49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

June 2, 2010
Jersey Score: Willis ranks in the top 20

If NFL jerseys are like stocks, Patrick Willis is about the safest investment a 49ers fan can make right now. Not only has the inside linebacker led the league in tackles in two of the last three season, he recently signed a deal that could keep him in San Francisco through the 2016 season. Not surprisingly, Willis is the highest-ranked 49er in terms of jersey sales since the league's fiscal year began in April. I've included the top sellers from the beginning of the last fiscal year as well. Some observations, comments:

• Dear dads - make sure your kid plays offense. He's bound to have more marketing opportunities if he does. Willis is only one of four defensive players in the top 25 (last year there were only three), and he and Troy Polamalu are the only veterans.

• There are 13 QBs in the Top 25. Colt McCoy? Really, Cleveland? Tim Tebow? Really, Northern Florida?

• I'd love to see an estimate on how many Brett Favre jerseys have been sold during Favre's career. One group praying he returns this year - NFLshop.com

• Ben Roethlisberger has been a steady top seller in recent years, but he's not in the Top 25 so far this year.

• The Chargers think LaDainian Tomlinson is past his prime. But fans in New York and - surprisingly -- San Diego don't. He's ranked No. 9 - two spots ahead of QB Mark Sanchez.

• I got on the subject of jerseys because I wanted to see if Taylor Mays' jersey was selling well. It turns out that the league doesn't sell a ready-made Mays jersey yet. You can have one custom made but the league only pre-makes jerseys that are certain to sell. (see: Tebow, Tim). Look for red and gold No. 23 jerseys once A.) Mays becomes a starter and B.) makes a few highlight-reel plays.

1 Tim Tebow, Denver Broncos
2 Donovan McNabb, Washington Redskins
3 Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
4 Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts
5 Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions
6 Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
7 Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
8 Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings
9 LaDainian Tomlinson, NY Jets/SD Chargers
10 Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers
11 Mark Sanchez, New York Jets
12 Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
13 Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
14 Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs
15 Eli Manning, New York Giants
16 Brandon Marshall, Miami Dolphins
17 Reggie Bush, New Orleans Saints
18 Tom Brady, New England Patriots
19 Patrick Willis, San Francisco 49ers
20 Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia Eagles
21 DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
22 Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
23 Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
24 Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys
25 Colt McCoy, Cleveland Browns

April 2009
1 Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
2 Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers
3 Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
4 Mark Sanchez, New York Jets
5 Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers/New York Jets
6 Terrell Owens, Buffalo Bills
7 Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steelers
8 Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
9 Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs
10 Tom Brady, New England Patriots
11 Eli Manning, New York Giants
12 LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers
13 Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers
14 Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
15 Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
16 Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts
17 Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears
18 Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars
19 Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals
20 Devin Hester, Chicago Bears
21 Willie Parker, Pittsburgh Steelers
22 Brian Dawkins, Denver Broncos
23 Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
24 Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
25 Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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