Robert Griffin III is not only taking the National Football League by storm, but the Washington Redskins rookie quarterback is already building himself a brand in the mold of Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Peyton Manning.
To say Griffin's play has been superb to date is selling him short. In 14 games, Griffin has thrown for 3,100 yards and 20 touchdowns, while also rushing for 752 yards and six touchdowns. He has rejuvenated a fan base long looking for a winner as the Redskins are only a win away against the Dallas Cowboys from taking the NFC East title.
Griffin has already earned endorsements from Gatorade, Adidas, Subway, EA Sports and Nissan, among others, surpassing deals No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck received. Griffin's jersey is even the most popular, top-selling jersey in all of the NFL.
Though some have been less enthused by the young sensation - most notably ESPN's Rob Parker, who questioned whether Griffin was "a brother or ... a cornball brother" on the air, citing his white fiancee Rebecca Liddicoat and supposed conservative politics as reasons for his disparaging remarks - most have been enthused and supportive of Griffin.
Before beginning his headline-grabbing career with the Redskins, Griffin played for Baylor University, a Christian college in Waco, Texas, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 2011. And in 2012, he signed a four-year contract worth a reported $21.1 million after being selected second overall in the draft.
Experts who have observed the talented rising star are confident that he could one day earn much more, especially if he maintains the wisdom beyond his years that have so far been a defining characteristic of the 22-year-old Griffin.
Ron Oswalt, CEO of Sports Marketing Experts, has been following Griffin since his high school football days. Throughout his career thus far, he said he has noticed a humility and maturity that, to him, makes RGIII unique.
"One advantage I believe he does have is the great education he received ... and his military background and really strict upbringing," he told CBSDC. "All of those things will really benefit him in the long run - [he is marketable] on and off the field."
He added, "An athlete giving back who's well-educated and well-spoken, it's one of the best attributes of RGIII. He gets out there with kids and the local community."
SOURCE: Candice Leigh Helfand