Yesterday, ESPN's Darren Rovell reported that Colin Kaepernick led all NFL players in jersey sales for the second quarter of the fiscal year, covering April 1 to June 30. The article does not provide numbers on how many jerseys were sold, but it is one more sign of his ever-growing popularity.
Kap's rise to fame since taking over as starting quarterback for the 49ers has been dramatic. Before Alex Smith was concussed Week 10 against the St. Louis Rams, Kaepernick was not on the national radar, and was in a fairly limited position on the 49ers fan radar.
After playing the second half and overtime against the Rams, his stock began to climb quickly the following week against the Chicago Bears. In front of a national audience on Monday Night Football, Kap put together a strong performance, completing 16 of 23 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns.
He was an impact player every week the rest of the season, and while he and the 49ers came up short in the Super Bowl, his status as a high profile quarterback was set. Although Kap has put in plenty of work to get ready for the 2013 season, he has also remained in the spotlight. He made an appearance with Michelle Obama to promote physical fitness. He threw out the first pitch at a Giants game. He was named Best Breakthrough Athlete at the ESPYs. And of course there were the incidents that drew negative attention. He had the Dolphins cap incident, and he drew criticism for his choice of wardrobe at the ESPYs.
However, amidst all this, he remains a hugely popular NFL player, and arguably the most popular athlete in the Bay Area. Stephen Curry and Buster Posey are plenty popular, but Kap appears to be, or at least is on pace to become the Bay Area's first cross-over mega-star of the social media era. And so it is not surprising to see his jersey sales spiking as they are. If he is able to build on his strong 2012 season, I suspect we'll see his jersey sales remain at or near the top.
Here is a rundown of the top ten:
1. Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
2. Russell Wilson, Seahawks
3. Robert Griffin III, Redskins
4. Adrian Peterson, Vikings
5. Peyton Manning, Broncos
6. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
7. Tom Brady, Patriots
8. Ray Lewis, Ravens
9. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
10. Brian Urlacher, Bears