Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady almost had a different jersey number

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/5228/" data-ylk="slk:Tom Brady">Tom Brady</a>, who wears No. 12 for the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/nwe" data-ylk="slk:Patriots">Patriots</a>, will take on <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/7200/" data-ylk="slk:Aaron Rodgers">Aaron Rodgers</a>, another quarterback who wears jersey No. 12, this weekend. (AP Foto/Adrian Kraus, archivo)
Tom Brady, who wears No. 12 for the Patriots, will take on Aaron Rodgers, another quarterback who wears jersey No. 12, this weekend. (AP Foto/Adrian Kraus, archivo)

TB12 was a locker, and a punter, away from never existing.

In a press conference Friday morning, New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady gave some insight into his now iconic TB12 jersey and how it was almost TB10 instead.

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Brady wore No. 10 as a quarterback at Michigan. When he was drafted by New England in 2000, he wanted to keep that number. Too bad Lee Johnson, the team’s punter, already had the coveted number.


No. 12 wasn’t even Brady’s choice.

“Wasn’t really my choice. I was 10 in college, and when I got here, Lee Johnson was 10. So whatever number was on my locker — which was 12 — that was the one that [former Patriots equipment manager] Don Brocher gave me.” Brady said during Friday’s press conference.

The Patriots released Johnson a season later leaving the No. 10 spot open. Despite temptation, Brady decided to stick with his No. 12.

“We released Lee, and I thought about going back to 10. But I just stuck with 12,” Brady said.

No. 12’s legacy

Even if it wasn’t his first number choice, Brady is aware of the legacy behind the number.

Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, Joe Namath and Joe Kelly are some of the big names who have worn No. 12 over the years.

“There’s a lot of great quarterbacks who have worn it. It’s kind of a pretty typical quarterback number,” Brady said. “But it’s worked pretty well for me, so I’m glad they gave me that when I first got here. It’s had a lot of good games in it, a lot of great wins.”

Great wins which include five Super Bowl wins and four Super Bowl MVPs.

Brady will try for another win this Sunday against the Green Bay Packers who have their own No. 12 wearing quarterback in Aaron Rodgers.

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