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Sacco Sez: Paxton Lynch and the number 12

It seems like all the national evaluators, joined in full voice by Denver Broncos fans, feel like the team had an outstanding draft.

Peter King of Sports Illustrated wrote at the end of Day 1, "Super Bowl Champs Win the First Round of the Draft, Too."

It was fun and exciting, but now we move on.

First-round pick Paxton Lynch is introduced as he arrives at Broncos headquarters.

One of the things that has fascinated me throughout the years is the uniform number, and I like seeing what players were. Sticking just with first-round draft choice Paxton Lynch (a great name, by the way, besides everything else), since there is a special status to the quarterback position and to the first round, I thought it might be fun to look at number 12.

A very prominent number in the game, number 12 has had some notable Broncos history.

Lynch becomes the 13th Bronco to wear number 12, and the eighth quarterback, and the first since Gus Frerotte in 2000-01. Since then, it has been worn by wide receivers Charlie Adams (2003), Domenik Hixon (2006-07), Matthew Willis (2009-12) and, most recently, by Andre "Bubba" Caldwell (2013-15).

The first number 12 was placekicker Gary Kroner from 1965-67, but then quarterbacks took over the number.

Alan Pastrana wore it from 1969-70; Ring of Famer Charley Johnson -- by far the most prominent and successful No. 12 -- had it from 1972-75; and Craig Penrose ("Penny") from 1976-79. Penrose was an outstanding backup quarterback for the Broncos' Super Bowl XII team and led Denver to a big win at Cincinnati when Craig Morton went down with an injury.

The definitive comment on Charley Johnson -- the only quarterback in history to be active in the NFL while also serving on active duty as a United States Army officer and while studying for and obtaining a doctorate degree -- was made by fellow Ring of Famer Haven Moses.

"He taught us how to win," Moses said of Johnson.

The other Denver quarterbacks with number 12 were Ken Karcher (1987-88, a replacement player who impressed enough to keep a job and was on the roster for Super Bowl XXII), Shawn Moore (1991-93) and Chris Miller (1999).

In Super Bowl history, the number 12 is huge. Of the 100 quarterbacks who have started a Super Bowl game, 24 of them have worn number 12, producing a 13-11 won-lost record. The 13 wins by quarterbacks wearing number 12 are the most in Super Bowl history.


It was worn by Joe Namath in Super Bowl III and by Terry Bradshaw when he became the first quarterback to win four Super Bowls, twice going back-to-back with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bob Griese, Roger Staubach, Ken Stabler, and Jim Kelly wore 12 with their Super Bowl teams, as did Stan Humphries, Chris Chandler, Tom Brady and Rich Gannon.

Six of that group are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including Namath, Staubach, Griese, Bradshaw, Kelly, and recent inductee Ken Stabler.

Lynch began wearing number 12 at Trinity Christian Academy in Deltona, Florida, and continued in the number while playing at the University of Memphis.

Every member of Broncos Country wishes Lynch well at the very start of what all hope will be a most-successful career as the Broncos' newest number 12.

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