If jersey sales are an accurate barometer, Bears fans seem pretty psyched about the team’s new quarterback, Jay Cutler. “We’ve sold over 2,320 Jay Cutler jerseys since we signed him,” says Chris Hibbs, a Bears executive. “This is a huge number in our business.” Thousands more have been sold by retail shops.
The NFL closely guards merchandise sales figures, but Hibbs compared Cutler’s No. 6 jersey sales to those of Brian Urlacher and Devin Hester, the team’s top sellers. Last season, Urlacher and Hester ranked 16th and 17th in overall NFL jersey sales. As of this writing—roughly a month after Cutler’s April 2nd arrival here—sales of No. 6 jerseys already ranked fourth on the team behind Urlacher, Tommie Harris, and Hester. “He’s won the town over without playing a game yet,” says Blake Lundberg, an executive at Adidas, which owns Reebok, the official supplier of NFL apparel. “He’s the Brett Favre of last year for us. Favre was bigger, but Cutler is not far away.” (Favre’s jersey is the all-time best-selling jersey in the history of the game.) Now, if Cutler can only match Favre on the field. . . .