Double-check: Aaron Rodgers
aaron rodgers

When Aaron Rodgers led his team to Super Bowl victory two seasons ago, it led him to stardom off the field as well. But on his own (low-key) terms: he has a national deal with Nike and small regional deal with Ford but hasn't appeared in ads for either. He does star in humorous commercials for Associated Bank (which is big in Wisconsin, where the spots featuring him and elderly co-star Edith Yargoczinski are a hit) and State Farm Insurance. He also has small local deals with Prevea Health and Gruber Law, and a radio show with Good Karma, a Milwaukee ESPN affiliate.

It is the State Farm ads that prove Rodgers could be a mega endorser; he just chooses to go easy, which is a stark contrast from his on-field predecessor, Brett Favre, who still stars in Wrangler jeans ads despite being retired. The State Farm ads have even crossed over to other sports—in the NBA, New York Knicks shooter Steve Novak, who is from Wisconsin, often does the "Discount Double Check" move after hitting a three. And the ads brought his teammates in: both Clay Matthews and BJ Raji appeared in ads with Rodgers.

2012 was for Rodgers "a breakout year" in Shabelman's estimation. The State Farm campaign "helped his visibility" and helped him grab a new deal with Pizza Hut. The genius of the State Farm ads, Dorfman believes, was that, "when you see [the move] on the field you think of the company." He believes the ads have been "the most effective use of an NFL player" this year.

  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated January 02 2013 10:15 AM ET
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