By Barry Janoff
November 4, 2014: Women comprise an estimated 45% of the NFL's more than 150 million fans in the U.S., according to a recent article in The Washington Post.
The TV audience for Super Bowl XLVIII this past February included a record 45 million women, according to broadcast network Fox.
On many levels, women are an increasingly valuable demographic among companies that either are official partners with the league or seek to align with football fans and consumers. However, situations involving domestic violence and chid abuse have put the relationship between the NFL and its female constituency on shaky ground.
That, however, has not stopped women from purchasing products associated with the NFL, in this case, jerseys sold by national sports retailer Dick's Sporting Goods.
Russell Wilson, Drew Brees and Jamaal Charles are the most popular players in the NFL among female fans and consumers, followed by Wes Welker, Troy Polamalu, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Andrew Luck and Luke Kuechly.
The most popular position based on sales was quarterback. The Pittsburgh Steelers were the most popular team with three players (Charles, Polamalu and Heath Miller).
The information was unveiled in a just-released "2014 Jersey Report" from Dick's, which broke down NFL jerseys purchased by women by every state and the District of Columbia from May-October 2014 in-store and online.
Specific sales figures and number of jerseys sold were not released. Nor was it detailed why some players were popular in the states in which they play but others were No. 1 in regions in which they seemed to have no direct connection.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Wilson had the best-selling jersey among Dick's female customers in four states: Washington, Idaho, Nevada and New Mexico.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Brees had the top-selling jersey in Louisiana and Mississippi as well as Vermont.
Charles, tight end with the Pittsburgh Steelers, was not the the top-seller in Pennsylvania but did come out on top in Kansas, Nebraska and Hawaii.
Polamalu, safety for the Steelers, took the honor in Pennsylvania as well as adjacent West Virginia.
Manning, quarterback with the Denver Broncos, led in Colorado as well as Montana. His teammate, wide receiver Wes Welker, had the best-selling jersey among Dick's female consumers in nearby Utah as well as not-so-nearby Iowa.
Manning's brother, Eli, quarterback for the New York Giants, did not lead in New York or New Jersey, but in Oklahoma. Sammy Watkins, rookie wide receiver with the Buffalo Bills, claimed the title in New York; and Giants' wide receiver Victor Cruz took New Jersey and Connecticut, according to the sales figures from Dick's.
Luck, quarterback for the Colts, was also among those players who proved to be most popular in two states, having won over Indiana as well as Oregon.
Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly was No. one in both in North and South Carolina;
In addition to Eli Manning, who appears to have no direct connection to Oklahoma, other unusual connections included Miller, tight end for the Steelers, who was born in Virginia and attended college at the University of Virginia, led sales in Arkansas and North Dakota.
Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten had the most popular jersey in Texas. Not to be left out, though, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo for some reason conquered Alaska.
The New England Patriots had a pair of teammates take the lead in New England states: quarterback Tom Brady in New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Massachusetts; and tight end Rob Gronkowsi in Maine.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco led in Maryland and wide receiver teammate Torry Smith was No. 1 in Washington D.C.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins was tops in Virginia.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall of the Chicago Bears was tops in Illinois and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler topped sales in adjoining state Iowa.
Rookie Johnny Manziel was Johnny Football in Ohio, where he has not yet played at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns.
Like Wilson, Brees, and Peyton Manning, some of the sales figures represented loyalty to players within the state in which they play.
Among them, Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, had the most-popular jersey in California; wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals had the No. 1 seller in that state; quarterback Blake Bortles of the Jacksonville Jaguars topped sales figures in Florida; wide receiver Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions was most popular in Michigan; wide receiver Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons claimed the lead in Georgia; Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker led in Tennessee; and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers top sales in Wisconsin.
Although not No. 1 in Pennsylvania, Nick Fowles quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, proved most popular in Delaware. (Editor's Note: Sales figures were compiles before Fowles broke his collar bone on Sunday, for which needs 6-8 weeks of recovery time.)
Wide receiver A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals, who was born in South Carolina and attended the University of Georgia, led the league in jersey sales in Kentucky.
According to the NFL, the best-selling jerseys via NFLShop.com among all consumers are Manziel, Wilson, Kaepernick, Peyton Manning, Richard Sherman, Michael Sam, Brady, Brees, Rodgers and Seattle's 12th Fan.
(Click on the map or here for larger image.)
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