“The Blind Side” – a film based the life of Baltimore Ravens number one draft pick and current rookie Michael Oher, has captured the hearts, admiration and respect of men, women and children throughout the country.
Even though Michael Oher was first introduced to the world in 2006 with the release of the best selling book, The Blind Side by author Michael Lewis, the movie adaptation reintroduces him to the masses as witnessed by the $34.1 million dollar weekend opening. Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw and Quinton Aaron (Michael’s character) star in this heart warming film.
Growing up in Memphis, TN, Michael overcame tremendous adversity in his early life as his father was murdered, his mother was a drug addict and he was basically homeless by the age of 16. The film depicts how Leigh Anne Tuohy, played by Sandra Bullock, came to his rescue by taking him off the streets, inviting him into her home and providing him the guidance, encouragement and direction to reach his enormous potential.
Michael went on to attend and star as an offensive lineman at Ole Miss before being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens with the 23rd overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft. The rookie has stepped into the starter’s role and has gained valuable experience while contributing to the Raven’s offensive, especially when it comes to protecting Ravens quarterback, Joe Flacco.
Since the release of the movie, Michael has maintained a low profile, choosing not to promote or capitalize on the new-found publicity during the Raven’s season. His focus has remained on helping the Ravens reach the playoffs. Needless to say, the combination of the book, movie, draft status and current starting play has generated considerable interest in Michael Oher signed collectibles and licensed products.
Beckett Magazine claims Oher appears on 153 different football cards so far this year with 22 autographed, from Upper Deck. Sales of his cards have been especially strong because of Michael’s national exposure leading those who traditionally don’t collect cards to purchase his. An example of the demand is his 2009 Upper Deck Icons Autograph card (No.125) which typically sold for about $20 (high-end) is now going for as much as $80.
Michael has made only one personal autograph appearance in the Baltimore area this year - November 25th at the White Marsh Great Moments store. A long line wrapped around the building with people willing to wait a considerable amount of time to meet Michael and get his autograph. The majority of items signed were 8x10’s, mini-helmets and “The Blind Side” movie posters. There is a strong interest in his autographed items. In a recent SchulteAuctions.com online auction, a signed Michael Oher Wilson replica football went for $145.
Even though Michael was forced to deal with great life challenges as a kid, he seems to have made very smart decisions and commitments along the way. He hasn’t allowed the movie or demands for his time distract him from his number one priority - helping the Ravens reach the playoffs. I’m sure his agent and management team are preparing corporate and autograph opportunities for him during the upcoming off-season, but right now he is focused in on the remainder of the Ravens schedule.
The strong response and demand for Michael’s autographs and collectibles can be linked to the release of “The Blind Side”, but for Michael to sustain and grow that established value, he must continue to excel on the field for years to come. Most collectors feel he has the potential to become one of the greats by the end of his career. After what he has endured and accomplished in his life so far, who would bet against him?!