Drew Brees had a monster season in 2011. A remarkable, record-breaking on-field performance—combined with $16 million in earnings and such off-field strengths as public appeal—pushed the New Orleans Saints quarterback to the top spot in this year’s Power 100 ranking of the most powerful athletes. Following Brees were the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers, New England Patriot’s Tom Brady, Miami Heat basketball forward LeBron James, and tennis champion Rafael Nadal. The ranking was developed by CSE, an integrated sports and marketing firm in Atlanta, and Horrow Sports Ventures. In addition to 2011 on-field metrics, total earnings, and social media presence, the ranking incorporates such off-field metrics as athletes’ name and face awareness, appeal, influence, and trustworthiness using Nielsen/E-Poll N-Score data from Encino, Calif.-based research company E-Poll Market Research. The ranking comprises only professional athletes playing in the United States. Coaches, executives, owners, agents, and athletes who retired before the 2011 calendar year were not considered. Only regular season statistics were used.
Click here to see the complete 2012 Power 100.
Photograph by: Patrik Giardino