We’re going heavy on Forbes content today, but who can blame us? At a time like this, we’ll take what we can get from the world of football that doesn’t involve litigation.
The magazine has published the newest version of its annual list counting down the 100 most powerful celebrities, and 19 athletes are included.
It’s interesting, though: Despite the fact that the NFL is easily the most popular sport in North America and the most lucrative in the world, football players are underrepresented on the Forbes list.
Only two football players — Tom Brady, 55th, and Peyton Manning, 72nd — made the cut in 2011.
Ahead of Brady on the list: Tiger Woods (6th), LeBron James (10th), Kobe Bryant (14th), Roger Federer (25th), David Beckham (tied for 35th), Phil Mickelson (tied for 35th), Cristiano Ronaldo (43rd), Rafael Nadal (46th) and Alex Rodriguez (49th).
So despite being married to a supermodel and winning three Super Bowls, Brady is only the 10th most powerful sports celebrity out there. And despite being an advertiser’s dream, Manning finished in 15th.
Why is that the case?
1. Football is a team game. Naturally, individual sports give athletes greater opportunities to establish their own personal brand. Three of the players ahead of Brady play golf or tennis.
2. Football is more of a team game than baseball and basketball. While quarterbacks are archetypal heroes, guys like LeBron, Kobe and A-Rod can singlehandedly take over games more commonly than Brady or Manning can.
3. American football doesn’t have the international reach that soccer does. That explains why Beckham and Ronaldo score significantly higher than Brady and Manning.
4. Finally, football players wear facemasks. I know this point seems silly, but exposure on the field or court is a major factor. It’s a lot easier to promote baseball and basketball players doing their thing than it is with football or hockey players.
This has inspired a GLS list. We’ll put together a post on the top 10 most powerful celebrities in football. I’m betting eight of ‘em will be quarterbacks.