The retirement of a jersey throughout a league is a rare honor. Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, MLB's first Black player in the 20th century, has had his No. 42 retired throughout baseball since 1997. Wayne Gretzky received a similar honor in the NHL in 2000, as did Bill Russell in the NBA after his 2022 death.
With Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady—by acclamation the greatest quarterback in NFL history—formally stepping away from the game Wednesday morning, Titans offensive tackle Taylor Lewan publicly called for Brady to join this hallowed class of North American athletes.
"We should retire the number 12 for every team in the NFL," Lewan opined in a tweet, adding the GOAT emoji for good measure.
Like Brady, Lewan played collegiately at Michigan, and was named an All-American in 2012 and ’13.
Currently, eight NFL franchises have retired the number 12 on an official or unofficial basis: the Bills (for quarterback Jim Kelly), Cowboys (quarterback Roger Staubach), Dolphins (quarterback Bob Griese), Jets (quarterback Joe Namath), Eagles (quarterback Randall Cunningham), Steelers (quarterback Terry Bradshaw), 49ers (quarterback John Bride), and Seahawks (their fans, the 12th man).