Ever since Tom Brady’s signing with the Buccaneers became official, there has been one question on the minds of Tampa Bay fans: What number is he going to wear?
Brady donned the No. 12 for all 20 of his seasons with the Patriots. The number has been worn by many great quarterbacks — Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, Jim Kelly, Joe Namath, Ken Stabler, Bob Griese, Randall Cunningham and Aaron Rodgers, just to name a few — and yet perhaps none have worn it better than Brady has over the last two decades.
So what’s the holdup? Why wouldn’t Brady keep on wearing 12?
Well, for starters, the number is taken by Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin, and while the 24-year-old pass-catcher may not have the history with No. 12 that Brady has, he certainly has worn it well. In 2019, his third season in the NFL, Godwin hauled in 86 receptions for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns — all career highs — and earned his first career Pro Bowl selection.
Asked about whether he’d give his number to Brady, Godwin said that it was up to Brady.
“Obviously, if he doesn’t want it, or if he’s not making a big deal out of it, I’m definitely going to keep it,” Godwin said in a video interview with the Buccaneers’ website. “We’ll see how it goes. I think just out of respect for what he’s done, what he’s accomplished, just kind of the career he’s built for himself, you’ve kind of got to lean into that respect.”
“He’s the GOAT,” Godwin added.
Godwin may be willing to defer to Brady, but Bucs fans still might want to hold off on buying their Brady No. 12 jerseys (for several reasons).
Wayyyyy back in 1995, the year before Godwin was born, Brady chose to wear No. 10 his freshman year at Michigan and stuck with it all four years in Ann Arbor. It was his first choice as a rookie with the Patriots, but it belonged to Lee Johnson, New England’s punter at the time. So Brady went with 12, the number on his locker.
So that raises some questions: Will Brady carry with him a piece of his New England background and take No. 12 to Tampa Bay? Will he return to his old No. 10 (which is currently owned by Tampa Bay receiver Scotty Miller)? Or will he look for a new beginning with a different number?