Two years ago yesterday (4/27/12), the Seahawks selected quarterback Russell Wilson in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft. In order for someone to have experienced as much change in that period of time as Wilson, you'd have to have been born, died, or be Macklemore. (To give perspective, the song "Thrift Shop" wasn't released until August of 2012 and his previous tour kicked off in Pullman, Washington.)
But a whole lot has change in the Northwest in the last two years.
On Monday it was announced that Wilson's #3 Seattle Seahawks jersey was the number one seller in the NFL from March 1, 2013 to February 28, 2014. Wilson did what he's used to doing quite easily by now: Beating Peyton Manning. Wilson jumped from 19 to 1 in the course of a year, while Manning slipped to second. But Wilson wasn't the only Seahawks player that moved product faster than Nate Newton.
Marshawn Lynch ranked seventh, and was the only jersey in the top 10 that didn't belong to a quarterback. Richard Sherman ranked 12th, the second-highest defensive player on the list after J.J. Watt.
Of course, sometimes jersey sales make as much sense as fan votes for All-Star games.
Robert Griffin III ranked fourth, Eli Manning ranked eighth, Rob Gronkowski ranked 18th, Arian Foster ranked 19th, Ray Rice ranked 28th, Darren McFadden ranked 33rd, Miles Austin ranked 34th, and Trent Richardson ranked 37th. More than likely you'll be able to pick up a T-Rich jersey at Ross for $9.99 by tomorrow.
For a lot of us, I really don't think it's hitting home how big of a deal Wilson has become over the last two years. The fact of the matter is that for most of our lives, we're used to having "Seattle things" be huge deals to us, only to find out later on that the rest of the country isn't paying any attention to us. We don't expect them to like "our things," and common examples of this might be how others view players like Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun Alexander (or how we view Alexander ourselves), Earl Thomas, Felix Hernandez, Ichiro Suzuki, Edgar Martinez, Rashard Lewis, Ray Allen, and many more. Perhaps we became so used to seeing "our stars" as much more than what others seemed to see them as, that we thought it would never be possible for a Seattle sports star to simple become: a sports star.
Well, Wilson is a superstar. His recent non-football news brought about pictures of him with the likes of Jay-Z and Beyonce, and reminders that he's been spending time this year shooting a cameo for the Entourage movie, while constantly popping up your Twitter newsfeed as having appeared at some new event or function. He also happens to be a Super Bowl champion quarterback who might be only 15-percent done with his NFL career.
It's also worth noting that Wilson isn't the far-and-away best player on the best team. While Ryan Tannehill's jersey shows up in the top 30, how much of that is due to the fact that he plays with the Miami Dolphins and most fans might just settle on the QBs jersey and hope for the best? Instead, Seahawks fans seem to be buying a minimum of two jerseys from this roster, and who knows, could be sporting home and away for their favorite player.
Two other tidbits we shouldn't ignore:
- Most of these jerseys were purchased long before Seattle won the Super Bowl.
- The fact that the Seahawks got new jerseys in 2012 certainly help jump sales, as your Earl Thomas and Lynch jerseys were immediately outdated. Some would also say that Seattle has the best jerseys in the NFL, which couldn't hurt.
So Wilson has been a member of the team for two years and a day, and already appears to be the most popular Seahawks player in history. It's too bad they don't have a third round pick this year.