Saturday, June 30, 2007

McFarlane NFL 16: Major Disappointment

I was very excited to hear that we would get to see the first photos of the NFL 16 figures yesterday. The prospect of getting a new LaDainian Tomlinson figure – hopefully in a better pose than the previous mediocre versions – was the biggest part of that excitement.

What a terrible disappointment the pictures turned out to be. I really expected NFL 16 to be superior to an average NFL Series 15, but it’s even worse.

The series includes two repaints, which is fine. TMP has to use repaints to keep the products economically viable. Unfortunately, the choices TMP made on these repaints resulted in figures that are, at best, forgettable.

Steve McNair – one of the worst quarterback poses ever, all black uniform looks bad, player choice ok but not great. Grade: F.

Terrell Owens – horrible player choice, good team choice, awful novelty pose that showcases the arrogance of this dirtbag. Grade: F.

Now we get to the original sculpts.

Frank Gore – Good uniform choice. Awful pose. Another novelty pose, showing Gore spiking the ball. It’s awkward and gratuitous – a wasted figure. Grade: D.

LaDainian Tomlinson 4 – Let’s see. LT just sets the single season touchdown record, he’s an incredible offensive force, one of the most exciting players in the game . . . let’s pose him benched on his ass, drinking Gatorade. How absurd is that? LT1 was a good pose, LT2 was ok, LT3 was lame – I was really hoping for a super pose for LT4 and this is just not it. I mean, for crying out loud, this is the first time they’ve gotten LT’s visor right and he’s not even wearing the helmet! Worse, the sculpt doesn't really look like him.
I really LIKE the bench pose for a figure. I think it’s cool, great novelty concept. I just think it’s a horrible choice for LT, like posing Reggie Bush as a punt returner. To sum it up, LT is great player choice, horrible pose selection, ok uniform – Grade: A very disappointing C.

Brady Quinn – Five players into the lineup and we FINALLY get to a new pose showing a player in a play. Quinn is a questionable choice for inclusion in the line but I think TMP had good reasons for picking him, especially since they had to make the decision so far in advance. Good choice on the uniform. The pose is pretty close to Drew Bledsoe’s pose, but overall it’s ok. His biceps look like Quinn has been raiding Barry Bonds' medicine cabinet though. Grade: B.

Champ Bailey – Great player selection. I love the uniform, especially with the curved orange lines on the legs. The pose is similar to Series 5 Jerry Rice but it’s pretty good. I’m really glad it’s not on posts. I think it could have been a more energetic pose and not quite so static, but overall it’s pretty good. Grade: B+.

All in all, it’s an underperforming line – Three of the six poses are either celebrating or sitting, and not playing the game. That’s an awful percentage. We only get two new legitimate in-action poses in this series, and neither of them are great. Overall grade should be a D+ but I'll bump it up to a C- for now because McFarlane tried to be creative at least.

Unfortunately it gets worse. When you take Series 16 and throw in the regular figures from Series 15, you have four out of 12 figures wasted on non-action poses. Take out the repaints and we end up with only six of 12 figures with new, in-action poses, and only one of them is a defensive player. The collectors edition figures don't exactly enhance the NFL offerings either - Peyton Manning and Brian Urlacher figures that are pretty much reissues from the past. 2007 looks to be a dismal year for NFL Sports Picks. Thank god for the 3-packs and the Legends.

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