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Poll: Fitz is most-liked NFL player, Cards among most appealing

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) runs for a touchdown against the New York Jets as teammate Larry Fitzgerald (11) follows during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The NFL is the most marketable professional sports league in the United States, and it turns out the Arizona Cardinals carry a bit of clout when it comes to comparing which players and which teams have built strong brand recognition.

The Cardinals ranked third in the league when it comes to appeal, trailing only the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers, according to an E-Poll Market Research study.

A lot of that likely has to do with the face of the franchise.

Receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who enters his 14th NFL season with Arizona this year, is the top player in the research study in terms of appeal to both casual and avid fans. He’s more well-liked than the Texans’ J.J. Watt, the Saints’ Drew Brees, the Packers’ Jordy Nelson and the Raiders’ Derek Carr.

Fitzgerald has apparently been tops in the league since 2011, according to E-Poll Market Research.

But being appealing does not necessarily mean fans are aware of Fitzgerald. His “awareness” score of 24 is low compared to the top 10 players in the NFL for that category, most of whom are quarterbacks (it’s no surprise Tom Brady, Eli Manning and Aaron Rodgers are at the top in that regard).

Low awareness scores hurt several players who might join Fitzgerald atop the list of most-liked.

Cardinals running back David Johnson is one. The third-year running back would be sniffing the top-10 if awareness about him was higher.

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