Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III set an NFL single-season record for passer rating by a rookie (102.4) while earning NFL Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl honors last season.
Griffin also had the top-selling jersey in NFL history, Darren Rovell of ESPN.com reports.
Exact figures were not disclosed, but according to Rovell, Griffin's jersey paced sales from April 1, 2012 until March 1, 2013, an impressive feat considering Griffin was not officially in the National Football League until the Redskins selected him with the No. 2 overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft, a selection that was made around 8:30 p.m. on April 26.
Griffin was one of seven quarterbacks to rank in the Top 10 in jersey sale rankings.
Peyton Manning, who signed with the Denver Broncos last offseason after spending the first 14 seasons of his career with the Indianapolis Colts, ranked second. Andrew Luck, who replaced Manning as the No. 1 overall pick by the Colts in 2012, ranked sixth. Other quarterbacks in the Top 10 were Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers (fourth), Tom Brady of the New England Patriots (fifth), Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers (seventh) and Eli Manning of the New York Giants, who ranked ninth.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis ranked third, despite missing most of the season due to a torn triceps. While recovering from that injury, Lewis disclosed that 2012 would be his final season in the NFL which likely contributed to the increased sales of Lewis jersey. In addition to Lewis' retirement, the 2012 apparel change from Reebok to Nike and the Ravens' win over the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVIII are also additional factors in the spike in sales.
A deep playoff run may also have led to more people purchasing jerseys of 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis, whose jersey ranked tenth in sales during that time period.
Rovell adds that New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow ranked 13th, while Seattle Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson ranked 14th. Wilson's ranking comes as a bit of a surprise as the Seahawks were the only team to complete change their uniforms for the conversion to Nike — an action that is usually accompanied by increased sales. Combine the new uniforms with Wilson's stellar performance on the field, Seattle's impressive performance in the playoffs and his appearance in the Pro Bowl, one would think Wilson would have cracked the Top 10. Despite that, he couldn't outsell Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, who played for a non-playoff team and has a contractual issue that has his long-term future with the franchise in doubt.
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