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Brady among most influential

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  May 11, 2011 10:50 AM

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The mother of all list-makers, Forbes, has come out with yet another, this one ranking the most influential athletes in the country.

According to the magazine, New England franchise quarterback Tom Brady is the second-most influential pro, behind Nascar champion Jimmy Johnson.

In a poll of more than 1,000 adults by E-Poll and Nielsen, 23 percent of respondents rated Brady as influential, with 40 percent saying they "like" him or like him "a lot" (11 percent said they dislike him). His N-score - which rates endorsement potential - is 131; the average athlete has an N-score of 14.

Other NFL players joining Brady in the top 10 were the Steelers' Troy Polamalu, whose humorous Head N Shoulders commercials likely improved his rating, the Colts' Peyton Manning, and the Broncos' Tim Tebow.

The Celtics' Shaquille O'Neal came up fourth on the list because he continues to be popular with fans and endorsers despite clearly being near the end of his career.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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