NFL Notes: Rodgers NFL's most marketable

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers looks on from the bench as the Packers take on the...

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers looks on from the bench as the Packers take on the Detroit Lions during the second half of their NFL football game in Green Bay, Wisconsin Jan. 1, 2012. (REUTERS/Darren Hauck)

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:39 PM ET

Aaron Rodgers has been declared the NFL’s most marketable player but this is not a designation where you can rest on your laurels.

Fame, fortune and marketability are transient qualities in a world that consistently asks “What have you done lately?”

SportsBusiness Daily conducted a survey of 50 corporate brand managers and Rodgers nudged out New England QB Tom Brady. Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tim Tebow rounded out the top five. Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu was the top non-quarterback on the list at No. 6.

“You first have to have success for people to even care about you,” said Preston Bounds, who wrote the article for SBD. “When you do end up in ads and you’re a natural on camera and you have a sense of humour and you’re not stiff, that really solidifies it. Now they know, ‘This guy works as an endorser.’ ”

The last time the survey was taken, Manning was No. 1, followed by Brady and Reggie Bush. Rodgers was just a rumour at the time — he was understudy to the man who was No. 6 on the list, Brett Favre.

FOUR SEASONS, ZERO FUMBLES

BenJarvus Green-Ellis takes a unique and impressive streak into his first Super Bowl appearance on Sunday.

Green-Ellis, New England’s primary running back, has never fumbled the football in 536 touches over four seasons in the NFL. That’s a league record from the start of a career, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

It’s no coincidence that Green-Ellis came out of the University of Mississippi where his backfield coach Frank Wilson obsessed about his backs protecting the football.

Wilson created a variety of drills, all designed to make sure his running backs secured the football against the various assaults by defenders.

“It’s a state of mind,” Wilson told Yahoo.com Sports. “You’ve got to live it. You’ve got to put running backs in a position where they can eliminate fumbles. For instance, when they are in traffic or off-balance when they are being tackled, their natural instinct is to reach for the ground, and that’s when the ball gets knocked away. If you are on the street and you fall, you put your arms out to stop the fall. It’s the same thing in football. When you are being tackled, you try to break your fall. We have to retrain the muscle memory.”

One of Wilson’s keys is for the back to tuck the football in his right arm up against his chest while wrapping his left arm across the right, making it nearly impossible for a defender to wrest the ball away.

“He was always on me about ball security,” Green-Ellis says of Wilson. “I didn’t appreciate it back then.”

He does now. Green-Ellis is 150 touches away from setting an NFL record for fumble-less touches.

HILLIS’ VALUE SLIPPING

Despite some frustration over Peyton Hillis’s injury-riddled underperformance in 2011, the Cleveland Browns have warmed up to the idea of re-signing the running back.

Hillis, acquired from the Denver Broncos after the 2009 season, had a breakout year in 2010, piling up 1,177 yards but was a bust in 2011, racking up just 587 yards in 10 games. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, however, Hillis got back into management’s good books over the last six games of the season.

Perhaps influencing Cleveland management’s attitude toward Hillis is the lower price tag he will now command after such a disappointing year and knowing how good he can be when healthy.

CONCUSSIONS SPAWN CLASS-ACTION SUIT

A class-action suit against the NFL regarding concussion-related dementia and brain disease among players is consolidating in Philadelphia.

At least four lawsuits have been joined together and will be heard by U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody.

Even though the NFL has vowed to vigorously defend itself against the claims, it has agreed to the consolidation of suits for simplicity’s sake. The lawsuits represent more than 300 retired players or spouses, including two-time Super Bowl champion Jim McMahon.

“(This) allows Judge Brody to now bring everybody together and put this in an organized environment where all the legal issues and the medical issues and the scientific issues can all be decided in one place,” said lawyer Larry Coben of Philadelphia, who filed the first lawsuit in August on behalf of McMahon and six others.

As many as a dozen similar NFL concussion lawsuits have been filed in New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Florida and Philadelphia. They, too, could end up before the same judge.

TOP 10 SUPER BOWL AD SPENDERS (2002-2011)

And the leaders are...

1. Anheuser-Busch InBev $239.1 million

2. PepsiCo $174 million

3. General Motors $82.8 million

4. Walt Disney Corp. $73.9 million

5. Coca Cola Corp. $66.8 million

6. Viacom $45.9 million

7. Comcast $40.3 million

8. Time Warner $39.2 million

9. Hyundai $38.8 million

10. CareerBuilder $36.8 million

Source: CNBC.com


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