He’s the most exciting NFL rookie in a season full of some good ones, and fans are opening up their wallets in appreciation.
The number 10 jersey for Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III has just broken the NFL record for single-season sales, becoming the best-selling jersey since the league started keeping track in 2006, NFL spokeswoman Joanna Hunter told ESPN’s Darren Rovell.
The distinction is based on jersey sales through the NFL’s official online store, NFLshop.com.
The previous record holder was Brett Favre, who had top-selling jerseys with both the New York Jets and the Minnesota Vikings. Meanwhile, Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos jersey has jumped to the fourth spot among all-time best sellers.
Impressively, RGIII set the jersey record while riding the bench. Last Sunday, Kirk Cousins, his backup, led the Redskins to a 38-21 victory over the Cleveland Browns while Griffin recovered from a knee injury.
What makes Griffin – and his jersey – so marketable? The better question might be, is there anything that doesn’t? First, there’s the excitement and versatility he brings to the quarterback position, a style and speed of play that even casual fans can appreciate. By just a few weeks into the 2012 season, he had made the Redskins, a team that has been an NFL afterthought for a near decade, one of the most fun squads in the league to watch.
Then there’s off the field, where he has proven just as magnetic. A Heisman Trophy winner last year in college, Griffin came out of Baylor University and into more money in endorsements than any rookie in NFL history, landing deals with Nissan, Subway, Adidas, Gatorade, and others before taking a single NFL snap. He gives a great sound bite, displaying in his interviews and press conferences a level of calm self-assurance that, coming from anyone else, would seem cocky.
He’s even made his trademark goofy socks cool. A line of RGIII socks from Adidas, adorned with sayings like “Go catch your dreams,” and “No pressure, no diamonds,” has completely sold out. Fans will apparently pay $20 for a pair of socks, as long as they are RGIII socks.
What’s more, NFL jerseys aren’t cheap – adult sizes sell for between $100 and $300 on NFL.com. It’s a big investment to make for a player who may not be good, or could leave a team after a few seasons. Griffin, a rare talent and the Redskins’ franchise player, seems like a relatively safe bet. “People feel like they have no problem buying his jersey,” Rovell said on ESPN’s SportsCenter Monday. “He’s going to be with the Redskins for a while, obviously. He’s probably not going to get in trouble…there’s security with RGIII, and people feel like they want to wear him on their back.”
Redskins fans haven’t had an iconic franchise player in a long while, so they’re due for a spending spree. And they’ve delivered. The sale of Redskins merchandise on fanatics.com has spiked 250 percent from last season, according to ESPN.
And it looks like it may keep going. The Redskins have a very good shot at making the playoffs, tied for first in the NFC East with the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys, and among the favorites for an NFC wildcard slot. What’s more, there are 3 ½ months left in the NFL’s fiscal year, which ends in March. Now that RGIII has broken Favre’s jersey sales record, he has ample time to absolutely shatter it.