Why is a Steelers backup running back's jersey the No. 1 seller in the NFL?


So, here’s a trivia question that’ll win you beer at any bar in the world outside of Pittsburgh: who has the No. 1 selling jersey in the NFL?

Tom Brady? Nope. Marshawn Lynch? Nope. Ezekiel Elliott? Nope. Aaron Rodgers? Nope. Tim Tebow? Good guess, but nope.

The answer: James Conner.


Wait, who?

James Conner is the backup running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sitting deep in the shadow of Le’Veon Bell. But he’s also a Pitt product, and Pittsburgh fans are nothing if not intensely loyal. Conner was one of the finest running backs in ACC history during his days at Pitt, but he was also diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma a couple years back, and underwent cancer treatments throughout the offseasons. He completed a program of chemotherapy, and is now cancer-free. And as training camps open, Dick’s Sporting Goods is reporting that Conner has leapfrogged the G.O.A.T. as the jersey sales leader.

So: great college player + great story + great fanbase = great jersey sales. Will Conner succeed in the NFL? In several very important ways, he already has.

James Conner, seen here in his Pitt days, has moved up to the big time. (Getty)

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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