It's going to take a little time to get used to seeing Brett Favre in purple. Though he made his first appearance in a Minnesota Vikings uniform on August 21, football card collectors will have a longer wait to see him that way on cardboard - but not too much longer.
Topps, Upper Deck and Panini have released images of their first cracks at cards of Favre as a member of his new team. And not surprisingly, the companies have used different methods to produce them.
The first Vikings card of Favre from Topps will appear in 2009 Finest Football, currently scheduled to go live on September 15. He's pictured in full Minnesota gear, though it's made possible by digital manipulation of an old picture, something the folks at Topps have always been good at doing. Collectors online have already speculated that it's a retouched photo of Brett as a Jet from the 2008 season.
Upper Deck is using a practice photo of Favre for its initial effort, with a purple helmet but a red jersey that says he's off limits for hits by the defense. That card should also get into stores on September 15 as a short print in packs of 2009 SPx Football, but there's a catch: it will carry the design of 2009 Upper Deck Football and be numbered as a base card from that set.
Panini America decided to wait until Favre actually suited up for a preseason game to get its photo.
"We wanted Favre's first official Vikings trading card to be an in-game action shot of him wearing the purple #4," Panini America Marketing Manager Scott Prusha said in a company press release. "We were able to send a photographer to the game Friday night, print cards Saturday and have them ready for product insertion first thing Monday morning."
Even so, collectors will be able to get a 2009 Donruss Threads card with No. 4 in purple before the end of the month. Appropriately, a total of 4,444 Favre cards will be inserted into retail blaster boxes and packs available at Walmart and Target, as the hobby version of Threads is already too far along in the production process.
Of course, the card manufacturers are used to doing this dance thanks to Favre's first comeback. Since he signed with the Jets earlier in the offseason, they had a little more time to squeeze him into products released near the beginning of the NFL season, but there was still some scrambling to be done.
That effort paid off for collectors who acquired the first cards and resold them on the secondary market, as they rode an initial wave of popularity (that coincided with a hot start for New York) to some impressive prices for base cards. If the Vikings find similar early success, Favre's early Minnesota cards could duplicate that rise until more sets come out to help satisfy demand.