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Chief Among Them: Mahomes Mania Strikes Newest NFLPA Panini Trading Card Index

September 20, 2018

Mahomes Ice

Now that the 2018 NFL season has arrived, football fans and collectors alike have shifted their focus from projections and “What could be” to realizations and “What is” as their favorite team’s rookies and veterans start delivering performances on the field. That shift in philosophy from preseason excitement to regular season reality is certainly reflected in the newest NFLPA Panini Trading Card Index for the third quarter of 2018.

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley remains atop the rookie rankings in the new Index, which began in 2016 as a way to rank the top-performing football players (15 rookies, 15 veterans) in the licensed trading card industry. Once a quarter, the NFLPA Panini Trading Card Index ranks players based on several key factors, including secondary-market transactions, overall trading volume and collectibility based on on-field performance and expectations (e.g., rookie hype and collector speculation). New York Jets QB Sam Darnold lands at the No. 2 spot this quarter (up from No. 3 previously) while Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield, Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson and Arizona Cardinals QB Josh Rosen round out the rookie top five.

“As a kid, you dream of having your own trading card,” said Calvin Ridley, rookie wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons and No. 8 on the trading card index. “Now that it’s a reality and I’ve been listed alongside some of the best in the Panini trading card index, it motivates me even more for my rookie season.”

On the veteran list this quarter, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady once again returns to the top spot, up from No. 3 last time, based largely on Panini America reintroducing his certified autographed trading cards to the market following an 18-month absence. While Brady is followed by frequent top-fiver Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers at No. 2, red-hot Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes II at No. 3 looks to be a top-five staple. Mahomes’ status among the elite in the new Index was first reported by The Kansas City Star. In addition, NFL analyst Trent Dilfer devoted most of his Dilfer’s Dimes segment for Panini America this week to Mahomes:

San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo (No. 4) and Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown round out the top five veteran list.

Panini America — the exclusive trading card manufacturer of the NFL and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) via its licensing and marketing arm, NFL Players Inc. — created the Panini NFLPA Trading Card Index in 2016 as a way to rank the top-performing football players (15 rookies, 15 veterans) in the licensed trading card industry.

Key sales driving the final rookie rankings this quarter include a unique 2018 Origins Football autographed booklet card of Barkley limited to just two copies that sold for $5,500 and a 2018 National VIP card of Darnold featuring an autograph and a diamond that sold for $2,000. On the veteran side, a 2000 Contenders Football autographed Rookie Card of Brady sold for $21,000 while a Mahomes 2017 Contenders Football autographed Rookie Card limited to just 25 copies sold for more than $5,300.

Here are the final rankings for the 2018 Q3 NFLPA Panini Trading Card Index:

The 2018 NFLPA Panini Trading Card Index: Rookies (3Q)

  1. Saquon Barkley
  2. Sam Darnold
  3. Baker Mayfield
  4. Lamar Jackson
  5. Josh Rosen
  6. Josh Allen
  7. Royce Freeman
  8. Calvin Ridley
  9. D.J. Moore
  10. Bradley Chubb
  11. Derrius Guice
  12. Phillip Lindsay
  13. Shaquem Griffin
  14. Kerryon Johnson
  15. Sony Michel

The 2018 NFLPA Panini Trading Card Index: Veterans (3Q)

  1. Tom Brady
  2. Aaron Rodgers
  3. Patrick Mahomes II
  4. Jimmy Garoppolo
  5. Antonio Brown
  6. Ezekiel Elliott
  7. Alvin Kamara
  8. Leonard Fournette
  9. Kareem Hunt
  10. Deshaun Watson
  11. Carson Wentz
  12. Todd Gurley
  13. Odell Beckham Jr.
  14. Matt Ryan
  15. JuJu Smith-Schuster
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