According to ESPN, no NFL players rank among 20 most famous athletes

cheap youth nfl apparel

The National Football League is the most popular sport in the United States. It’s hard to deny, when a second-round NFL playoff game last season drew more viewers than a historic Game 7 of the 2016 World Series.

But when it comes to having famous superstars? The NFL doesn’t stack up, at least according to ESPN’s second annual ranking of the top 100 most famous athletes.

nfl jerseys 2016

Even if you want to argue about the accuracy of the ranking – it’s done with a formula that takes into account endorsements, social media following and internet search popularity, ESPN says – it’s clear the NFL doesn’t have the individual star power of many other sports.

It’s not just that the NFL’s top star doesn’t rank in the top 20. The second NFL player to make the list was quarterback Jersey, all the way down at No. 47. He ranked 14 spots behind oft-injured New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose, who hasn’t made an all-star team since 2012 and has never played in an NBA Finals.

penn state football shopping

Only seven NFL players ranked higher than Chinese tennis table star Ma Long at No. 71. Here are the only NFL players who made the list: Brady, Newton, Jersey at No. 52, at No. 55, Jersey at No. 56, Jersey at No. 60, at No. 64, and Jersey at No. 74.

Again, if we want to argue with the validity of a list that has Dwyane Wade, who is in the twilight of his career, only three spots behind the most famous NFL player or Watt three spots behind a table tennis player, that’s fine. But if we take the list at face value, there are a few takeaways:

buy pro bowl jerseys 2015 nfl season 1. Roger Goodell is probably right in wanting to expand the international market

Part of the reason the NBA does much better on this list than the NFL is the NBA has a much bigger worldwide presence. It’s hard to believe Wade or Rose are much more famous than Aaron Rodgers Jersey Jersey, until you factor in the international markets. The NFL seemingly has some real untapped growth abroad if only one of its players make the top 46 in a worldwide fame list. There’s a reason regular-season games are being shipped to other countries, whether we like it or not.

cheap youth nfl apparel 2. The NFL is lacking in true stars

The lack of high rankings for NFL players might seem weird that to an American audience that consumes the NFL at an astonishing rate, but who really needs to be higher on the list? Even some of the names on the list – Eli Manning Jersey Jersey? – seem a little out of place. or Jersey might be fantastic players, but they’re not causing a mob scene when they leave the house. There are plenty of great players in the NFL, but not many who transcend the sport like Brady does, or Jersey did.

3. The NFL doesn’t need (or want?) true stars

Players retire. When Michael Jordan left the NBA, the league went through a lull. When you avoid marketing your league around individual players, players leaving the sport is not as much of a concern. It’s probably wise for the NFL, considering it has a more rapid turnover than the other sports. People seem to enjoy rooting for NFL teams and not players, and the laundry doesn’t change. Could the lack of stars be a reason NFL ratings dipped a bit last year? Maybe, but ratings for everything are sagging, due to the changing media and entertainment landscape. The NFL isn’t exempt. Overall the league is in great shape, given its ratings compared to other American sports and its revenue. It has done so despite a relative lack of individual superstars. That could be the league’s strategy, and it seems like a smart one.

It’s clear the NFL doesn’t have a glut of international superstars. The league seems to be doing just fine without them, though.

Tom Brady Jersey Jersey and his wife, supermodel Gisele.