By Barry Janoff
April 27, 2012: Panini America, which earlier this week signed a new deal with the NFL and NFL Players Assn., used its powers of Photoshop to create the first rookie cards for Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson and Ryan Tannehill, who were selected No. 1, 2, 3 and 8, respectively, last night in the NFL Draft.
The cards show when each player was drafted and each player in their new NFL team jerseys, but with 00 instead of their official numbers. Panini wants to put in the actual numbers in time for the release of their first 2012 NFL set, Prestige Football, scheduled for June.
The Irving, Texas-based company said the set would contain an insert set of NFL Rookie Cards.
Rival Topps was able to one-up Panini by unveiling a card showing RG3 in his official No. 1 Redskins jersey from its 2012 Topps Football set, scheduled for release in August.
In addition, Topps, which also has a deal with the NFLPA, revealed autograph cards of Luck and RG3, which are scheduled to be part of the company's 2012 Inception set in July.
Luck, who has a marketing deal with Panini America, was selected by the Indianapolis Colts, RG3 was drafted by the Washington Redskins, Richardson by the Cleveland Browns and Tannehill by the Miami Dolphins.
In conjunction with the NFL Draft, Panini America held a contest in which it offered consumers who correctly predicted the first ten players to be selected the opportunity to win an unopened box of 2011 Playbook Football and one box of 2011 Prime Signatures Football. The company had yet to determine a winner.
Many of the entries to the official Web site were thrown off by the draft night trade in which the Browns moved up from the fourth pick to the third pick by trading spots with the Minnesota Vikings in order to draft Richardson.
In addition to Panini America, Luck has an endorsement deal with Nike. Griffin's marketing deals to date include adidas, Subway, EA Sports and Castrol Oil.
Trading Card Comany Panini America Deals With NFL, NFL Players Assn.