By Paul Toscano and Brian Beers
In a year where the National Football League was embroiled in its longest labor dispute ever, the popularity of this multibillion-dollar sports juggernaut has still managed to grow.
|Slideshow: Best-selling NFL jerseys|
An important component of football merchandising is jersey sales -- which might be seen as a proxy for the most popular players in the sport. Each year, NFLShop.com releases the best-selling jerseys in the NFL and its list is presented here. This list represents jersey sales from April 1 to Sept. 30, 2011.
So, which NFL jerseys are this year's best sellers?
The best-selling NFL jersey of 2011 is that of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, reigning Super Bowl Champion and MVP. Rodgers threw for nearly 3,922 yards in 2010, with a passer rating of 101.2. He continued his success into the 2011 season, leading his team to a 4-0 start, throwing for 12 touchdowns and rushing for two.
Green Bay fans have been known to worship their quarterbacks, so coming off a Super Bowl win it should be no surprise that Rodgers jersey finds itself at the top spot.
Breaking into the top 25 on the list and climbing all the way to fifth place is Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews. Matthews has received Pro Bowl honors in both of his years in the league and helped the team to its first Super Bowl title since 1996 -- undoubtedly boosting his popularity among fans. In 2010, Matthews also came a close second to Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu in the voting for Defensive Player of the Year.
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