By Barry Janoff
March 28, 2012: With Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow set to appear in new team uniforms, and Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III entering the NFL, this year could become one of the most anticipated football trading card seasons in recent memory.
With that in mind, the Topps Co. said it has signed a long-term trading card licensing extension with NFL Players, the licensing and marketing subsidiary of the NFL Players Assn. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Topps said it would release its first product, Bowman Football, just prior to the start of the 2012 NFL season. The set will include for the first time Manning as a member of the Denver Broncos, Tebow with the New York Jets and Luck and Griffin with their new teams, which will not be determined until the NFL draft on April 24, when the two quarterbacks are expected to be selected No. 1 and 2 overall.
Topps said the deal would allow it to "continue the tradition of showcasing NFL players in unique ways."
According to Doug Kruep, vp/GM-sports and entertainment for Topps, "As the market leader, Topps will continue to drive innovation in the category and look to deliver even more this year with new products such as Bowman Football and Topps Strata. Additionally, we are focused on enhancing and extending the collector experience beyond physical cards and will be unveiling a new online marketing campaign later this year."
"As the market leader, Topps will continue to drive innovation in the category and look to deliver even more this year with new [NFL-related] products."
Last season, NFL-related Topps releases included Five Star, Chrome and Platinum Football, Topps Finest, Gridiron Legends, Rising Rookies, Topps Prime, Topps Tribute, Triple Threads and Bowman Sterling. Topps, founded in 1938, is a division of Tornante Co. and Madison Dearborn Partners.
"The NFLPA is pleased to extend our partnership with The Topps Company, a cornerstone partner for nearly 20 years," Keith Gordon, President of NFL Players Inc., said in a statement. "We look forward to a continued tradition of product innovation, industry enrichment and a healthy assortment of player product."