Through the comebacks, loses and record-breaking Super Bowl wins, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has had one partner that has been through it all with him.
No, not just his supermodel wife, Gisele Bündchen. His shoulder pads.
In an interview with NBC Sports Boston, the 42-year-old revealed he’s worn the same pair of Douglas 25L shoulder pads since his freshman year of college — 25 years, or longer than many people keep their cars and homes.
Undoubtedly, Brady has gotten his money’s worth from the gear, which he received while playing at the University of Michigan.
“They’ve gotten reconditioned a little bit, but I think once you find something you like, you kind of stick with it,” Brady — who was selected by the Patriots with the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL draft — told NBC Sports. “I’ve always kind of liked the way they felt, the shape of them. People have tried to put me in a lot of other ones.”
“[It’s] the same plastic,” he said. “Same size. And sometimes the models change, and they don’t make the same ones as they used to.”
As Yahoo Sports points out, that means Brady’s pair of shoulder pads are older than at least 10 of his teammates.
“It becomes a personal thing and you never want to mess with that. So as long as they’re happy, I’m happy,” former Michigan equipment manager Jon Falk told ESPN.
“Quarterbacks always want to get their arms up, so we had to get special caps on their shoulder pads, and special epaulets,” Falk continued. “They were smaller, so you could raise your arm up and the flexibility was just unbelievable.”
While the NFL has no significant rules regulating what shoulder pads players should wear, the league recently adopted stricter guidelines for helmets. Brady has been outspoken about his disappointment with the fit of the new gear.
“I’ve been wearing the same thing for, you know, forever,” he told NBC. “You get used to one thing, one feel … this [new helmet] is a pound heavier, so it’s 25 percent heavier on your head. That takes a lot of getting used to. I wish it was lighter. I tried to make it lighter and they couldn’t make it lighter.
“I mean, add 25 percent to everything,” Brady added. “Add 25 percent to your pen, or 25 percent smaller keys on your keyboard, and tell me how that feels. It’s a little different.”