A record-breaking and energized crowd of 74,240 attended Sunday’s Dolphins-Baltimore Ravens first-round playoff game at Dolphin Stadium, many decked in aqua and orange and swelled with a pride for their team they hadn’t felt in years.
The Dolphins had a remarkable and historic turnaround on the field going from an NFL-worst 1-15 in 2007 to AFC East Division champion with an 11-5 regular season record this year, before losing to the Ravens 27-9.
Off the field they’ve made strides, too.
According to the NFL, the team ranks just below the top 10 in merchandise sales on NFLShop.com and saw sales rise almost 75 percent in 2008 compared with the previous year.
In addition, Ronnie Brown’s jersey was in the top 30 and Chad Pennington’s made the top 50. The NFL will only release the top 10 teams and top 25 jerseys. See the full list of teams and jerseys below.
Meanwhile, team officials say new season ticket sales are better than ever. Sales of season tickets fell to approximately 50,000 this season, down from 54,465 in 2007 and 61,121 in 2006. Team officials wouldn’t release specific numbers, but are pleased with progress they see already.
“All the indicators are very positive,” said Scott Loft, Dolphins vice president of ticket sales and service. “Our deposits are way higher than they have been in the recent past for new season ticket holders.”
The team has been accepting $100 per seat deposits for new season tickets since early December, as a way to offer fans priority behind current season ticket holders for seating, but ahead of individual ticket buyers. They also got playoff priority before the general public. “The number is higher than it has been certainly in this decade for new deposits year over year,” Loft said.
Loft said a decision about ticket prices for next season has not been determined. Renewal notices will go out around Feb. 1.
Here are the NFL’s rankings for team and jersey sales between April 1 and Dec. 31 at NFLShop.com:
TOP 10 SELLING TEAMS MERCHANDISE
1 Dallas Cowboys
2 New York Giants
3 Pittsburgh Steelers
4 New York Jets
5 Chicago Bears
6 New England Patriots
7 Washington Redskins
8 Philadelphia Eagles
9 Green Bay Packers
10 Indianapolis Colts
TOP-SELLING NFL PLAYER JERSEYS
1 Brett Favre, New York Jets
2 Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
3 Eli Manning, New York Giants
4 Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers
5 Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
6 Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts
7 Marion Barber, Dallas Cowboys
8 Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
9 LaDainian Tomlinson, S.D. Chargers
10 Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
11 Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia Eagles
12 Tom Brady, New England Patriots
13 Terrell Owens, Dallas Cowboys
14 Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears
15 Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
16 Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants
17 Jay Cutler, Denver Broncos
18 Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steelers
19 Devin Hester, Chicago Bears
20 DeMarcus Ware, Dallas Cowboys
21 Randy Moss, New England Patriots
22 Chris Cooley, Washington Redskins
23 Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
24 Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
25 Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints