When it comes to professional athletics in the United States, we as fans primarily follow football, basketball, baseball, hockey, golf, tennis and soccer. Outside of the NHL, a sport played on skates (and poorly marketed in my opinion), each sport has had players that shoe manufacturers have identified as worthy of a signature shoe or their own line of product. Walter Payton to Calvin Johnson, Michael Jordan to Kyrie Irving, Derek Jeter to Mike Trout, Arnold Palmer to Tiger Woods, Ivan Lendl to Roger Federer, David Beckham to Lionel Messi, these superstars carried a large part of the load for their sport within their brand.

Without question, the NFL is the most popular team sport in the United States. The difference between its players and every other sport we follow (again, outside of the NHL) is player visibility. These guys are so heavily armored — padded head to toe, helmets often with shields and intricate facemasks — that we really don’t know what these guys look like unless we check out the post-game press interviews. Plus, like baseball and soccer, their "work" shoes are often cleated, so going from the street to the field of play doesn’t set up for any kind of smooth transition, like it can in the NBA or in tennis.

Guys like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders had successful lines and marketing campaigns primarily geared around their versatility across both football and baseball. Even today, Nike still retros their product. Remember that guy RGIII? Remember that he has a signature shoe, but has he been of any influence within the culture? This is How Football Players Can Be More Influential in Sneaker Culture.