Brady leads NFL's top 50 in merchandise sales

Tom Brady still has sales appeal, as he took the No. 1 spot in officially licensed merchandise sales for the first quarter of this fiscal year.

Tom Brady is still waiting on his fate from DeflateGate, but that drama didn’t deaden his sales appeal.

The New England Patriots quarterback led all NFL players in officially licensed merchandise sales from March 1 through May 31, despite the controversy surrounding his role in Patriots employees allegedly deflating footballs for the AFC Championship Game. Brady has appealed his four-game suspension in that case.

It’s the first time Brady topped the sales list, but the fact that a quarterback is atop the list surprises no one. Brady unseated the previous Super Bowl-winning quarterback, Russel Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, from last fiscal year. Brady finished third last year.

The top five spots were all occupied by quarterbacks, with Brady followed by Colin Kaepernick, Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning.

Houston Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt was sixth, followed by Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. Those two were the only defensive players in the top 10.

Marcus Mariota (No. 9, Tennessee Titans) and Jameis Winston (No. 10, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) also joined the top 10, the first time pair of rookie quarterbacks made the top 10.

The list is released by NFL Players Inc., the marketing and licensing arm of the NFLPA, and based on overall sales of all licensed products from online and traditional retail outlets as reported by more than 80 NFLPA licensees. Licensed product categories include men’s, women’s and youth game jerseys and t-shirts, player murals, figurines, matted and framed photos, bobbleheads, drinkware, socks, jewelry, electronic device accessories, among others.

Some other insights from the list:

  • Kaepernick and Brady ranked first and second, respectively, in Nike jerseys. Wilson was most popular among kids in hardlines and apparel, followed by Rodgers, Watt, Manning and Kaepernick.

  • In women’s apparel, Kaepernick took the top spot, with Brady, Wilson, Rodgers and Watt rounding out the top five.

  • Switching teams apparently helped boost sales among certain players, too. In March, defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh moved from the Detroit Lions to the Miami Dolphins in free agency and appeared in the top 50 for the first time in his career. Tight end Jimmy Graham went from the New Orleans Saints to the Seahawks in a March trade and moved from No. 40 on the list for the third quarter of last year’s fiscal year to No. 12 in the first quarter of this fiscal year.

  • Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns was the first offensive lineman to appear on the report (No. 45) since the NFLPA began compiling the list in 2012.

  • New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. jumped from the NFLPA “Rising 50” List, which projects future top sellers of licensed merchandise, into eighth place on the overall first-quarter list. Other Rising 50 players who moved from prospects to emerging retail stars included Oakland Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack (No. 26), Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (No. 29), Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (No. 35), Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (No. 38), Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (No. 43) and 49ers running back Carlos Hyde (No. 49).

    1. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
    2. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
    3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
    4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
    5. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
    6. J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
    7. Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks
    8. Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants
    9. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans
    10. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    11. DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles
    12. Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks
    13. Joe Haden, Cleveland Browns
    14. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
    15. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills
    16. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
    17. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
    18. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
    19. Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers
    20. NaVorro Bowman, San Francisco 49ers
    21. Darrelle Revis, New York Jets
    22. Ndamukong Suh, Miami Dolphins
    23. Brandon Marshall, New York Jets
    24. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
    25. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
    26. Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders
    27. Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns
    28. Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks
    29. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
    30. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
    31. Tim Tebow, Philadelphia Eagles
    32. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
    33. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
    34. Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills
    35. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
    36. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
    37. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
    38. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
    39. Patrick Willis, San Francisco 49ers (retired in March)
    40. Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers
    41. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
    42. Kam Chancellor, Seattle Seahawks
    43. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
    44. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
    45. Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns
    46. Kevin White, Chicago Bears
    47. Eric Reid, San Francisco 49ers
    48. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
    49. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers
    50. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos

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