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The biggest and seemingly longest-running soap opera in the NFL is finally over, as the New York Jets and Green Bay Packers have completed their Aaron Rodgers trade. Now that we know where the future Hall of Fame quarterback will be playing and what draft compensation is changing hands, the biggest question that remained is, what will the new Aaron Rodgers jersey number be with the Jets? Will he wear the retired No. 12 after Joe Namath gave his blessing, or will it be another number?

Well, now we know the answer.

The new Aaron Rodgers jersey number goes back to his college days

As NFL fans, when we close our eyes and think of Aaron Rodgers, we picture ol’ number 12 running around the frozen tundra at Lambeau Field, making plays.

For the last several months, with an Aaron Rodgers trade to the Jets in the works, there’s been a lot of speculation as to what number the QB would wear with Gang Green. The Jets retired the No. 12 jersey nearly 40 years ago (October 14, 1985) years ago in honor of the franchise’s only Super Bowl-winning QB, “Broadway” Joe Namath.

Despite the number hanging in the rafters for almost four decades, Namath announced prior to the trade that the Aaron Rodgers jersey number could remain 12 if the QB came to the Big Apple.

“I’m a big Rodgers fan. I noticed he wears No. 12, of course,” Namath told the Tiki & Tierney show on WFAN Radio back in January. “I sure like Rodgers. If he’s there, yeah, I want him to wear his number.”

So, without Namath standing in the way of the QB in an Aaron Rodgers jersey number showdown, the stage was set for Rodgers to come to Broadway and wear No. 12.

However, on Monday, April 24, the teams officially agreed to an Aaron Rodgers trade, and lost in the shuffle was a small announcement that Rodgers would wear another number that goes back to his college days a California, Berkley.

“Although Hall-of-Fame QB Joe Namath gave Aaron Rodgers his blessing to wear No. 12,” NFL insider Adam Schefter tweeted. “The new Jets’ QB is expected to wear No. 8 — the number he wore in college at Cal.”

That Aaron Rodgers jersey number was a departure from the No. 12 that he also wore in high school at Pleasant Valley High School in Chico, California, and the No. 4 he wore at Butte Community College.

However, the No. 8 shirt has treated the QB well. In just two years at Cal, Rodgers threw for 5,469 yards with 43 passing touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also added 336 yards on the ground and eight rushing TDs.

The Jets’ history of No. 8s

Aaron Rodgers jersey number, Aaron Rodgers trade, Joe Namath, New York Jets, Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers | John Fisher/Getty Images

We all know about the history of Joe Namath and the No. 12 jersey. When the stylish QB wasn’t wearing a bathing suit of a full-length mink fur coat, he was wearing No. 12 and leading the team to a Super Bowl win in 1969.

Not all that many players have worn the new Aaron Rodgers jersey number for the New York Jets.

In 2023, Rodgers will become just the ninth player in Jets history to wear No. 8.

Punter Greg Gantt was the first Jet to wear that number in 1974 and 1975, and kicker Nick Lowery was probably the most successful. He kicked for Gang Green during the final three seasons of his career, from 1994-96.

Another Pro Bowl QB did wear No. 8 for the Jets, but it was Mark Brunell at the end of his career in 2010 and 2011 at ages 40 and 41. Browning Nagle, who played QB for the Jets from 1991-93 and went 3-10 as a starter, shared the new Aaron Rodgers jersey number as well.

The other four players to wear No. 8 for the Jets were K Randy Bullock (2015), P Ian Berryman (2019), QB Luke Falk (2019), and WR Elijah Moore (2021-22).


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