According to the NFLPA, no player is more consistently active across social platforms than the Atlanta Falcons running back.
On Tuesday, the NFL Players Association and Opendorse released their latest “Influencer Hot List” highlighting the most popular players across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram based on total engagements. Unsurprisingly, Tom Brady places No. 1 overall, with Super Bowl foe Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, JJ Watt, and Rob Gronkowski rounding out the top five.
But a deeper look at the NFLPA’s rankings reveal results that are much more unexpected by comparison — and could signal what the future holds for athlete brand marketing in the social media age long after TB12’s playing days are done.
On the list of players considered “most consistently active” across social channels, the chart-topper may not be who you were expecting:
Atlanta Falcons running back Mike Davis.
Davis beat out Ravens teammates Marlon Humphrey and Patrick Queen and defensive backs CJ Gardner-Johnson (Saints) and Darius Slay (Eagles) for the digital distinction.
So, what exactly are the criteria by which the Falcon ranks No. 1? As the NFLPA defines them:
“Consistent activity is a leading indicator for marketability on social. It keeps players engaged with their audience while providing marketers with actionable, predictable data with which to build effective campaigns. We rank the most active players who also met audience (top 50%) and engagement (+0.5%) thresholds.”
Players were additionally required to have at least 100,000 followers across the Facebook, Twitter, and IG. Davis boasts over 185,00 total.
And he keeps the people engaged like no other.
Chalk it up to his effortless penchant for going viral:
Well played, Davis.
The 28-year-old is hot on more than just social media, of course. Coming off his first NFL season of over 1,000 combined yards rushing and receiving, he cashed in on a free agent deal that brought him from the Carolina Panthers to the Atlanta Falcons — his hometown team.
That new deal is for two years and $5.5 million, approximately the average NFL salary. But if current trends continue, the value of his social media reach will have every chance to exceed that dollar value by a significant margin.
Increasingly across all sports, athletes are taking personal brand marketing into their own hands. Whether through a bespoke digital collectibles release, a limited-edition merch drop, or a regularly scheduled Twitch stream, developing a vibrant (and valuable) following is no longer just the privilege of iconic names like Brady and Mahomes who can afford to pay legions of managers and publicists.
Instead, the Mike Davises of the world are proving that the personality and drive to keep a running conversation going with your followers can be worth its weight in gold.
And having really gigantic quads clearly doesn’t hurt, either.