2006 Finest Football

What I pulled--

Parallels and Inserts:
Red Refractor - Drew Bledsoe (#60/399), Daunte Culpepper (#309/399), Jeff Webb (#210/399)
Blue Refractor - Clinton Portis (#125/299), Kamerion Wimbley (#217/299)
Red X-Fractor - Ronnie Brown (#63/250), Peyton Manning (#85/250)
Green Refractor - Braylon Edwards (#95/199)
Blue X-Fractor - Jimmy Williams (#59/150)
Black Refractor - P.J. Pope (#93/99)
Brett Favre Finest Moments - BF2: Named MVP Three Consecutive Years
Brett Favre Finest Moments Red Refractor - BF14: Led NFL in TD Passes Four Times (#102/399)
Brett Favre Finest Moments Blue  Refractor - BF6: Ranks in Top 3 (#227/299)
Johnny Unitas Finest Moments  Box Topper - JU9: Named To NFL 75th Anniversary Team

Base Autograph - Marques Hagans
Green Refractor Autograph - Ingle Martin (#199/199)
Gold Refractor Autograph - Ingle Martin (#12/49)

I'm a big, big fan of the Topps Finest line of products. Always have been, always will be. But there was
something this year that left me a bit empty when I was finished opening this box.

Maybe it is the continued level of excellence Finest brings to the table, and that I seem to always want it to
go one step further from year to year. The cards are sharp, the pictures are great, the design is clean and
appealing (although I am not a big fan of the font used for the player names). The Refractor parallels are
here, as always, and are the stars of the product, coming in multiple colors in decreasing quantities, all
with X-Fractor versions in even smaller numbers. The autographs are back, as well, falling one per
mini-box. I wasn't thrilled with the autos I pulled, and am surprised in the poor collation that my box had,
after I pulled two different Ingle Martin (who?) autographs.

This year's insert subject is Brett Favre, who is more than worthy of the honor. The Favre Finest Moments
cards fall one per mini-box and offer highlights of the Packer QB's career. These cards also have Refractor
and X-Fractor variations, and the design is very attractive, except for a font that is worse than the base
cards. The boxtopper is a Johnny Unitas Finest Moment card, and, as with Favre, there are very few players
in the history of the game more worthy of being placed on this pedestal. Unitas truly is a legend, and
being able adding a card like this to a collection is a nice idea offered by Topps.

So where does this empty feeling come from? I can say maybe from the autographs. The problem with
football rookie card autographs is that there are just so many players drafted, and undrafted, that make
rosters yet never play that loading up a product with players of that ilk can't help but feel underwhelming. I
think in a "Super Premium" product such as this, it might not be a bad idea to raise the bar on the autograph list a little and
trim some of the fat, saving players like that for base or lesser issues. I'm sure there are very obvious reasons, of course, but
at around $10 a pack, with odds of pulling an autograph at 1 in 6, I think a little more bang for the buck might be the way to go.

How does all of this affect my grade for 2006 Finest? Unfortunately, as much as I usually love the brand, feeling
underwhelmed and disappointed goes a long way. This one is a rare misstep from Topps........................