The top-selling NFL jersey is one that has never been worn during a professional football game.
Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel is a phenom unlike any other first-year NFL player. The sensation known as Johnny Football first turned heads by being the most exciting player in all of college football over the past two seasons. His reputation for being a party guy, something that he has only boosted since being drafted by the Browns on May 8, has made him a favorite of websites such as TMZ.
Even though he has yet to throw a pass in a NFL game, Manziel has struck national advertising deals with McDonald’s and Nike and Snickers. Those companies will be delighted to know that Manziel is already generating revenue for the league.
He is responsible for the hottest selling jersey in the land.
Here are the 10 top-selling NFL player jerseys from April 1 to July 17, 2014 according to NFLshop.com.
10. Seattle Seahawks “12th Fan”
The “12th man” in American football refers to the atmosphere created by home fans during a game, specifically the amount of noise they make while the opposing team is in possession of the football. Seattle has taken that concept to a different level. Fans at CenturyLink Field actually managed to cause an earthquake during a playoff game that occurred in 2011.
The club honors its fan base before every home game with the raising of a No. 12 flag. Seattle retired the No. 12 jersey in 1984 in honor of the team’s supporters. The “12th Fan” is the only non-player jersey to make it into the top 25 of the top-sellers.
9. Aaron Rodgers — Green Bay Packers
The starting quarterback of the Packers has achieved it all in pro football. He has won regular season and Super Bowl Most Valuable Player awards. He hoisted the Vince Lombardi trophy in celebration February of 2011. At just 30 years old, he is still in his prime and maybe the best overall quarterback in the business today.
Rodgers has also emerged as a television star thanks to one marketing campaign.
The “belt-motion” that Rodgers makes whenever he scores a rushing touchdown is now known as the “Discount Double-Check” due to a few clever State Farm TV commercials. With plenty of good football ahead of him, Rodgers’ days of starring in ads are far from over.
8. Drew Brees — New Orleans Saints
Part of Brees‘ popularity among different fan bases is that he has consistently been a fantasy football stud. He threw for over 5,000 yards in each of the past three seasons. Brees tossed no fewer than 39 touchdown passes per season over that same stretch of time. A player once thought by some to be too small to lead a NFL offense will one day be enshrined at Canton.
Brees also has as good a reputation as any American professional athlete. He is a family man. Brees is respected by NFL players and coaches alike. He is also a proven winner. Brees is an easy player to root for. That is, until he is facing off against your favorite team.
7. Tom Brady — New England Patriots
There will, even before he calls time on his playing days, be some who name Brady as the greatest quarterback to ever play the position. He is a three-time Super Bowl champion and a two-time Super Bowl MVP. Brady has appeared on pro football’s biggest stage on five occasions. He has been a post-season mainstay throughout his NFL career.
Brady’s fame doesn’t only exist on the field. He has appeared on magazine covers, and Brady has been featured in TV commercials for UGG boots. A winner who also happens to have cover model looks, Brady has been an advertiser’s dream come true for a decade and a half.
6. Michael Sam — St. Louis Rams
It’s been a roller coaster 2014 for the Missouri product. The rookie made national headlines in early February when he announced to the world that he was gay. He then underwhelmed at the NFL Combine and in workouts with teams. His moment at the NFL Draft came in the seventh round, when the St. Louis Rams selected the linebacker with the 249th overall pick.
Sam has quite the uphill battle ahead of him. No seventh round pick in NFL history will be discussed more than Sam, and he is certain to unintentionally cause a media circus at training camp. There are also serious concerns about his size, his athleticism, and his overall playing abilities.
Jersey sales show that many around the country are rooting for Sam.
5. Richard Sherman — Seattle Seahawks
He may not have an imaginary island named after him, but Sherman could be the best cornerback in the NFL today. While he is not one to shy away from a microphone, Sherman’s play on the field speaks for itself. His pass breakup at the conclusion of the 2014 NFC Championship Game is regarded by many as one of the best defensive plays in postseason history.
Sherman created buzz when he had some unkind words to say about San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree following the NFC title game. He now has even more to boast about following last February’s Super Bowl, as Sherman can add “world champion” to what is already an impressive resume.
4. Peyton Manning — Denver Broncos
If Tom Brady is not the best quarterback in NFL history, that distinction may belong to the older Manning brother. He will not retire with as many Super Bowl rings as Brady has, but Manning is going to hold a plethora of regular season records when he steps away from the game as an active quarterback. Like Brady, Manning already has a place reserved in the Hall of Fame.
While he did put up incredible numbers in 2013, the fact of the matter is that Manning is in the twilight of his career. At 38 years old and with a surgically-repaired neck, Manning may only have one or two seasons left in the tank. Enjoy him while you can, football fans.
Players like Manning come once in a generation.
3. Colin Kaepernick — San Francisco 49ers
Kaepernick‘s place in this list is, when compared with the spots held by other players, somewhat surprising. He is the only non-rookie quarterback in the top ten to not yet have won a Super Bowl. Kaepernick has never been league MVP. Some would argue that Kaepernick isn’t even the best quarterback in his own division let alone one of the top QBs in the NFL.
While he has never won the final game played in an NFL season, Kaepernick has enjoyed plenty of success over the past several years. The 26-year-old has guided the Niners to one Super Bowl appearance. He has shown that he has the goods to be a top-tier QB. Somewhat unluckily, Kaepernick will, so long as he is with San Francisco, have to compete against the No.2 player on this list.
2. Russell Wilson — Seattle Seahawks
To the victor goes the spoils.
Fate and fortune have smiled upon the 25-year-old quarterback since the spring of 2012. Wilson was supposed to be a backup quarterback in his first season in the league, during which he went on to win Rookie of the Year honors. He has had Marshawn Lynch in his backfield, and the defense of the Seahawks was historically dominant last season.
Don’t let anybody undersell Wilson‘s talent. He may not be Brees or Manning or Brady, but his career rating of 100.6 shows that Wilson is more than just a game-manager. Wilson is, with only two NFL seasons in his pocket, one of the smartest QBs in the league, and it’s a safe bet that he is going to continue to improve for years to come.
1. Johnny Manziel — Cleveland Browns
He’s polarizing. He’s electric. He’s magic. Love him, hate him, or somewhere in between, nobody can deny that Manziel is a legitimate superstar, and he is one before appearing in even a preseason game.
Browns fans are hoping that Manziel is more than hype. The franchise has not had a true starting quarterback since the first half of the 1990s. Cleveland last won an NFL title in 1964, before the Super Bowl ever existed.
The partying and the “money sign” and the buzz that comes with Manziel will all mean nothing if he doesn’t win when it matters. He may not even get his chance to do that this season. Manziel is currently second on the depth chart of the Browns behind veteran journeyman Brian Hoyer.