While several early season Donruss football releases are celebrating a decade in the game, Threads is a relative pup. So far the brand seems to be best known for its signed jersey letter Rookie Class cards, plus it's also the home of the famous Gridiron King inserts.
Hobby boxes of 2008 Donruss Threads Football hold 24 five-card packs. Each box should contain four memorabilia or autographed cards and at least two numbered rookies.
Base Cards and Parallels
The 2008 Threads base cards manage to be colorful despite using a lot of white and silver. Player photos are set against a team color-tinted background that fades to white at the edges, a technique that is popular with the Donruss designers this season. Partial circles in the four corners hold team logos, position and number while the player name runs across the bottom. Card backs are a little sparse thanks to quite a bit of blank space.
Player selection is a tad better than some of Donruss' other football sets with 150 veterans leading the way. A total of 150 2008 rookies also appear, split between two tiers: 100 regular rookies or autographed rookies (#'d to 999) and 50 Rookie Class with autographs on authentic (though not game-used) jersey letters from the players' last names (#'d to 240 or less). The Rookie Class checklist is very strong, including all of the big names from the 2008 draft class.
All of the base cards get four levels of Century Proof parallels with numbering ranging between 25 and 250 copies. Veterans also get Threads Jerseys parallels featuring game-worn jersey swatches that come in regular and prime versions.
A random hobby box opened for this review produced 101 of the 150 base veterans, with five duplicates and two Century Proof parallels. On the rookie front, I found no regular, autographed or Rookie Class cards but did pull a Silver Century Proof Adarius Bowman (#'d to 100) and a Gold Century Proof Charles Godfrey (#'d to 50).
Memorabilia Cards and Autographs
It's only natural that a set called Threads would have plenty of game-used cards. Highlighting the 2008 programs are Century Collection Materials, with a checklist of past greats the like of Steve Largent, John Elway and Mike Singletary, and Rookie Collection Materials, which come in single, double, triple and quad versions and focus on some of the top 2008 newcomers.
Plenty of combo cards are also available in the form of Generations Materials, dual memorabilia cards that put past and present together, and Dynasty Materials, triple swatch cards with three players from NFL championship teams. Both sets also have lower-numbered prime swatch variations.
Other game-used offerings are parallels to the product's various sets, including Century Stars and Century Legends.
The primary autographed set is College Greats Signatures, which collect ink from 15 players ranging from Y.A. Tittle all the way up to Darren McFadden. In addition, there are five dual signature cards that feature pairings of college teammates, like Cal's DeSean Jackson and Marshawn Lynch.
Two of the memorabilia cards in my sample box had a distinct historic flair. The first was a Generations Prime Materials card with two-color swatches from sack masters Reggie White and Michael Strahan, while the second was a Century Legends Materials card with an old school jersey piece from Otto Graham.
Like most Donruss football sets, Threads has a full complement of regular insert cards, most of which are plainer versions of the memorabilia and autographed cards in the section above. I pulled a total of five of these kinds of inserts from my review box.
One insert set that deserves special mention is Gridiron Kings, the football counterpart to Donruss' famed art-based Diamond Kings cards. They've bounced around between products over the years and even formed the basis of their own set at one time, but they've taken up residence in Threads for the time being.
Just like they were in their 2007 appearance, the 2008 Gridiron Kings are divided into College and Pro subsets, each with a 50-player checklist. They come in an eye-popping number of parallel levels (11 for Pro and 13 for College) that differ based on numbering, border or frame color and the inclusion of autographs or game-worn pieces.
This season's cards have the same treatment that makes it look like they are printed on canvas, but the actual size of the picture is smaller than in 2007. I pulled a total of four Pro and three College Gridiron Kings. Included among these were the last two hits in my sample box: a Pro Gridiron Kings Materials Dwayne Bowe with two red swatches and a College Gridiron Kings Signatures Jamaal Charles numbered to 25.
The Last Word
Threads is a brand that is still feeling its way a little bit. It seems to be missing one thing it can absolutely hang its hat on, as the Rookie Class cards don't appear in every box and Gridiron Kings feel like they took a slight step back from last year. On the plus side, the base cards may be the nicest Donruss has produced so far this season, the inserts show the company's usual respect for the history of the game and the value for the price ($4 SRP per pack) is very solid, which is actually a good way to describe the entire set in 2008.