Since Tom Brady retired a few days ago, people have floated around the idea that the NFL should retire the number 12 league wide.
Taylor Lewan, who played at Michigan like Brady did, suggested the NFL should take this step.
The NFL has never retired a number for the entire league. And they shouldn’t start now.
The league doesn’t need to open up this can of worms. It starts with Brady and then what? It ends there? Yeah, ok.
Former players, coaches, media members would start coming out of the woodwork suggesting everyone should have their number retired.
What about No. 16 for Montana? Well we have to retire No. 18 for Peyton Manning. What about No. 22 for Emmitt Smith. Number 92, number 56, how about number 81, let’s just retire them all!
Football is different from the other three sports. There are 53 players on the active roster, not to mention another 16 on the practice squad. That’s 69 (nice) players and there’s only 99 numbers to choose from.
Baseball has the next largest roster and it’s half the size. That’s why the New York Yankees can retire 32 numbers for their team. Pretty soon Yankee players are going to start wearing emoji’s on the back of the uniforms.
But it doesn’t make sense for the NFL to retire Brady’s number. They’ve never done it before, why start now.
Does Tom Brady Even Deserve The Honor?
The other three professional sports leagues have one number retired league wide. One of those is strictly based off the greatness of the player. The NHL retirement of No. 99 for Wayne Gretzky is because he is regarded as the greatest hockey player ever. There are very few people who disagree.
Even after Connor McDavid has spent years in the NHL, most people still say Gretzky. And McDavid has the nickname McJesus for a reason, folks.
MLB retired Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 in part because he was a hell of a player but also because he broke the color barrier. So there is a bigger reason for his number being retired than any on-field accomplishment.
Brady has accomplished a lot on the field. More than most ever will. But is he really the best quarterback of all-time, or the most successful? Because there’s a difference.
Tom Brady doesn’t have the most MVPs in league history. Manning has more first team All-Pros than him.
Whenever someone questions Brady the first thing hurled back at them is the fact he’s won seven Super Bowls. And that’s factual.
But Michael Jordan doesn’t have the most NBA titles ever. Gretzky hasn’t won the most Stanley Cups. Yet those two are widely regarded as the greatest ever of their sports.
So, because Brady has won the most Super Bowls, we instantly have to say he’s the greatest of all-time?
Keep the Status Quo
I’m not trying to pick fights with Brady supporters. He’s got seven rings, can’t argue that. He’s the most accomplished man in the sport. Congrats.
I do not believe the NFL should retire the number 12 though. They’ve never retired one before, and I don’t think they should start now.
Let the New England Patriots retire the number. Nobody has worn it since Brady left anyways. There’s no shot the Patriots don’t retire it.
But for the league’s purpose, let’s keep the status quo.