2009 Topps Finest Football Review

This was the year I began appreciating football cards, thanks in part to 2009 Topps Chrome. While I continue to compare almost every product to that release, I finally have found something that Topps it (pun intended).

Before I continue I should add that not everyone loves a futuristic-looking brand like Finest but this year Topps really reached out to those old school collectors by creating a design that was much better than Finest Baseball and looks simply wonderful.

I have read that there are just too many Refractors in this product but to me that’s crazy. I pulled 16 in this sample box and given the choice of 16 more base cards or 16 parallels (most numbered), it’s really no choice at all.

This year’s Finest football is just right. More flash and style than Chrome, which featured the flagship design; not as over the top and wildly designed as Bowman Sterling. Along with Topps Chrome Football, it’s a must-buy for every football collector.


Current eBay price – $85

Guarantees – 2 Rookie Letter or Patch Autographs per master box

Look for – 1/1  White Xfractors, framed printing plates, Favre Mania

The Good:

Strong performer on the secondary market

Lots of Refractors (16 in sample box)

Excellent design all around

The Bad:

Relics in a product like Finest seems unnecessary


Autograph/Relic – Hakeem Nicks #’d to 209

Autograph/Patch Refractor – Darrius Heyward-Bey #’d to 50

Final Grade: A-

38 thoughts on “2009 Topps Finest Football Review

  1. The Letter patches that you were oh so fond of in baseball have made their way into football

    Luckily, you managed to nail down the lesser of two evils.

    I don’t quite understand the refractors though, you really have to stare at them to realize what’s what.

  2. The rookies in this set always seem to look nice to me…and also…you did pretty good on the box it looks like.

  3. What can i do to get that Nicks auto from you? Life long Giants season ticket holder. He brings hope.

  4. Kinda looks like the 2007 design flipped with a little of the 2008 design thrown in. The refractors look great, especially that Harvin.

  5. The base and parallel (refractor) cards look pretty nice. The auto swatch/patch cards? Not so much. I’m not convinced the design team knew they were supposed to reserve a spot for the jersey window. Granted, it’s not as bad as that Ultra Yao Ming monstrosity, but it still is not very good.

  6. I’m just starting to collect football but I love the Giants and aboslutely love that Nicks card. Let me know if its for sale/trade, Nicks is a beast! The Hayward-Bey is nice too, but I’m pretty sure he’s this year’s draft bust =/

  7. There sure are a lot of Nicks fans out there.

    I am a fan of this years design. The yard markers in the background are really cool and add a lot to the design. I am glad Finest has stuck with non auto rookies as part of the base set, it gives collecters with a limited card budget an oppertunity to pick up a nice high quality rookie of a player with out dropping major coin.

    That Harvin refractor is sweet, I may need to try and pick one up on ebay. It is a really good looking card.

  8. I like the futuristic design as you commented but the best design that I have seen on finest is the design of baseball from the past couple of years. When you were on your Andrew Miller kick, you picked up some amazing Miller autos from finest! I love that design and wish that my guy, Kerry Wood had been included in any of those sets.

    So I would say overall a good job, the swatches look awkward on the card, but I enjoy the football lines in the background!

  9. Let’s look at the base and parallels: Great sharp “chrome like” photography. The refractors- Red, Gold, Green, Blue, and regular refractors are present. You can also pull Xfractors or aka 1/1. However, do we really need so many variations? Can be a bit frustrating in terms to set building. Pigskin refractors are rather interesting- cards with a pigskin feel to them but not the first time this has been done by a company.

    Rookies: Base and auto version
    On letter autos and patch autos. These too have the multiple refractor versions and are limited. However does finest really need a patch version?

    Autographs: Patched rookies, Finest moments, Rookie Letter Cards,

    Overall Topps Finest has been a strong hit with the hobby. I feel this year’s brand is definitely loaded with value and seems to be continuing it’s tradition of being “Finest”.

  10. I like the basic card design. The patch / Auto’s have to be redesigned….they are blah and bland as usual for finest.

    I still say the best auto’s Finest produced were the baseball “moments” series. You can’t top that in my opinion.

  11. The base look nice. I like the simple hash mark look. The refractors are certainly a tad subtle for my taste. Finest is a shell of its former self.

  12. Having been a huge fan of the 1993 Finest Product when it came out and being completely swept up in the refractor hysteria that ensued, it really bothers me that refractors are such throw aways now a days in the Chrome products. The thing I like about this Finest set is that the Refractors carry a little more weight than their Topps/Bowman Chrome Counterparts. I’ll admit, I’ve thrown away base refractors in Chrome plenty of times, but these Finest ones are great and definitely worth collecting. The Nicks and Heyward-Bey autos are great pulls, I definitely think Finest has some bang for the buck this year

  13. The refractors in this product look pretty nice…and both the letterman autos and the patch autos look pretty decent as well.

  14. Another giants/h nicks fan here!

    I absolutely loooove topps finest and all the refractors. The shinier the better!

