The concept of Total was a good one: have a set big enough to include all the players from each team. Having 990 cards in the set was a great start. But then...
Topps added a bunch of rookies and prospects. Sorry, but if this was a set for all the teams players, its geared toward the set and team collectors. Prospectors want the unknown prospects, hoping to turn a buck...that's what Bowman is for. Total was not the place for these players, and they took away slots in the set for real players.
Reducing the set size the final two years was dumb. Either you're "Total" or you aren't. And having double player cards in the final release was a silly solution. Topps was saying, "Yes, we want all the players but we can afford to give them their own cards...sorry."
I've done a little comparing to see how Total did against the Flagship and Update sets (since with Update, the flagship is really a three series set).
Take a look...
|Topps Total||Flagship + Update|
Number of cards in set
718 + 275 = 993
720 + 275 = 995
733 + 221 = 954
733 + 330 = 1063
Number of Cubs in the set
Every year, Total had fewer cards in the complete set and fewer Cubs than the flagship. And because the flagship came out in three series instead of one, it had a better chance to be accurate, especially with the Update set.
If you truly want a Total set, Topps still has one...the flagship set.
The four year Cubs Total total is 121 cards. They make a nice 11 x 11 tile...