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The Forgotten Start of Modern Collecting 

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2007 football cards may seem to be forgotten to many ultra-modern collectors, but it is a more important year than it initially appears. For perspective, let’s fast forward to current market conditions. People have made businesses out of opening sealed hobby boxes on the internet. The chase cards are getting a multitude of parallels of either the top quarterbacks or the new rookies in the set. Boxes, especially hobby boxes, provide collectors with relic cards and autographed cards. The modern way of collecting can be easily traced back to 2007, so let’s dive into it. 

Parallel Cards

The first real variation to a football card came in 1994 Finest with refractors (or in 1993 if you’re reading this as a baseball or basketball fan.) But it was in 2007 Topps Chrome Football where the number of parallels started to noticeably expand. Six sets of refractors exist within 2007 Topps Chrome. Those are the regular Refractor, Blue, White, X-fractors, the box topper Red, and the Superfractor. For those not aware, box toppers were a hobby box exclusive pack that came in the top of the box. In 2005, for example, you were guaranteed a numbered Gold X-factor, while other product box toppers included autographs or memorabilia cards. Even though 2004 Topps Chrome included a Refractor, Black Refractor, and Gold, it truly seems like 2007 is the godfather of modern football parallels. 

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Game Used Memorabilia

Memorabilia cards today feature the verbiage of “The enclosed memorabilia is not from any specific game or event.” Honestly, they might as well say you have a piece of cloth on the front of the card. Going back to 2007 National Treasures the verbiage was “The enclosed pieces of jersey were cut from an authentic jersey worn by (insert player name) in an official NFL game, the authentic game-worn jersey was obtained and is guaranteed by Donruss Playoff LP.” As a collector in the mid 2000s, pulling a relic card was an absolute thrill, because that certain player ACTUALLY wore that jersey, making the card more valuable. 

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Rookie Class

With all that being said, 2007 also had a great rookie class and we all know that a good rookie class drives the success of a product. The 2007 rookie class included Calvin Johnson, Joe Thomas, Darrelle Revis, Adrian Peterson, and Marshawn Lynch. Not only are these all-time great players but go look around your local card show for a rookie autograph of one of those names, you MIGHT see one. Even if you go to a 200+ table show, there is a chance you won’t see any…Good luck finding an Adrian Peterson colored refractor available for a fair price. Try finding a numbered Darrelle Revis graded rookie card. Do not be surprised that the one guy with a Calvin Johnson rookie autograph won’t move off his price. Yes, some of that is due to more of these cards being locked up in collections, but the print runs were a lot lower back then too. Demand was lower during that era, adding to the “collectibleness” of some of these Hall of Fame or soon-to-be HOFer’s cards.

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In conclusion, 2007 was the first modern sports card product for football. It was the first year you saw a rookie class to chase, along with a decent number of parallels. Yes, rookie autographs were around in 1998. Yes, Peyton Manning and Randy Moss autographs were chase cards, but the hobby was still recovering from the “junk wax era” so collectors had a bad taste in their mouths. Many desirable elements and current trends of today’s Hobby can be traced back to 2007 football products. 

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