Trying to predict the top selling jerseys in the NFL is almost as tough a task as trying to predict the final records of every team. So much depends on health, performance and more when determining which players will gain fame; much of that comes with overall team performance.
Still, there are those players who transcend their team and are ambassadors for the entire NFL, which keeps their jerseys high on the list.
Which stars will fall? Which rookies will rise?
Here is a prediction for the top selling jerseys in 2012-2013.
We’ll start with those just missing the cut.
The first group is made up of some immensely talented players whose jersey stocks could certainly rise with the addition of a Super Bowl in the cases of the quarterbacks like Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford. Younger players like Jason-Pierre Paul and rookie Ryan Tannehill have a lot of time to see their NFL fame rise.
In this group, there are multiple Super Bowl champions like Ben Roethlisberger, who are not less popular, but for an older fan base like the Steelers, they likely have their jerseys already. Marshawn Lynch may charge up the list because of his performance last year.
Players moving closer to the top include a new name in a giant market for Brandon Marshall. Ray Lewis still has drawing power as a face for the entire NFL, and Rob Gronkowski has certainly increased his popularity after last season’s record-setting performance.
The surprise here is that Robert Griffin III will have a jersey that outsells the player who was drafted above him in Andrew Luck. It is probable that with a miracle rookie season, either one could jump into the top 10, but with Luck trying to replace a legend, RG3 will have the easier time being embraced immediately by Redskins fans who are hungry for a franchise player.
The top 10 is not surprisingly dominated by quarterbacks, which stands to reason since this is a quarterback driven league.
10. Mario Williams, Bills: Mario is one of the biggest free agent acquisitions in Buffalo history, and the fans are ecstatic to have him there, which will translate to increased jersey sales.
9. DeSean jackson, Eagles: Jackson is a player who has already cracked the top 10 before, and with news that he is going to be staying in Philadelphia, fans will feel much more comfortable investing in his jersey.
8. Troy Polamalu, Steelers: Polamalu is a player who formally held the top position in jersey sales a few years ago, but his widespread appeal is still strong and keeps him in the top 10.
7. Michael Vick, Eagles: Vick is another player who has done a great job of rehabbing his image and is still a player who garners a lot of support around the league.
6. Tom Brady, Patriots: It isn’t so much that Tom Brady lost a Super Bowl that will push him farther down the top 10, but rather the fact that other players are winning and generating more buzz around the NFL.
5. Tim Tebow, Jets: The man doesn’t have to start a game because the legions of Tebow fans around the world are causing the newest edition of a Tebow jersey to fly off the shelves already. If, for whatever reason, Tebow steps in and plays QB for the Jets, he will easily jump to No. 1.
4. Drew Brees, Saints: Assuming the record-setting quarterback works out a new deal with the Saints, his record performance last year will get the New Orleans signal caller comfortably into the top five.
3. Peyton Manning, Broncos: Manning’s new orange and blue look will be a hot commodity in the Mile High City, since he is maybe the one player who could convince old time Broncos fans to break down and wear something other than their old No. 7 Elway jersey.
2. Eli Manning, Giants: Nothing like a second Super Bowl victory to vault you over names like Brady, Brees and your own brother into the second spot on the list. Eli may not be the buzz of New York, but those who celebrate winning are donning No.10 in the Big Apple.
1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers: Rodgers is still playing the position almost in a way that many haven’t seen before, and for that he is the most marketable player in terms of jersey sales. In a league where the QB is king, Rodgers is at the top of the heap for the second year in a row.