By Barry Janoff
April 28, 2014: Winning a Super Bowl not only gets you a championship team, it puts you on the leader board among your peers when it comes to selling our share of $1 billion in NFL merchandise.
Russell Wilson, who helped to lead the Seattle Seahawks to a victory in Super Bowl XLVIII this past February, had the top-selling items among the 70-plus licensees that have an alliance with NFL Players Inc., which is the licensing and marketing subsidiary of the NFL Players Association.
Wilson moved up from No. 19 the previous fiscal year to No. 1 based on retail sales from March 1, 2013-Feb. 28, 2014.
The man he replaced at No. 1: Peyton Manning, quarterback of the Denver Broncos, the team defeated by the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Although sales from individual players were not released, NFLPI said that total retail sales exceeded $1 billion during the fiscal year.
Nine of the Top Ten players on the list are quarterbacks, with the line exception being Marshawn Lynch, running back and teammate of Wilson on the Seahawks. Lynch moved up to No. 7 from No. 29 on the previous year's list.
The Top 50 list is based on total overall sales of all licensed products from online and traditional retail outlets as reported by more than 70 NFLPI licensees. Among the companies aligned with NFLPI are Nike, VF Imagewear, Fanatics, Outerstuff, Fathead (Wilson items pictured above), McFarlane Toys (Manning pictured below), Oyo Sportstoys, Bleacher Creatures, Forever Collectibles and Photo File.
Licensed product categories include men’s, women’s and youth game jerseys and T-shirts; player murals, figurines, matted and framed photos, bobbleheads, drinkware, jewelry and electronic device accessories.
NFLPI, based in Washington, DC, also said that it has signed new licensing agreements with Athlitacomics, FBF Originals, From The Bench, Masterpieces Puzzle Company, New Era and Original Retro Brand. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The quarterbacks following Wilson and Manning in the Top Ten are Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco 49ers), Robert Griffin III, (Washington Redskins), Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers), Tom Brady (New England Patriots), Eli Manning (New York Giants), Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts) and Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints).
At No. 11, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is the highest-ranked defensive player. Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is the highest-ranked pass catcher at No. 15.
The Packers’ Clay Matthews ( No. 14) and 49ers’ Patrick Willis (No. 16) are the only linebackers in the Top 20.
The Dallas Cowboys had the most players among the Top 50 (5), led by Witten. Denver and San Francisco each have four players among the Top 50.
All three of Seattle's players on the list were among the Top 12, including Wilson, Lynch and cornerback Richard Sherman (No. 12), who was not in the Top 50 at the start of the fiscal year, according to NFLPI.
There were 24 teams with at least one player among the Top 50. Not represented: Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Biils, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans.
NFLPI Top 50 Player Sales Rankings (FY14):
1. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
2. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
3. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
4. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
5. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
6. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
7. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
8. Eli Manning, New York Giants
9. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
10. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
11. J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
12. Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks
13. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
14. Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers
15. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
16. Patrick Willis, San Francisco 49ers
17. Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers
18. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
19. Arian Foster, Houston Texans
20. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
21. Victor Cruz, New York Giants
22. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
23. Wes Welker, Denver Broncos
24. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
25. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
26. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
27. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
28. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
29. DeMarcus Ware, Dallas Cowboys
30. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
31. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
32. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
33. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders
34. Austin Miles, Dallas Cowboys
35. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
36. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
37. Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts
38. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
39. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
40. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
41. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
42. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
43. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
44. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
45. Von Miller, Denver Broncos
46. Eric Decker, Denver Broncos
47. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
48. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
49. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
50. Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers