I tend to think of today’s featured insert set as the football card market’s answer to 1997/98 E-X2001 Jambalaya basketball. While 1999 Skybox Premium 2000 Men doesn’t possess Jambalaya’s name recognition, the two insert sets are comparable across a broad spectrum of categories. To see what I mean, let’s take a closer look at what 1999 Skybox Premium 2000 Men has to offer:
Design: oval-shaped and splashed with silver lettering and a silver border, these cards are highly memorable. Card backs are far subtler than card fronts (similar to Jambalaya).
Color Scheme: vivid patterns, bright player photos, and a shiny surface work together to mesmerize collectors. These cards really pop under a bright light and need to be seen in person to fully appreciate their awesomeness.
Scarcity: 1999 Skybox 2000 Men are serial numbered out of 100.
Player Selection. This is a 15-card set that features a lot of interesting names from the late 1990s: Warrick Dunn, Tim Couch, Fred Taylor, Jake Plummer, Jerry Rice, Edgerrin James, Mark Brunell, Peyton Manning, Randy Moss, Terrell Davis, Charlie Batch, Dan Marino, Emmitt Smith, Brett Favre, Barry Sanders.
The one thing that seems slightly off to me about 2000 Men is the theme. According to Beckett, this set “features Stars who will make an impact well into the new millennium.” If that is the case, it is curious that players such as Marino, Smith, Rice, and Sanders were included. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am glad that these Hall of Famers made the cut. No matter how amazing a product looks, if player selection is weak, the set will not do well in the marketplace. However, when possible, it helps an insert set’s popularity if it remains true to itself. That is to say, the best insert sets feature both a great theme/design and great players that work in concert with each other. Could you imagine 1997/98 E-X2001 Jambalaya featuring a bunch of point guards? It just wouldn’t work because the set’s theme is on dunkers. While nothing that egregious is happening here with 1999 Skybox 2000 Men, I can’t help but notice that two of the fifteen players in the set (Sanders and Marino) were not active NFL players in the year 2000. I of course don’t expect the card companies to be fortune tellers, to know when players will retire and the like (Sanders’ July 1999 retirement was particularly shocking to the football world). My larger point is only that I hope card manufacturers critically examine player checklists will building an insert set. Which players best align with the overall story that an insert set is trying to tell? That key question doesn’t always get asked.
All-in-all, 1999 Skybox Premium 2000 Men is an amazing, yet underappreciated, insert from the late 1990s. I’ll be looking to add more of these cards to my collection in the months and years ahead. What football insert set from the late 1990s / early 2000s do you think is most underappreciated by the collecting community?
Word of the Day
deleterious – damaging or harmful; the chemical is deleterious to the environment; the drug has no deleterious effects on patients