|2003 Topps Finest Football|
|Base Set||Refractors||Xfractors||Gold Refractors||Promos||Oddball|
2003 Finest hit hobby shops during October, 2003. Continuing a checklist similar to the previous year, the set consists of 60 veterans, 40 rookies, 18 veteran jersey cards, and 31 rookie autographs. This is another set that can be costly for set builders to try and complete. Note card #149 Onterrio Smith does not exist. It was said to be issued in packs as an exchange card but was never fulfilled.
Each box is comprised of 3 mini-boxes, each mini containing 6 packs of cards. Each pack contains 5 cards. The MSRP for each mini-box was $40. Stated odds are now in per minibox as opposed to per pack.
Odds of finding a short-print base or insert card:
|Veteran Jersey Group C (101-118)||1:4|
|Veteran Jersey Group B (101-118)||1:38|
|Veteran Jersey Group A (101-118)||1:171|
|Rookie Autographs #/999 (119-150)||1:3|
|Rookie Autographs #/399 (119-150)||1:30|
|Refractors Base (1-100) #/199||1:3|
|Refractors Jersey (101-118) #/199||1:17|
|Refractors Autographs (119-150) #/199||1:10|
|Xfractors Base (1-100) #/175||1 per master box|
|Xfractors Jersey/Autographs (101-150) #/50|
|Gold Refractors Base(1-100) #/50||1:12|
|Gold Refractors Jersey (101-118) #/50||1:68|
|Gold Refractors Autographs (119-150) #/50||1:50|
Ricky Williams, Drew Bledsoe, Joey Harrington, Tim Brown, Brian Urlacher, Zach Thomas,
Jeremy Shockey, Jason Taylor, Donovan McNabb, Rich Gannon, Brad Johnson, Daunte Culpepper,
Michael Vick, Keyshawn Johnson, Keith Brooking
LaDainian Tomlinson, Jimmy Smith
|Base w/o SPs||100||100||100%|
|Base /w SPs||111||149||75%|
The hexagon background is a strong look and a refreshing design. Color hues matching the team's primary color help set off the card, though when a player is depicted in their home jersey they can get a bit lost. This is partially offset by a slight glow around the player. A white top border for veterans calls immediate attention to these cards which also contain the player's position as a scroll. The jersey numbers in foil can be a bit hard to see and the two hexagons look tacked on. The rookie autographs flip the script with a white background and silver top border with some of the hexagons in team color. This helps set off the autograph inside the two large hexagons and almost make up for the lackluster deployment on the base cards.
Player and team collector's will find value here amongst other more pedestrian base releases.
This set does not have many chase or insert cards. With jersey and autograph cards considered part of the base set, there are no insert cards. Collectors can expect 1 rookie autograph, 1 veteran jersey, and 1 refractor card per box along with the guaranteed 1 encased/uncirculated Xfractor in a special silver foil pack.
Compared to it's immediate predecessor, 2003 does offer a little bit more bang for the buck but compared to other years it still is lacking. The included Xfractor is a bit of bonus fun for box breakers.
Fielding 60 base veterans, Topps cut out 2 more fan favorites compared to last year.. Here you'll find HoFers like Tom Brady (TBD), Peyton Manning (TBD), Brett Favre, Kurt Warner, Emmitt Smith (Cardinals), Edgerrin James, Curtis Martin, Marshall Faulk, Randy Moss, Jerry Rice (Raiders), Marvin Harrison, Terrell Owens, and Jason Witten (TBD) are here. Troy Polamalu's rookie card is also here.
Tucked into the veteran jersey grouping are more Hall of Famers like LaDainian Tomlinson, Tim Brown, Michael Strahan, Brian Urlacher, and Jason Taylor.
Like 2002, the 2003 draft class is extremely weak in retrospect. There was room for excited with 4 QBs taken in the first round. This class featured 35 different players to reach a Pro Bowl and 15 notching at least 1 All Pro.
When collecting 2003 Finest today, the leading base rookie cards are HoFer Troy Polamalu (2020), Anquan Boldin, and Kevin Williams. Base autographed rookie cards include Carson Palmer, Jason Witten, and Terrell Suggs. Other well known players include Byron Leftwich, Chris Simms, Larry Johnson, Willis McGahee, Kliff Kingsbury, and Dallas Clark.
Notable rookies missing from this class include Andre Johnson, 3rd overall pick in the draft. Four other Johnsons are available in this set. Chicago 3rd rounders Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman also didn't make the cut along with 2-time All Pro Nnamdi Asomugha.
A strong design somewhat helps pull up an otherwise lackluster checklist of veterans, rookies, and chase cards. Set builders will be annoyed again that hits are included within the base set though this time are at the end instead of 2002's where they were interspersed with base. Refractor hunters will nab 2 per master box. The presence of a base Troy Polamalu rookie helps fortify base collector's and autographs of Jason Witten and Carson Palmer are sure to be popular. Along with Kevin Williams and Terrell Suggs, this release shapes up to be a better defensive product than offensive.