January has been quite a month for Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman. Stuck at the center of a swirling media storm after his bizarre postgame interview, after the ‘Hawks beat the 49ers in the NFC Championship, Sherman has transformed that attention into a brand boosting PR win. Sure, a lot of people who really couldn’t care less think he’s a blowhard, but legions of football fans love the guy they hadn’t heard of just a few weeks ago. The proof is in the numbers.

A few benchmarks that can help tell the story of Sherman’s PR blitz in real numbers:

Just take a look at the top jersey sales in the NFL. Sherman has found his way into the top ten, a dark horse rocketing into the rarified air shared by the Peyton Mannings, and Drew Breeses of the world. Sherman is, by far, the fastest moving defensive player in terms of jersey sales.

Now, lets look at media minutes spent on him. Sherman went from one of the best DB’s in the game, to a post game panelist on FOX, to a feature guest writer for Sports Illustrated’s MMQB blog. All because of the hype surrounding a ten second sound clip where he bewildered a sideline reporter by saying exactly what was on his mind.

Sherman understands how the system works. He has done nothing more than use the NFL marketing, and PR system already in place to promote his own brand. Many have done it before him, but none have done it with such unapologetic purpose.

Not surprising, given that Sherman has a reputation for being a dedicated student, both of football, and of people.

And, the final piece of the puzzle that points to Sherman’s PR success? The fact that we are still talking about him at all. There are a lot of heroes and a lot of personalities coming into this Super Bowl game, but the entire sports world has been captivated for weeks by one defensive back. Why? Because Richard Sherman said we should be.