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 213x300 Image


  • Peyton Manning
  • Randy Moss
  • Hines Ward

1999 Playoff Contenders

1999 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs Kurt Warner 205x300 Image


  • Kurt Warner
  • Edgerrin James
  • Donovan McNabb

2000 Playoff Contenders

2000 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs Tom Brady 214x300 Image


  • Tom Brady
  • Brian Urlacher

2001 Playoff Contenders

2001 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs Drew Brees 214x300 Image


  • Drew Brees
  • Michael Vick
  • LaDainian Tomlinson

2002 Playoff Contenders

2002 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs Ed Reed 260x183 Image


  • Ed Reed
  • Julius Peppers

2003 Playoff Contenders

2003 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs Troy Polamalu 260x183 Image


  • Troy Polamalu
  • Tony Romo
  • Jason Witten

2004 Playoff Contenders

2004 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs Eli Manning 213x300 Image


  • Eli Manning
  • Ben Roethlisberger
  • Larry Fitzgerald

2005 Playoff Contenders

2005 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs Aaron Rodgers 214x300 Image


  • Aaron Rodgers
  • Alex Smith

2006 Playoff Contenders

2006 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs Jay Cutler 212x300 Image


  • Jay Cutler
  • Delaine Walker
  • Reggie Bush

2007 Playoff Contenders

2007 Playoff Contenders Adrian Peterson RC1 207x300 Image


  • Adrian Peterson
  • Calvin Johnson
  • Patrick Willis

2008 Playoff Contenders

2008 Playoff Contenders Joe Flacco RC 214x300 Image


  • Joe Flacco
  • Matt Ryan
  • Chris Johnson

2009 Playoff Contenders

2009 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs Matthew Stafford 260x183 Image

Top Players:

  • Matthew Stafford
  • Mark Sanchez
  • Clay Matthews

2010 Playoff Contenders

2010 Panini Contenders Tim Tebow Blue Jersey 212x300 Image


  • Sam Bradford
  • Tim Tebow
  • Rob Gronkowski

2011 Playoff Contenders

2011 Playoff Contenders Football Rookie Ticket Autographs Cam Newton 260x185 Image


  • Cam Newton
  • Colin Kaepernick
  • Andy Dalton

2012 Panini Contenders

2012 Panini Contenders Football RPS Rookie Ticket Autographs Andrew Luck 213x300 Image


  • Andrew Luck
  • Robert Griffin III
  • Russell Wilson

2013 Panini Contenders

2013 Panini Contenders Football Rookie Ticket Autographs 208 Eddie Lacy 212x300 Image


  • Eddie Lacy
  • Keenan Allen
  • EJ Manuel
ebaysmalllogo Image
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2012 Contenders Rookie Ticket SP X3 Auto ROD STREATER X3 LA RAIDERS WR 3X RC
2715044393474040 1 Image
2003 Playoff Contenders #166 LaBrandon Toefield Autograph Rookie Card 799 RC
2215822429864040 1 Image
2011 Playoff Contenders Von Miller Auto Rookie Ticket Broncos 8 Sacks DPOY?
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ROBERT WOODS 2013 Panini Contenders Cracked Ice Rookie RC Autograph Auto #19 21
2516839365154040 1 Image
2006 playoff contenders santonio holmes bears rookie autograph
2516839475964040 1 Image
2012 playoff contenders lance dunbar cowboys rookie autograph
1614563055314040 1 Image
2012 Kirk Cousins - Panini Contenders Rookie Ticket Auto Variation 175 SP
1114697403504040 1 Image
Nick Foles 2012 Panini Contenders Auto RC PSA 10 (BuyMVP)
2516839553714040 1 Image
2010 playoff contenders james starks packers rookie autograph
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2012 Panini Contenders Michael Floyd-Rookie Ticket (On-Card)Autograph BGS Graded
2814689154844040 1 Image
BRUCE IRVIN 2012 #12 Contenders Rookie Stallions Auto 15 25 SEAHAWKS
4005955864404040 1 Image
2012 Panini Contenders #222A Ryan Broyles Auto RC Rookie
1112454033214040 1 Image
ricky williams edgerrin james rookie rc 2x dual auto autograph contenders 1999
3012250538614040 1 Image
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Olandis Gary 1999 Contenders Power Blue Auto RC Broncos
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MONTEE BALL - 2013 Contenders Rookie Ticket Autograph - Broncos
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Ryan Cracknell

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Ryan's 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. Ryan can be found on Twitter @tradercracks and Google+.

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

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