BOSTON (CBS) — For the first time in a long time, No. 1 will be worn on the back and chest of a Patriots player.
The Patriots on Thursday confirmed what was widely expected: Cam Newton will be sporting No. 1 when he takes the field for New England.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) July 9, 2020
Newton has worn the No. 1 jersey since he was the No. 1 overall pick in 2011 for the Panthers. It was expected but not necessarily known if he would stick with that jersey number in New England.
Newton wore the No. 2 jersey during his one season at Auburn, where he won a Heisman Trophy and a national championship. He switched to jersey No. 1 in the NFL because fellow quarterback Jimmy Clausen had No. 2 in Carolina. After Clausen’s time in Carolina ended, Newton suck with his new number instead of making a change.
And now, some eight years later, Newton is doing the same. Rather than bother with trying to get No. 2 from Brian Hoyer (a QB who might not even make the final roster), Cam is sticking with the only NFL number he’s ever known.
As far as Patriots history with No. 1, there’s not much, as Newton will become the first non-kicker to sport the jersey number. Barefooted kicker Tony Franklin wore the premier digit from 1984-87. Prior to that, the No. 1 jersey had only been worn by kicker John Smith, from 1974-83. Another kicker, Eric Schubert, wore No. 1 in his only game with the Patriots in 1987, before the number when back to Franklin upon his return the following week.
Since ’87, though, the only person to wear the jersey number was Pat Patriot.
Now, a slightly more significant figure will don the jersey for New England.