There is a new number 1 in New England.
Cam Newton has officially been announced as a member of the New England Patriots and he has also been announced as wearing the not-so-famous No. 1 Patriots jersey. Newton will become the fourth player and fifth member of the Patriots organization to wear that number.
The Start Of 1
A No. 1 Patriots uniform did not appear on the field until 1974 when John Smith, from England, took over kicking duties for the Patriots. Smith wore the No. 1 jersey for 10 seasons, appearing in 116 games and scoring 692 points (fourth on the Patriots all-time points list). While wearing a home red No. 1 jersey, Smith kicked the historic Snow Plow Game 33-yard field goal to beat Miami, 3-0, in snowy Foxborough. His plant foot, of course, landed perfectly on the turf where Mark Henderson had plowed with his John Deere tractor that currently hangs from the ceiling at the Patriots Hall of Fame presented by Raytheon Technologies. That kick made Smith, Henderson, the Snow Plow and the No. 1 part of Patriots lore.
Replacing The 1
The 1984, the Patriots saw a change in the kicking position when Tony Franklin joined the Patriots following a five year stint with the Eagles. Franklin also wore No. 1. In his second season in a Patriots No. 1 jersey, Franklin and the Patriots found themselves in Super Bowl XX against the Chicago Bears. The Patriots recovered a Walter Payton fumble on the game’s opening possession, but had to settle for a 36-yard Franklin field goal. Franklin and his barefoot booted the ball through the uprights to record the first Super Bowl points scored by the Patriots in franchise history. Once again, the No. 1 is at the forefront in Patriots history.
Keeping 1 Alive
Franklin’s departure following the 1986 season left an opening at the kicking position and at the top of the numerical roster. Eric Schubert stepped into both of those roles for one game during the 1987 season. Schubert made his only appearance for the Patriots on October 4, 1987 at Sullivan Stadium against the Cleveland Browns. He converted a 23-yard field goal and missed wide on a 40-yard attempt and was 1 for 1 on extra points. The No. 1 jersey then went vacant for 15 years.
1 Trophy Later
The 2002 season began with the Patriots unveiling their Super Bowl XXXVI banner inside of a brand new Gillette Stadium, the perfect celebration of the franchise’s first championship. That season, the sidelines also saw something new. Pat Patriot had a new number. After sporting a 0 on his chest for several years, Pat returned the Patriots No. 1 to glory during the 2002 season. Since then, Pat has worn the lone digit for 18 years, including during five additional Super Bowl championship seasons (the most Super Bowl championship wins for any mascot wearing the number 1), countless home victories, and in all types of New England weather.
Going into the 2020 Patriots season, Pat might have some stiff competition for the No. 1 color rush jersey. Cam Newton will become the first Patriots player to wear the number 1 under Bill Belichick. Newton will also become the first non-kicker in franchise history to wear the number 1.
The No. 1 will return to the field of play for the first time in 33 years, currently the fourth longest number drought in Patriots history, behind only Bob Dee’s 89 (last worn in 1967), Gino Cappelletti’s 20 (last worn in 1970), and Jim Lee Hunt’s 79 (last worn in 1970). Side note: Steve Nelson’s 57 has not been worn since December 12, 1987, a few months after Eric Schubert ended his single game with the Patriots.
The rarity of a Patriots player wearing number 1, combined with the unique circumstances the Patriots and Cam Newton face going into the 2020 season make us wonder if the No. 1 will make a return to the Patriots history books yet again.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) July 9, 2020