By Barry Janoff
May 30, 2012: Peyton Manning has yet to play an official game with the Denver Broncos, but already is scoring big for his first-year team.
The former Indianapolis Colts quarterback had the No. 1 selling NFL jersey the past two months (April 1-May 28), according to figures from NFLShop.com.
However, rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins had the NFL's No. 1 selling jersey in the month of May. The discrepancy is due to the fact that jerseys for rookies did not go on sale until late April to coincide with the NFL Draft.
Griffin III's jersey is also unique in that it is the first official NFL jersey to feature a player's name followed by Roman numerals.
Although sales figures were not released, this is all good news for Nike. NFL jerseys this season for the first time are from Nike, which has a five-year deal with the league. Adidas division Reebok had been the NFL's official jersey supplier for the previous ten seasons.
Following Manning during the April-May sales period are Tim Tebow, formerly with the Broncos and now in his first season with the New York Jets; Griffin, rookie Andrew Luck with the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton's brother Eli Manning, quarterback of the defending Super Bowl XLVI champion New York Giants.
The Top Ten also includes Aaron Rogers of the Green Bay Packers (No. 6), San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis (No. 7), Tom Brady of the New England Patriots (No. 8), Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers (No. 9) and safety Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 10).
The Top Ten has eight quarterbacks, plus Willis and Polamalu.
The ten best-selling jerseys last season, according to NFLShop.com, were Rogers, Tebow, Eli Manning, Brady, Polamalu, Victor Cruz with the Giants, quarterback Drew Brees with the New Orleans Saints, Green Bay's Clay Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
Manning, a perennial top ten finisher, was No. 18 last season, having missed the entire year recovering from neck surgery.