The implications of this game are just as big for the hobby as they are for the NFL playoff picture. Both teams, coaches, and quarterbacks have a lot to prove. Today's victor will enjoy many spoils.
In our experience, both of these teams' fan bases have had a solid presence in the sports card community - for very different reasons. The Tom Brady led dynasty was picking up bandwagon fans every week, but the Boston loyalty was always there too. After missing the playoffs last year, Patriots fans are eager to see a new age of their squad get back in the postseason. The Browns were bottom feeders of the league for over a decade before the 2020 season. Honestly, it has been beautiful to see such a loyal fan base through such a dark time. The success of last season had Browns fans bouncing off the walls and the expectations for this season were high. At 5-4, they may have been knocked off that high, but the playoff hopes are still realistic and they seemed to have a new found energy last week after the departure of the drama filled OBJ.
When we were at The National before the season, Baker Mayfield was easily one of the most requested names we heard. We would buy and sell Baker cards within an hour. We sold every one we had - so did Indy Card Exchange. We will both be set up at the Chicago Spectacular this coming weekend and I am intrigued to see if the interest will be the same. Baker has a lot of critics, but he has more wins on his record than the Browns' franchise had from 2011-2017 combined. His record without OBJ was overhyped, but there was a significant difference in his swagger last Sunday. He won't be able to rely on the run game today -Coach Belichick is known for taking the best asset away from a team- so Baker's ability to lead his offense through the air will be on display. Success will quiet critics, put the Browns near the top of the division, and most likely boost the value of his cards.
Mac Jones has been on plenty of memes since that National Championship photo next to Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts. He is not an athletic playmaker like those two, but he is clearly just as capable of winning a Natty and playing QB in the NFL. He was the 5th QB drafted, but he leads his Rookie QB Class in the following stats: Completions, Completion Percentage, Passing Yards, Touchdowns, QBR, ESPN Passer Rating, and most importantly, Wins. In fact, with the 17th game added this year, he has a real chance to break Justin Herbert's record for completions by a rookie. Herbert notched 396 last year and Mac Jones has completed 204 passes with 8 games left. Today's matchup with a strong Browns team will be a tall task. Getting this win will put the Patriots' win streak at four, including victories over two AFC Playoff Contenders in the Chargers and Browns. I can only imagine that his card stock will jump with a win like this.
Whichever QB wins today will see a significant increase in the value of their football cards. We have picked up some of their cards over the last month, but I wish we had more going into next weekend's show. See what we have here on our eBay store.