Though they might not be household names in the same discussion as a Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen or Dak Prescott, the Pittsburgh Steelers saw their own star duo of Defensive Player of the Year award winner T.J. Watt and standout running back Najee Harris work their way into the top 50 NFL Player Sales for the 2021 calendar year, according to a recent report from the NFL Players Association.
The calendar year for merchandise sales ran from March 1, 2021 to February 28, 2022. In that year-long span, Watt and Harris cracked the top 50 in player sales, as did Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who retired after 18 seasons in the NFL following the 2021 season.
Watt, thanks to his meteoric rise, cracked the top 50 list at No. 12, while Harris — in his first season in the NFL — finished 22nd overall in player sales. Roethlisberger, in his final season, finished 45th, according to numbers released by the NFLPA Tuesday.
The NFLPA’s list, which was introduced in 2014, represents the only verified rankings of all officially licensed NFL player products sold from online and traditional retail outlets as reported by 80+ NFLPA licensees, according to the NFLPA.
Licensed product across hardline, apparel, digital, and unconventional categories include, among many others, adult and youth game jerseys, T-shirts, hoodies, bobbleheads, plush toys, socks, face coverings, headbands, figurines, wall decals, backpacks, pennants, photos, drinkware, pet products, and more.
According to the year-end release, sales of all NFLPA products generated $2.17 billion, which marks the eighth straight year of an increase in sales.
According to NFLPA sales numbers, Roethlisberger joined the likes of Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Mac Jones, and Matthew Stafford who led the NFLPA in sales of framed memorabilia from Highland Mint. Roethlisberger also joined Mahomes in selling the most rugs, pool cues, and game chairs from new licensee Imperial International, followed by Brady, Joe Burrow, and Allen.
Watt had the highest jump in sales of any NFL player inside the top 50, according to the NFLPA, moving up 24 spots from No. 36 last season to No. 12 this season, edging out Los Angeles Rams’ star Aaron Donald, who improved 23 spots. Harris was one of nine rookies in the NFL to finish inside the top 50 in player sales, the highest number ever, and was one of 12 rookies and veterans to go from the Rising Stars list to the top 50 NFLPA sales, which is a good indication for future retail stars, according to the NFLPA.