A new poll conducted by Sports Business Daily asked the nation’s top marketers and sports business execs “who is the most marketable NFL player today?”
Before you say Tebow, slap yourself. Almost all of the top 10 most marketable players in country have something in common: they’ve won a Super Bowl. Although Tebow does make the list, he's got a lot more winning to do to take the top spot. Besides Super Bowl winners dominating the list, another prevalent note is that 8 out of the 11 players shown were all quarterbacks. While that shouldn’t come as a surprise, it is a little shocking that three defenders made the list and not a single running back or wide receiver makes an appearance.
Let’s take a look at the final list.....
1. Aaron Rodgers
The success of the “Discount Double Check” commercials speaks for itself. It shows Rodgers as a normal guy who expects everyone to recognize him after his Super Bowl MVP performance and also plays on the Favre shadow. Plus, I think the main reason Rodgers ranks so high is that he seemingly has it all - he is THE man in one of the most storied franchises in all of sports, a Super Bowl winner and MVP, and he's just getting started.
2. Tom Brady
He’s the Golden Boy. 3 Super Bowl wins, a supermodel wife, and a brand new ENORMOUS mansion. Brady never gets in trouble, always says the right things, and is pretty much the perfect pitchman. Yet, his endorsement products are sketchy at best considering there is a billboard somewhere showing Tommy Boy rocking Uggs as if any guy in their right mind would do the same.
3. Peyton Manning
With or without a healthy neck, no one can top this man’s commercials or SNL skits. His football career may be over any day now, but he certainly has a future with a camera in front of his face somewhere. As long as Peyton can still shout "cut that meat" he will be marketable.
4. Drew Brees
A family man who does everything right, it’s a little unclear as to why Brees ranks so high on this list given that he’s really only done a medicine commercial, Sesame Street, and an ESPN spot. But given the range of the items I just mentioned and his success the last few years, you haven't seen the last of Brees outside the football field. He also has Ellen firmly in his corner as one of his biggest fans.
5. Tim Tebow
I’m not going to beat a dead horse. (See what I did there?) But as much as I hate to give this kid any more attention than what he honestly wants, his mainstream marketing abilities tie hand in hand with his on the field performance. If he continues to win, he will be #1 on this list. But if he loses, frequently, his market turns to Christian book best sellers and paid church appearances.
6. Troy Polamalu
A quiet defensive player is not someone who the major population would rank so high, but if you’ve ever seen those Head & Shoulders commercials featuring the Steelers star, you would understand why his hair alone is worth its weight in endorsement gold.
7. Eli Manning
He plays in the biggest market in the country and already has one Super Bowl to his name. And now that he’s made it to his second Super Bowl and is beginning to become more of a household name, Eli might finally be able to throw away that “well he’s just Peyton’s little brother” talk.
8. Cam Newton
He’s a once in a generation type athlete who played in the SEC, won a national title, and put up record breaking rookie numbers. We all know he’s built like a linebacker with the face of a model who will have no problem taking a check for services rendered. His stock value has nowhere to go but up, as long as he stops throwing interceptions, especially in the Pro Bowl.
9. Clay Mathews
Clay Matthews is the first Super Bowl winning linebacker to make the cut, but I suspect it has to do with the lack of a hair cut as to why he made this list. Clay Mathews is a white defensive player with long blond hair and a Tarzan-like quality to him. While it’s sad to say, the media eats that image up.
T-10. Ray Lewis
I honestly have no idea why Ray Lewis is even on this list after those dreadfully forced (and creepy) Old Spice commercials. Sure, he’s a future Hall of Famer who’s an absolute beast on the field, but that one commercial was enough to turn me off from Ray for quite a while.
T-10. Tony Romo
Pardon me, but how is a loser marketable? Stinkin’ it up in Dallas when you’re semi good looking and having flings with Jessica Simpson and Carrie Underwood doesn’t make you marketable. It makes you a joke.
And that's the list. Personally, I'm surprised guys like Maurice Jones-Drew, Mark Sanchez and Philip Rivers didn't make the cut. Those guys all have great personalities, good looks, and are notable players. But as with any list, you're bound to leave someone qualified out.
Did you notice anyone who was left off the list that you think should have been added? Let us know in the comments below.
Also for ESPN Radio don't forget that Marc Kestecher and WIll Perdue are doing all of the studio shows live from the arena's and that Ric Bucher is the sideline reporter for all of the games too!