Dolphins’ new quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, taken fifth overall in the NFL Draft, leads the league in jersey sales with his aqua and white jerseys. Now, a rookie from Alabama taking over the number one slot from stars like Tom Brady and Lamar Jackson seems weird. But there is a reason for everything, and there is a reason for this.
Look, the quarterback is the position in football. When I say “the position,” I mean, if you were to ask someone to name a position in football, they would most likely say quarterback. For example, when I asked my Mom, she said quarterback. The quarterback is the face of nearly NFL every team. When you have a good quarterback, you usually have a good team. Organizations like the Ravens, Chiefs, Saints, Packers, and Texans all are playoff teams with top ten quarterbacks, and that isn’t much of a debate.
The quarterback is the best at making the team better than they are, and again, there isn’t much of a debate. Considering the quarterback is the most popular position, it makes sense that Tua has the highest sales as a quarterback.
Look, the rookie was a college star. Not only was Tua the backup that came in and turned around the 2018 championship for the Tide. He was also runner-up in the Heisman voting the following year and led Alabama to the National Championship. He was humble and holding the torch for the most popular college football school of the generation and arguably of all-time.
According to a study conducted by Emory professor Micheal Lewis, Miami has the 14th best NFL fan base. That ranks higher than some of the fan bases with top ten players. Some include the Bengals with number one pick Joe Burrow and the Buccaneers with new quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski, future Hall of Fame players. The study was based on teams “data on attendance, revenues, social media following, and road attendance to develop statistical models of fan interest,” according to Lewis. The idea being that the higher the fan base is ranked, the more jerseys the fans will buy.
It is the reason why Patrick Mahomes was second to Tom Brady in jersey sales in 2019. Mahomes plays in Kansas City with the 31st ranked fan base, whereas Brady’s Patriots ranked second.
The formula is pretty simple. Tua is a rising star who comes from arguably the best college program in the country. He has a big fan base, unique name, and bigger fan bases don’t have a quarterback as popular as Tagovailoa. The other quarterbacks drafted in the first round either come from a smaller school or have a smaller fan base. Tua came into the league as a hyped-up player with a big fan base. That is a perfect storm for leading the NFL in jersey sales.
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