Before the news was official and the ink was dry solidifying Tom Brady as the next quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, many were wondering what would happen with the number twelve.
Jersey numbers have grown in importance over the years. And for the past two decades, Tom Brady and the number twelve have been a pair, putting them in the same light as Joe Montana and the number sixteen, or Troy Aikman and the number eight.
There was a potential issue brewing when Brady signed with the Bucs because a member of the team already owned the number. Chris Godwin has become the number twelve Buccaneers fans have grown to love. Since he was drafted in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Godwin has worn the number, and each year since his role and popularity has grown.
In 2019, Tampa Bay’s number twelve earned national attention by hauling in 86-receptions for 1,333-yards and nine touchdowns. All of this despite missing two full games due to a late season hamstring injury.
So which All-Pro would wear twelve in 2020? Well, as it turns out, it’ll be the quarterback.
The answer you've been waiting for...— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) March 31, 2020
Tom Brady: 1⃣2⃣
Chris Godwin: 1⃣4⃣
Of course, if you’ve had your eyes and ears out for Bucs news this off-season, this isn’t much of a surprise. Shortly after the signing of Brady, Godwin spoke with team reporter Casey Phillips, saying,
“Obviously, if he doesn’t want it or isn’t making a big deal about it, I’m definitely going to keep it,” said Godwin. “But we’ll see how that 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 got to kind of lean into that respect, you know?”
So, Godwin will wear number fourteen for the next two years at least. I suppose the possibility he’ll switch back after Brady’s time in Tampa is over, exists. Godwin has been wearing the number since before his days with the Bucs, so it would make sense he would want to wear it again after the Hall of Fame quarterback rides out of Florida.
In fact, the number means so much, Godwin’s fiance goes by the user name “_misstwelve” on Instagram where she often refers to them as “The Twelves”.
For those wondering what Godwin got from Brady to make the switch? Apparently the answer is: Nothing.
Scott Smith, Senior Editor/Writer for Buccaneers.com wrote on the team’s site Tuesday,
“He later told Phillips that there was no transaction between him and Brady as part of the switch; he simply leaned into his respect for the future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.”
Godwin has been praised for his maturity since arriving to the NFL, and his work ethic has earned him the respect of fans, media and teammates. He’s continuing to do so with this move, showing there’s more than one way for someone to be a team player, even if you can’t shake hands with your newest teammates yet.