    Don’t know what else to say that hasn’t already been said. “Bang for the buck”, yes. “A-“, sounds about right.

  15. I am a huge finest fan. Over the years, this is one of the few sets that I actually put together (especially the baseball rookie autos). This years football offering reminds me a little too much of the designs of the past two years. It has the 2007 feel with the design flipped along with a little 2008 feel.

    I like that refractors as they seem to pop a little more. I like the fact that you get a good mix of base and refractors. One of the things that always drew me to finest is the lack of sub-sets. They usually have the one-sub-set, so when you bust a box, they majority will go towards building the set.

    As to the auto patch, it is great to see the design team took the time not to cut into the photo (based upon the ones I have seen so far). I would hope to see better patches in a product this expense, but they are better then the baseball version.

    $10 a pack is still a little steap. I will probably try to build this set through trades and ebay though. It is hard to spend $120 on a box.

  16. i like the design and overall feel for this product, however the only thing that really stands out are the Autos. They have the look of a non sticker auto and it doesnt take away from the overall design of the card. Paired with the jersey cards it makes it fantastic design. However I dont like the price w/ the number of guarantees. i would like to see a few more jersey cards thrown into the master box.

  17. To be perfectly honest with you, its not the best. A couple of the cards colors are really dark and the patch on the autos are akward too. Looks like they just crammed them into the spot. I think I would have given a B- to your A-.

  18. I don’t like the design of the auto’s and swatches. I have always been a big fan of finest and I am again with their base cards.

  19. I think the base cards have a nice look to them. They seem to remind me of a circa 2000 Finest basketball base, but I’ve always been a sucker for Finest. The refractors as always look amazing. I like the positioning on the swatch auto cards. Sticker autographs are not the spawn of Satan as far as I am concerned, but it’d be nice if they were on card.

    The price point is way out of my reach, and I am pretty focused on my Ozzie Smith collection. I’d be pretty happy if someone sent me a box.

  20. Have to say that for my money while Finest is good looking the patches and jersey’s look funny where they are stuck on the card. I’d reather look for refractors in Chrome. Mini boxes never seem to hold much value on their own and you have to get real lucky to pull something good. It would be a fun break if you’ve got the money to spare but there are other choices for your dollar.

  21. I agree with Mario, the relics just see out of place here.
    As always the refractors look good, the rookie selection is nice and the price point is reasonable. The design I really like. It’s a shame that this product will be going away.

  22. The futuristic design is awesome. I really like how the players are superimposed over the yard line feature. Plus, the amount of refractors are swesome. And since the autos are of known players, that only adds to it.

  23. The design looks great this year. The refractors are great just like in the baseball finest and the autos look great. On the down side I am just not use to having relics in finest it just seems not to fit in.

  24. Somewhere along the line, Topps went astray.

    Instead of producing a product that was the finest, they started producing what should be named, “Topps Hype.”

    Instead of beautifully chromed cards, we’re left with autographed letter patches that offer hard to read signatures. The autographed patch cards would be perfect as simply autographed cards. Other than allowing sellers on ebay to list it as “AUTO PATCH, SICK!!,” there’s absolutely no reason why the card requires a piece of athlete worn jersey.

    What Topps fails to understand is that refractors will sell this product. The refractors are great as always, and the pigskin refractor adds a little pop.

    If Topps could ignore the Hype and just get back to producing the Finest, this’d be one of best products of the year.

  25. I’m not a huge fan of these refractors – they sort of look like cut outs, and that’s no good to me. And the auto stickers are kind of busy.

    That said, I’ll probably buy some. Gotta get the last Topps set!

  26. Solid design this year continues the trend from the 2008/07 collection. Different card designs keep the collection from growing stale. Refractors are second to none and this release continues Topps’s strong play in the football card market. most other post, I like the relic designs (like their simplistic look, glad Topps didn’t try to do too much with it)

  27. I’m liking this design, but there’s one thing I’m not too fond of. I think the ard lines in the background just add too much to the base cards. It seems like everything is squeezed into its little card. The Heyward-Bey pach is nice, but the Nicks one-color patch is too bland. Other than these things, I like this set a lot!

  28. Topps Finest Football, an old favourite, is back for another year, though it will likely be it’s final year for a while.

    This year’s design is an improvement from last year’s, utilizing the football hash-marks in the background. The popular refractors are back again (what would finest be without them?), though there is a new twist. The twist is the new pigskin refractors, where the surface of the card is designed to look like the surface of a football.

    Lastly we have the rookie autographs, this year complete with jerseys swatches or patches. Many people dislike the inclusion of jerseys and patches on the rookie autographs. Personally I like them – how can I not like nice big pieces of jerseys or patches?

    All in all another quality finest football release. It’s just a pity that this may be the last football finest release we see for some time, as Topps has recently been informed that the NFL Players Inc won’t be renewing their license. What a sad day for football card collectors.

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