Typically when you think of leading jersey sales in the NFL, you think of popular guys like Peyton Manning and the most recent Super Bowl-winning quarterback, such as Russell Wilson. Then there are the overreactions to rookies each year after the NFL Draft, which is the case again this year: Johnny Manziel and Michael Sam lead jersey sales in the league, which isn’t a good thing.
Manziel hasn’t played a snap for the Cleveland Browns since being drafted No. 22 overall on Thursday night, but he’s already made millions of dollars for the franchise. In the 12 hours following the Browns’ selection of Manziel, the team sold 1,500 season tickets and now is raking in the dough from all the No. 2 jerseys with Johnny Football’s real last name on them.
Although he wasn’t a first-round pick, Sam was taken by the St. Louis Rams late in the seventh round and made history by becoming the first openly gay player in the NFL. In a somewhat surprising result, his jersey now trails only Manziel among NFL jersey sales since April 1.
How is that possible, you ask since the draft was in mid-May? The average number of jerseys per player sold over that time tilted so far in Manziel and Sam’s favor that they’re now Nos. 1 and 2 overall in the league over the past month and a half, respectively.
Here’s the problem: Neither player is likely to pan out. Regardless of what anyone thinks about Manziel’s playground-style game translating to the next level, he’s doomed in Cleveland, especially after Josh Gordon’s year-long suspension surfaced over the weekend.
On the same note, Sam is a long shot to make the Rams’ roster, regardless of his sexual orientation because he’s simply not a great pro prospect.
So all these folks who are flocking to buy their jerseys are going to have a tough time selling them on eBay when both players are looking for work elsewhere. Oh well, at least now the players can make money off their own names, even if it’s only for a short time.
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