Will Aaron Rodgers wear No. 12 or No. 8 in New York?
It’s just a matter of time before the Jets finalize a trade for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. One of the first questions will be whether Rodgers will wear the now-retired jersey number belonging to Joe Namath.
Namath has offered to let Rodgers wear No. 12. But when has any player for whom a jersey was retired refused to let someone else wear it? It puts the former player in an awkward spot, forcing him to take a potentially unpopular position by refusing to get out of the way for a current player with whom the fan base has become smitten.
Frankly, it’s for the current player to take the high road. Some (like Joe Montana when he went to Kansas City and didn’t try to wear Len Dawson’s No. 16) have done it. Others have not.
Rodgers should do the magnanimous thing and decline to wear Namath’s number. Rodgers wore No. 8 at Cal, and No. 8 is currently available in New York.
Two weeks ago, Rodgers was asked about the possibility of wearing Namath’s number during an appearance with Pat McAfee. Rodgers called the issue premature.
At some point, the issue will be front and center. And Rodgers should say something like, “The number doesn’t make the man. The man makes the number.”
Really, the number is the thing that helps dehumanize the player. Aaron Rodgers isn’t 12. He’s Aaron Rodgers. He’ll be Aaron Rodgers if he wears 12 or 8 or any other number in New York.