point near overkill with 12 different levels of variations, including framed, memorabilia and autographed versions. Serial-numbering ranges from 250 copies for silver foil and regular jersey parallels down to 10 for black-framed and autographed, double prime jersey cards.
Rounding out the insert lineup are Century Stars and Century Legends, taking a closer look at the top players from the last 100 years, Generations, comparing two players from different eras of NFL history, and Dynasty, highlighting three teammates from current top teams. All of these inserts can also be found in regular and prime swatch memorabilia versions.
Plenty of inserts emerged from my review box, including two Century Stars, one Century Legends, one Dynasty and one Generations. I also pulled a total of five Gridiron Kings cards, most notably a Framed Blue parallel of Chargers rookie Craig "Buster" Davis numbered 36/50.
The Last Word
Even allowing for the fact that most boxes will have more content than the one I reviewed, Threads still feels like somewhat less than the sum of its parts. The Rookie Class signed jersey letter cards were popular last year, but one wonders if they can be found often enough to be a true hook for the product. The theming of the rest of the set isn't as tight as some of Donruss' other brands, especially the similar and more well-known Leaf Certified Materials.
Threads does offer decent value for its price, which should be under $90 for a hobby box. That's pretty reasonable if you want to take a shot at one of the Rookie Class cards, and you should end up with a few nice cards even if you miss.