Monday, July 21, 2014
Sam's jersey sixth-best seller in NFL
By Nick Wagoner
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- It's pretty common to see a rookie who has never played a game show up on the list of the NFL's best-selling jerseys before training camp even begins. Many college players simply carry the name-value and fan following that makes proving themselves in the NFL unimportant when it comes to purchasing a jersey.
Michael Sam's No. 96 Rams jersey ranks No. 6 in NFL.com jersey sales from April 1 to July 17.
You don't, however, see rookie seventh-round draft picks on the list before they've ever taken a snap. But as we already knew, St. Louis Rams defensive end Michael Sam is clearly not your run-of-the-mill seventh-round draft choice. As the first openly gay player drafted to the NFL, Sam has already become one of the most well-known seventh-round picks of all time.
Sam is also one of only two defensive players -- Sherman the other -- to make the top 10. Clearly, Sam's historic announcement and pursuit of a roster spot in St. Louis has transcended his draft position and made his jersey a hot commodity among fans.
If nothing else, Sam's jersey is already considered something of a collector's item. It will likely continue to sell well, but it's still a piece of memorabilia that could have a short shelf life. There aren't many fans who buy jerseys of a player who is far from a lock to make his team's roster.
That's much different than the situation in Cleveland, where quarterback Johnny Manziel is No. 1 on the list in no small part because of his larger-than-life personality and the profile he brings into the league as a first-round pick. Manziel is a lock to make the roster and the only question surrounding his status in that regard is whether he'll be the opening-day starter.
Sam doesn't enjoy the same luxury as he pursues a spot on the team's initial 53-man roster with the possibility that those No. 96 jerseys could be out of date only months after they were purchased.