Good: Best base card design of the football card season so far, improved inserts, rookie reprint autographs, base rookie variations, low price point, easy base set to build, deeper checklist than years past.
Bad: Only 1 hit per box, sticker drop autographs, boom or bust boxes, centering and surface issues remain, hard to scan.
The Bottom Line:
2010 Topps Chrome is an above average football card offering that feels one hit shy of being an excellent product. Although the box price is relatively cheap, it's a risky rip due to the fact that the success of your box lies almost completely on the hit you pull. That said, this season's Topps Chrome is an upgrade over last season's in nearly every way possible. I would recommend this product to set builders, but not collectors who seek big hits.
Per usual, it's definitely not the card design that holds this year's Chrome back from being a great product. The base Topps design translates extremely well to chrome stock, the inserts look awesome, and the refractors are solid. The sticker drop rookie autographs don't look as good as they could. The one area I don't like about the card design is the color choice for a few of the refractors. Not only is orange a bad color, but in Topps Chrome they can easily confuse kids and novice collectors, as a Bowman Chrome Orange Refractor is numbered to 25, while Topps Chrome's aren't even numbered and plentiful at the Retail level.
The checklist feels much bigger than 2009's, offering an array of new inserts and intriguing autographs. The coolest addition to this year's auto lineup has to be the Rookie Reprint Autographs, which feature classic Topps rookie cards signed on Chrome stock, this includes players like Joe Montana, John Elway, Adrian Peterson, and a host of other hobby heavy hitters. The Gridiron Lineage insert set, which is essentially Topps' version of "Now & Then", are also fantastic in appearance and come in autographed versions as well.
This is where Chrome suffers, after ripping a box you truly feel like there should be 2 hits per box for the $60-$80 price tag. This year's 2010 Topps Chrome Baseball featured 2-hits per box, which is why this year's Chrome Football felt more lacking than in year's past. There are some spectacular autographs in 2010 Topps Chrome, the problem is that they are extremely hard to pull and receiving just one hit makes pulling one a crap shoot.
Chrome is always a fun product to rip, but unfortunately it all to often ends with a touch of buyer's remorse. As I noted above, the people who will enjoy 2010 Topps Chrome are set builders, as Chrome presents numerous angles of "buildability" including the base set, variation rookie set, refractor sets, insert sets, and so on.