Fans of the Washington Commanders are some of the most passionate in all of professional sports. I mean, did you see some of the outfits some folks donned at the draft? You can’t find that level of craziness in most fan bases.
Of course, the February rebrand, which saw the franchise chase nicknames — in addition to uniforms and helmets — for the second time in three years, wasn’t universally accepted by Washington fans. Some hate the name and love the look, others hate both and a select few endorse both.
Did these mixed reviews affect fans’ eagerness to purchase team apparel?
Maybe a smidge, as the NFLPA published a list of the top 50 players in merchandise sales and Chase Young was the only Commander to make the cut. The star defensive end check in at No. 42, just behind Jonathan Taylor and Saquon Barkley.
At the surface, it might be disappointing that Young was the only Washington player featured on the star-studded list. Instead of harping on the negative, though, let’s give Young (and fans) props for beating out these stars.
The sales spanned March 2021 through February 2022.
Commanders defensive end Chase Young sold more jerseys than several NFL superstars this past year.
While Young lagged behind division rivals including Dak Prescott (sixth), CeeDee Lamb (13th) Ezekiel Elliot (16th), Micah Parsons (28th), DeVonta Smith (36th) and Barkley (41), he can’t be expected to compete with Cowboys fans.
As “Americas Team,” though they no longer deserve that title, we all know Cowboys fans resided in every corner of the country. Love ’em or hate ’em (definitely the latter), they’re one of the most iconic franchises in the world of sport, so there’s no shame in Young failing to out-sell Prescott, Lamb, Elliot and Parsons.
What Young and Washington fans should take great pride in, though, is the former Defensive Rookie of the Year sold more jerseys than Deebo Samuel (!), who was arguably the most valuable offensive player in the league last year.
Keep in mind these sales started long before Samuel’s 49ers future looked questionable, so there’s no caveat there.
In addition to the All-Pro WR, Young outsold Ben Roethlisberger, who went on a widely-covered farewell tour in 2021, Panthers all-world running back Christian McCaffrey, which speaks for itself, now-former Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper (let’s go!), Bucs four-time Pro Bowl receiver Mike Evans, Derek Carr, the quarterback of maybe the NFL’s most dedicated fan base, and Jets second-year QB Zach Wilson.
Here’s a snapshot of the players surrounding Young in the rankings.
These aren’t moral victories, folks. Of course, now that Young is top 50 official, we’re setting higher expectations for next year’s sales. Who knows? If the team wins more games in 2022, more fans could buy into the Commanders moniker and maybe Jonathan Allen and Terry McLaurin will join Young in the top 50.