Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 1/31/12
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GREEN BAY, Wis. It doesn't take a discount double-check to figure out that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is the most marketable player in the NFL right now, but SportsBusiness Daily did the legwork anyway. The Charlotte-based publication asked 50 corporate brand managers, marketing and branding executives, sports business professors and football media to rank their top five most marketable NFL players, and Rodgers came out No. 1 in the survey. It helps that Rodgers has been the star of a popular nationwide television campaign for State Farm Insurance, but the biggest reason he's the most marketable is his recent on-field success, including being named MVP of Super Bowl XLV last season. "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 humor and you're not stiff, that really solidifies it. Now they know, 'This guy works as an endorser.'" In addition to endorsing State Farm and Nike nationally, Rodgers has regional endorsements with Ford dealers, Prevea Health, Associated Bank and others. Rodgers narrowly beat out Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. While Brady had 15 first-place votes to Rodgers' 12, Brady was not even named on 14 ballots. Rodgers didn't make it on to nine ballots. Rodgers ended up ahead, 149-143, on SBD's points scale. The top five vote-getters were all quarterbacks, with Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tim Tebow finishing in the next three spots. Packers linebacker Clay Matthews was the second-highest-rated defensive player, finishing ninth overall with one third-place vote and one fourth-place vote. Only Steelers safety Troy Polamalu ranked higher than Matthews among players who were not quarterbacks. The last time this survey was conducted about NFL players was September 2006. With Rodgers still a backup in Green Bay, he did not make the list at all. However, the Packers' quarterback at the time, Brett Favre, finished fifth. The 2006 ranking was dominated by Manning, who was followed by Brady and running back Reggie Bush. Follow Paul Imig on Twitter
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