It does not matter if you are poking around the NFL jersey section of your local sporting goods superstore or in the gift shop of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton—you can find a roll call of football casualties in the clearance rack.
For every gross of Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady jerseys sold in America every season, there are dozens of JaMarcus Russell No. 2s sitting somewhere waiting for a desperate buyer to take advantage of buy one, get one sales.
Here is a list of eight NFL jerseys that were primed to make huge sales this past preseason, yet buyers already regret.
He was supposed to be the last piece of the Dream Team puzzle—the dynamic ball of super-sized talent that would put the Philadelphia Eagles over the Super Bowl hump.
Suddenly, Jackson has earned nothing more than becoming a case study in overplaying a good poker hand.
By the 2010 season, his third in the NFL, Jackson had amassed more than 3,000 yards receiving and more than 5,700 yards in total special team return yards, including his epic punt return that sent the New York Giants home for the playoffs.
But the moment Jackson decided the rookie contract he was still being paid did not adequately compensate the value of his talents, his 2011 campaign was dead in the water.
Jackson has sputtered mightily this year with less than 800 yards receiving and zero touchdowns on special teams. The cut he received from your jersey purchase is nowhere near the amount of cash he’s looking for from the Eagles, but it's cash you might want refunded right about now.
The run on the inventory of these two jerseys might not have actually taken place during the preseason, but they certainly did fly off the shelves early on.
The trouble for Bills and Raiders fans is the investments made in locking down these two quarterbacks to hefty contracts have been as big of a waste of cash as buying their respective jerseys.
As a resident of occasionally Bills-crazy western New York, there was a strong yet brief tone in the voice of Bills fans that Harvard grad Ryan Fitzpatrick was the chosen heir to the Jim Kelly throne who would return the beloved Bills to the prominence they experienced in the early 1990s.
I think by now it is fair to say, at least for the 2011 season, that misconception ranks among the most epic of NFL failures, leaving many "Billieving" their new fancy jersey design will serve as a beautiful addition to their closet until next year.
The addition of Carson Palmer to the Oakland Raiders gave the silver and black faithful reason to believe their season was salvageable after the loss of starting quarterback Jason Campbell to injury.
As could be predicted, Palmer’s rushed ascension from couch potato to starting NFL quarterback has not proven beneficial to Oakland’s playoffs hopes. I’m convinced that given the turnover of underscored players in Oakland, they must attribute for a huge majority of the NFL’s annual jersey sales.
Football fans in Kansas City have not had a lot of reasons to invest their hard-earned mid-American dollar on Chiefs memorabilia the past few seasons. The endless carousel of quarterbacks and flash-in-the-pan running backs that continue to plague KC has not spared the team in 2011.
Let me be clear on this: Kyle Orton has promise. If I was a Chiefs fan looking to drop some cash on a jersey, I would have definitely considered picking up some Orton duds. He was the first of undoubtedly many future casualties of the plague that is Tebowmania, yet he performed solidly until the onslaught of media attention and fan obsession with No. 15 took its toll on Orton’s performances.
Just as fast as he appeared in Chiefs gold and red, Orton went down to a freak hand injury that begs the question: How deep does the power of Tim Tebow’s sorcery go?
The 2011 NFL draft class may have been the strongest we have seen in years. It will certainly stand to produce two reasonably successful quarterbacks who will go on to accomplish great things with their respective teams.
Unfortunately for Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker, they are not those two.
Jerseys flew off the shelves after the most recent draft. Quarterbacks from small schools, from large schools, from fashionably popular underdog schools and from perennial powerhouses all made the transition from Saturdays to Sundays this season. The quartet of Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Gabbert and Locker was supposed to be this era's answer to the bright star quarterbacks from the 1980s and 1990s.
Many argue that the success of Newton and Dalton over that of Gabbert and Locker is due to the teams to which they were drafted.
Nothing is further from the truth.
Dalton leads a Cincinnati Bengals team fresh off an underachieving 4-12 record from a year ago with a head coach whose seat may not have been hotter in quite possibly the strongest division in the NFL. Newton takes his first snaps as a professional with the Carolina Panthers, a team that has experienced nothing but disappointment the past several seasons due to a mass exodus (and aging) of talent.
Meanwhile, Gabbert finds himself on a Jacksonville squad that has produced the best rusher in the NFL for the past two seasons in Maurice Jones-Drew. MJD is a ground-based weapon who should have provided Gabbert enough breathing room to excel to some noticeable degree.
However, 166 completions on 330 passing attempts and nine interceptions is not good enough—not good enough to keep pace with the rest of this freshman class, at least.
Locker finds himself in an even more palatable position on a Tennessee squad that is, for all intents and purposes, a turnkey business that only needs a warm body at quarterback.
Any team that is able to remain in the playoff hunt in Week 16 with the 2011 incarnation of Matt Hasselbeck has got to have some offensive weapons beyond quarterback.
Yet the Titans have only managed 434 passing yards and three touchdowns in four games with Locker at the helm. No matter how you slice it, that kind of performance is going to make those in Nashville who bought the rookie’s jersey immediately regret that poor decision.
Another team, another season and another new fanbase thinking that this could be the year McNabb turns it all around.
The poor Minnesota Vikings fans who have yet again fallen victim to a dispirited and underperforming quarterback find it tough not to kick themselves after falling for the same hustle they have for the last decade.
So many have traveled the same road to the Metrodome: Daunte Culpepper, Tarvaris Jackson, Brett Favre, Warren Moon.
They all came to the Vikings as malcontent shells of their previous selves dwelling on past hostilities harbored from teams gone by, and they leave Minnesota with their heads held just as low.
For once, Chad Ochocinco doesn’t have much to say.
What is there to say about his failures as a New England Patriot this season other than those fans who bought his paraphernalia and are asking for refunds?
Ochocinco has been exposed as a very limited wide receiver who is incapable of performing in a team-based offensive scheme. Years ago in Cincinnati, Ochocinco was the proverbial big fish in a small pond, and now that he is asked to continue to work diligently as a role player in a much larger New England system, he has floundered.
Not even another name change could help sell Chad Irrelevant jerseys now.