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Patriots quarterback Mac Jones ends his rookie season with the 5th-best-selling jersey in the NFL

Related: Offseason gives Mac Jones a chance to catch his breath after ‘longest year’ of his career

New England Patriots Fans Staff Photo By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

You may never get the four hours you spent watching the Pro Bowl back — and we all know you watched it, because the Pro Bowl ratings are like Nickelback ticket sales, nobody admits it, and they somehow sell out anyway....

....but I can’t be the only one that saw the white-on-white AFC jerseys and thought “we’re SO close, just tweak a couple little details and swap the helmet, and oh baby, now we’re cooking with gas”

NFL Pro Bowl Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images


Awww, yeah, that’s the good stuff.

Anyway, we’re slated to get the beloved and/or reviled red throwbacks, depending on your perspective, returning for the 2022 season, so, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step when it comes to the NFL and doing cool, fun things. It is what it is.

But this is not about throwbacks. If you tried to purchase a Mac Jones jersey of any color in the rather short window this summer when rookies were officially awarded real jersey numbers, unless you got in between August 12th and....a week after that, you were sh*t outta luck. Unless you were (Joe Pesci voice) a youth, or preferred women’s sizing:

Meanwhile, more Mac jerseys were on the way, but if memory serves, ordering them after former Patriots legend Cam Newton’s release on August 31st left you with a message from the Pro Shop, Fanatics, or wherever else that you’d get your jersey roughly by Halloween. Not hyperbole. If you looked into a Mac Jersey at all in August or September, you know. So many McCorkle fans wanted the jersey that he entered the 2021 season as the second best-selling jersey in the entire NFL, ahead of a notable former Patriot:

(I’m sorry, I know this is petty, but a Buffalo Bills QB, a Patriots rookie, the GOAT, and the newest QB experiment for Da Bears™ all out-selling ESPN’s new LeBron James, Patrick Mahomes, is a punchline that writes itself.)

Preseason optimism is one thing, though, and after McCorkle’s rookie campaign started off more like in Star Fox when you’re tasked with “Do a Barrel Roll!” and hoping to survive, and ended with a respectable almost-4000-yard, 22-touchdown, 13-picks regular season and an objectively soul-crushing loss in the playoffs, it’d be fair to wonder if enthusiasm for the Mac Jones experience was waning. Not like any of the 2021 rookie QB class was setting the world on fire or anything, but Mac’s performance down the stretch in the 2021 season and his first postseason heavyweight fight can charitably be considered a fair reminder that it’s a long way to the top.

Fan enthusiasm, meanwhile, at least through the holidays in 2021, per the NFLPA’s stats, remained strong. Through November 30th, 2021, and the aforementioned “we’ll get you your Jones jersey when we get them, I guess?” delays, Patriots fans still had Mac’s jersey checking in as the fifth-best-selling jersey in the entire league. His company in the top five’s not too shabby, either:

(again, per the NFLPA’s sales numbers):

1. Tom Brady (QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

2. Patrick Mahomes (QB, Kansas City Chiefs)

3. Dak Prescott (QB, Dallas Cowboys)

4. Josh Allen (QB, Buffalo Bills)

5. Mac Jones (QB, New England Patriots)

If you’re interested, the NFL will drop their final year-end list in April, and Christmas sales are anyone’s guess, but it seems rather unlikely that any of the next few guys on the list are going to pass Mac, barring a massive playoff push; in order, the best-sellers list from 6-10 goes like this:

6. Justin Fields (QB, Chicago Bears)

7. Ceedee Lamb (WR, Dallas Cowboys)

8. George Kittle (TE, San Francisco 49ers)

9. Lamar Jackson (QB, Baltimore Ravens)

10. Joe Burrow (QB, Cincinnati Bengals)

Although, truthfully, if Joe Burrow can’t at least leapfrog up to #7 after THAT piss-and-vinegar, almost-Super-Bowl-champ performance, that’s just wrong that two (2) members of America’s Team™ that got unceremoniously bounced in the wildcard round will still outsell him.

That’s neither here nor there, though. McCorkle Jones’ rookie campaign inspired confidence from the get-go, and despite the fashion in which the Patriots got, well, thrashed in the playoffs, if Mac can even show marginal improvement in 2022, he may well be able to jump into a top-15, even top-10 QB, by the stats. Laugh if you want. The raw stats from 2021 back it up.

Anyway, despite all the recent offseason consternation, Mac’s heading into the 2022 campaign with largely the same supporting cast. It’s fine to be optimistic. Hopeful, even.