Brent Yarina, Senior Editor, May 6, 2013

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten is home to one of sports' top 10 most influential pro athletes. That's the case, at least, according to the latest surveys from Nielsen and E-Poll Market Research that ranks the most influence among U.S. fans. For the curious parties, the study included each athlete's N-Score, Nielsen's measurement for a player's endorsement potential.

[ Most Influential Athletes 2013 ]

Purdue product and current New Orleans QB Drew Brees lands at No. 6 on the list, just behind Peyton Manning and ahead of names like Aaron Rodgers and LeBron James.

Here's what the piece says about Brees:

Influential: 21%
Awareness: 31%
N-Score: 180Riding a long time rep as a good QB and a good guy. Brees will always be remembered as the one who led post-Katrina New Orleans to its first Super Bowl title.

Not only is Brees known for leading the Saints to Super Bowl XLIV, he's the NFL's all-time single-season passing yards leader (5,476), the game's fastest to reach 40,000 passing yards, and the record-holder for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass (54).

Former Michigan student/volunteer assistant and Olympic star Michael Phelps came in at No. 2, behind only Tim Tebow. Yes, that Tim Tebow, the one who is unemployed.

About Brent Yarina web editor Brent Yarina covers football and men's basketball for He writes the popular uniform feature "Clothes Call," which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina's RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.