Contenders Football Rookie Ticket Autographs Visual History: 1998-2013

Contenders Football Rookie Ticket Autographs Visual History: 1998-2013

Although Playoff Contenders was introduced in 1993, the brand's biggest contribution to the hobby came a few years later. Debuting in 1998, Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs have become one of the most popular rookie card lines in the entire hobby.

Over the years, Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs have developed a strong and devoted following. For first-year players, they're among the go-to cards.

As the name suggests, the card designs follow a ticket theme. Some years are a little looser than others, but the name has remained constant since 1998. Most years have also seen the cards go without serial numbers with print runs later released. This has led to varied print runs, even within the same set. Because of this, some lesser players have become in high demand as set builders drive prices for the rarest cards.

Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Randy Moss are among the memorable Rookie Ticket Autographs from the line's early years. However, it's the 1998 Playoff Contenders Peyton Manning that stands above them all. Simply put, it's one of the most iconic of all modern football cards.

When Panini purchased Donruss Playoff in 2009, they continued to use the Playoff brand through 2011. However, in 2012, the name switched subtly to Panini Contenders.

Below is a visual history of the Contenders Rookie Ticket Autograph designs over the years. We've also included some of the highlights from each year, showcasing some of the great players who have had rookie cards with under the banner. Click on the links to shop for cards from that year.

What's your favorite design? Let us know in the comments below.

Contenders Football Rookie Ticket Autographs Through the Years

1998 Playoff Contenders

1998 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs Peyton Manning

Highlights:

  • Peyton Manning
  • Randy Moss
  • Hines Ward

1999 Playoff Contenders

1999 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs Kurt Warner

Highlights:

  • Kurt Warner
  • Edgerrin James
  • Donovan McNabb

2000 Playoff Contenders

2000 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs Tom Brady

Highlights:

  • Tom Brady
  • Brian Urlacher

2001 Playoff Contenders

2001 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs Drew Brees

Highlights:

  • Drew Brees
  • Michael Vick
  • LaDainian Tomlinson

2002 Playoff Contenders

Highlights:

  • Ed Reed
  • Julius Peppers

2003 Playoff Contenders

Highlights:

  • Troy Polamalu
  • Tony Romo
  • Jason Witten

2004 Playoff Contenders

2004 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs Eli Manning

Highlights:

  • Eli Manning
  • Ben Roethlisberger
  • Larry Fitzgerald

2005 Playoff Contenders

2005 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs Aaron Rodgers

Highlights:

  • Aaron Rodgers
  • Alex Smith

2006 Playoff Contenders

2006  Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs Jay Cutler

Highlights:

  • Jay Cutler
  • Delaine Walker
  • Reggie Bush

2007 Playoff Contenders

2007 Playoff Contenders Adrian Peterson RC

Highlights:

  • Adrian Peterson
  • Calvin Johnson
  • Patrick Willis

2008 Playoff Contenders

2008 Playoff Contenders Joe Flacco RC

Highlights:

  • Joe Flacco
  • Matt Ryan
  • Chris Johnson

2009 Playoff Contenders

2009 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs Matthew Stafford

Top Players:

  • Matthew Stafford
  • Mark Sanchez
  • Clay Matthews

2010 Playoff Contenders

Highlights:

  • Sam Bradford
  • Tim Tebow
  • Rob Gronkowski

2011 Playoff Contenders

2011 Playoff Contenders Football Rookie Ticket Autographs Cam Newton

Highlights:

  • Cam Newton
  • Colin Kaepernick
  • Andy Dalton

2012 Panini Contenders

2012 Panini Contenders Football RPS Rookie Ticket Autographs Andrew Luck

Highlights:

  • Andrew Luck
  • Robert Griffin III
  • Russell Wilson

2013 Panini Contenders

2013 Panini Contenders Football Rookie Ticket Autographs 208 Eddie Lacy

Highlights:

  • Eddie Lacy
  • Keenan Allen
  • EJ Manuel
Top eBay Listings

2014 Panini Contenders Rookie Ticket Auto Allen Robinson RC Variation SP Jaguars
$49.99

2013 Panini Contenders #231 Robert Woods (ball in left arm) Auto Rookie Card 3o8
$14.99

2013 Panini Contenders Rookie Ink Autographs #35 Tavon Austin Auto Card 2q2
$20.00

2014 Panini Contenders Rookie Ink RPS #RRI-BC Brandin Cooks Auto Card 2e1
$19.25

Justin Smith 2001 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Auto graph Signature #141 RC
$34.94

2011 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ink Printing Plate Black 4 Delone Carter Auto 0o2
$29.00

2011 Playoff Contenders #129 Denarius Moore Oakland Raiders Auto RC Card 0o2
$12.20

2010 Playoff Contenders 128 Devin McCourty New England Patriots Auto RC Card 1q7
$12.00

2009 Playoff Contenders #195 Rashad Jennings Jacksonville Jaguars Auto RC 0o2
$11.00

DENNIS JOHNSON 2013 PANINI CONTENDERS PLAYOFF TICKET AUTO RC 12 99 *BROWNS*
$24.99

2013 Panini Contenders 188 Tyler Bray Kansas City Chiefs Auto RC Rookie Card 0o2
$15.20

2013 Panini Contenders 235 Tavon Austin St. Louis Rams Auto RC Football Card 1j6
$15.25

2013 Panini Contenders Rookie Ink Autographs #17 Keenan Allen Auto Card 4x4
$15.75

2012 Panini Contenders Rookie Ticket Variation #220 Rueben Randle Auto Card 2y8
$26.00

2012 Panini Contenders #205 Rookie Ticket RPS Justin Blackmon Auto RC Card 2y8
$10.00

2012 Panini Contenders Rookie Ticket Variation #197 Vick Ballard Auto Card 2y8
$10.25
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Ryan Cracknell

E-Mail Author | 
Ryan is a former member of The Cardboard Connection Writing Staff. His collecting origins began with winter bike rides to the corner store, tossing a couple of quarters onto the counter and peddling home with a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey in his pocket. Today, he continues to build sets, go after inserts with cool technologies, chase Montreal Expos and finish off his John Jaha master collection.

User Comments

  1. I like the 2001 and 2008 years the best and I feel like lately it has been an overrated product that does not live up to the standard set by previous years

  2. I opened a 2000 contenders pack and got a blue brady rc that was ot numbered what happened here? it should have been numbered to 1 or 100 right?

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