Who do aspiring young football players in Montana grow up idolizing? Derek Carr, apparently.
Dick’s Sporting Goods recently released a state-by-state look at the NFL’s best-selling jerseys for the 2014-2015 season. Most of the results are unsurprising: Eli Manning’s jersey is the most popular in New York, Aaron Rodgers’ in Wisconsin and Larry Fitzgerald’s in Arizona.
But when it comes to states that don’t host an NFL team, some results may prompt head scratching.
Carr, a quarterback for the Oakland Raiders, located about 1,000 miles from Montana, proved to have the best-selling jersey in the Big Sky state.
So why do the state’s football fans love Carr so much? There’s no easy logic to settle that question. Carr grew up in Fresno, California and went to college at Fresno State — a team that plays in a conference with no teams from Montana.
Another puzzler was Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck having the top-selling jersey in Nevada, although Luck has no history of playing or living there. For what it’s worth, according to a 2014 report, Luck’s Colts position coach did spend one day at a U.S. Air Force base in the Nevada desert.
So who are the most beloved NFL players in the non-continental United States? Alaskans prefer Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, according to Dick’s sales figures. Hawaiians like Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton.
Neither player has a personal history in those states but Alaska’s choice makes sense in terms of geographic alignment, plus Wilson has been a spokesman for Alaska Airlines since 2013.
Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.