Happy Valentines Day, everyone. Today we celebrate those we love. We shower them with gifts and/or affection if we are able to do so. I could poll which of the Raiders players are the most beloved, but merchandise sales is a far better indicator of that.
As the above map shows, the most beloved/popular NFL player in the state of California in terms of merchandise sales last year was Derek Carr.
Even in his fourth NFL season, people were still steadily buying up his merchandise at a rapid rate. Sure, he had a down season, but much of these sales were living off his heroic 2016 season and the record 5-year extension he signed last offseason. With that kind of long term investment by the team, fans feel pretty good about their investment in the merchandise.
The graphic, which NFL.com put together based on detailed merchandise sales data, is absolutely fascinating when you really study it. Here it is again.
Much of the names in their regions are expected. Russell Wilson in the Northwest, North Dakota State alum Carson Wentz dominates the North and much of the areas around Pennsylvania, and so forth. But Tom Brady in Florida? and Indiana? And Hawaii? That bandwagon travels well.
Who knew Dak Prescott was so popular? Even in Nevada? and Nebraska? Christian McCaffrey over Cam Newton in North Carolina? Alvin Kamara over Drew Brees in Louisiana?
It also shows just how little love defensive players get when it comes to merchandise sales. Von Miller is the only player to be a state’s most popular, taking the top spot in Colorado and Wyoming. All others are offensive skill position players, most of whom are quarterbacks. The only other non-QB’s were McCaffrey, Kamara, Larry Fitzgerald (AZ), Adam Thielen, Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and Travis Kelce.