By Barry Janoff
July 29, 2016: When it comes to looking for "America's Team" in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys may come up short on the field, with just five post-season appearances and a 2-5 playoff mark since 2000, but they arguably live up to that moniker when it comes to moving merchandise.
The NFL earlier this month said that Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot, entering his first season in the league, had the best-selling jersey among all players over the past three months, based on sales at NFLShop.com.
Now, the NFL Players Assn. has released numbers showing that Elliot and three of his Cowboys teammates are among the Top Five regarding merchandise sales for the first quarter of 2016.
Wide receiver Dez Bryant was No. 1 on the list, marking the first time since the NFLPA began compiling its Top 50 Player list in 2013, via its licensing and marketing arm, NFL Players Inc., that a non-quarterback took the top spot.
Bryant was followed by Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo at No. 2, Elliot at No. 3 and Dallas tight end Jason Witten at No. 5.
Aaron Rodgers, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, was No. 4.
The list is based on total sales of all officially licensed NFL player merchandise, tracking year-to-date results from March 1 - May 31, 2016., according to the NFLPA. Sales figures and the amount of merchandise sold was not disclosed.
There were six quarterbacks in the Top 12, including Romo, Rodgers, Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks at No. 6, New England Patriots Tom Brady at No. 7, rookie Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 9 and Cam Newton of the defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers at No. 12.
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was the highest ranked defensive player at No. 11.
The Top Ten also included wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., of the New York Giants at No. 8 and Rob Gronkowski, tight end for the Patriots, at No. 10 .
The Cowboys and Seahawks had the most players among the Top 50 with five players each. The Packers were next with four players, followed by the Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders with three players each.
Quarterbacks led the list with 17 among the Top 50. Second were wide receivers (11), followed by linebackers (7). There were 38 players on offense,12 defensive players.
Four rookies were among the first quarter’s 50 best sellers: Elliott, Wentz, quarterback Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams (No. 14) and San Diego Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa at No. 43.
Khalil Mack of the Raiders had the biggest jump from the previous quarter, moving up 29 spots from No. 42 to No. 13.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck moved up 16 spots to No. 15.
Figures are based on overall sales of all licensed products via online and traditional retail outlets as reported by more than 80 NFLPA licensees, including Fanatics, Nike, VF Imagewear, Outerstuff, Fathead, McFarlane Toys, OYO Sports, Bleacher Creatures, FBF Originals, Forever Collectibles and 500 Level.
Licensed product categories include men’s, women’s and youth game jerseys and T-shirts; player murals, figurines, vinyl collectibles, matted and framed photos, bobbleheads, plush keyrings, drinkware, socks, holiday ornaments and memorabilia.
Brady, No. 7 overall and now suspended for the first four games of the season due to his association with "deflate-gate," was No. 1 in sales with several partners in various categories: Victory Tailgate, Wild Sports collegiate co-branded merchandise, OYO Sportstoys figures and Funko vinyl collectibles.
Wilson, Beckham Jr., and Rodgers lead all players in sales of customized socks from FBF Originals and Freaker USA.
Beckham Jr. also led sales in international T-shirts in Mexico from licensee Ziporex.
Rodgers and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (No. 40 overall) topped sales for Bleacher Creatures plush.
Wentz’s No. 11 jersey from Outerstuff was the favorite among kids.
Newton led sales in active drinkware from licensees Tervis, Boelter Brands and Williams Industries.
The Top 50 Player list is released quarterly by the NFLPA via NFL Players Inc.
Top 50 Player Sales Report (YTD March 1-May 31, 2016)
1. Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys
2. Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys
3. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
4. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
5. Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys
6. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
7. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
8. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants
9. Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
10. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
11. J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans
12. Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
13. Khalil Mack, LB, Oakland Raiders
14. Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams
15. Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders
16. Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders
17. Richard Sherman, DB, Seattle Seahawks
18. Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers
19. Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
20. DeMarco Murray, RB, Tennessee Titans
21. Luke Kuechly, LB, Carolina Panthers
22. NaVorro Bowman, LB, San Francisco 49ers
23. Clay Matthews, LB, Green Bay Packers
24. Von Miller, LB, Denver Broncos
25. Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle Seahawks
26. Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans
27. Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
28. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
29. Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers
30. Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers
31. Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts
32. Brock Osweiler, QB, Houston Texans
33. Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots
34. Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins
35. Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins
36. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
37. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
38. Sean Lee, LB, Dallas Cowboys
39. Kam Chancellor, SS, Seattle Seahawks
40. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
41. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins
42. Joe Haden, DB, Cleveland Browns
43. Joey Bosa, DE, San Diego Chargers
44. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota Vikings
45. Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks
46. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
47. Brandon Marshall, WR, New York Jets
48. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
49. Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
50. Ryan Kerrigan, LB, Washington Redskins