In the summer of 2007, Michael Vick became the first player in NFL history to have sales of his merchandise suspended by the league just one day after the quarterback pleaded not guilty to dogfighting charges.
Reebok, the official jersey supplier, followed by taking the unprecedented step of halting the production of Vick's Falcons jerseys and crediting retailers who desired to cancel their orders with no questions asked.
Three years later, jerseys of Vick — who served 19 months in prison— are in high demand again.
Sources tell CNBC that retailers in the Philadelphia area have placed big orders for Vick's jersey since he was named the starter by Eagles coach Andy Reid this week.
"Certainly after coach Reid declared him the starter and offered his vote of confidence, demand and sales escalated and we did bring in more (jerseys) to meet customer needs," said Jed Berger, senior vice president of marketing for Modell's Sporting Goods, which brought Eagles No. 7 jerseys into its stores in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.
Vick threw for three touchdowns and ran for another in a 28-3 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Vick's 110.2 quarterback rating is the highest in his career, according to SI's Peter King.
Even after Vick was picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles in August of last year, Dick's Sporting Goods didn't stock its shelves with Vick jerseys. It wasn't a political statement. It was merely due to the fact that it was believed that Vick's jersey wouldn't sell well.
On Monday morning, however, two Dick's Sporting Goods stores in the Philadelphia area were promising customers that Vick jerseys would be in by the end of the week.
On NFLShop.com, a fan can even personalize an Eagles dog jersey with the No. 7 on it.
Vick's Eagles jersey was in the top 20 best selling jerseys at the end of last season, but demand was weak in the offseason, as Donovan McNabb left to go to the Washington Redskins and Kevin Kolb was named the starter.
Vick's jersey was not in the top 25 best selling jerseys on the league's last released list, which covered sales from April to September. But expect it to crack the top 15 by December if Vick continues his winning ways.
Vick's contract with Nike was terminated, but the company does provide the Eagles quarterback with free product.
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