I thought about titling this post "Numbers", but then I realized that one is all that matters. If you ask me what I think of when I hear the number 73, I would answer Joe Thomas.
Seventy-three is an odd number. I really have no memories from 1973 so it wouldn't immediately come to mind, so I would think uniform number, and for the last eleven years there has been no better Cleveland Brown.
|2008 Topps Mayo #57|
On April 28, 2007, with the third pick of the 2007 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns selected the Outland Trophy winning tackle from the Wisconsin Badgers, Joe Thomas. Instead of attending the draft in person, he was fishing on Lake Michigan.
|2007 Upper Deck First Edition #105|
Today, Joe Thomas announced his retirement from the NFL.
Here is another number for this post, but it is one that I won't necessarily remember.
From his first snap in 2007, until tearing his triceps in his left arm on October 22, 2017, Joe Thomas never missed an offensive snap. His record consecutive snap string ended at 10,363. Since he has decided to retire instead of coming back from the injury, it means that his whole playing career was a consecutive snap streak!
I own 62 Joe Thomas cards, 32 of which are from his rookie 2007 season.
|2007 SP Authentic - Gold #276 (#/25)|
This is the only Joe Thomas autographed card that I own. It is one of two Thomas cards that I own that are serial numbered out of 25.
|2007 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia - Rookie Premiere Materials AFC/NFC Spectrum Prime (#/10)|
I love the scan's reflection on this spectrum card, and the two pieces of jersey with a piece of football. This is the lowest serial numbered Thomas card that I own, being numbered out of 10.
Here are a few other rookie season memorabilia cards that I own.
|2007 Leaf Rookies & Stars - Dress for Success Jerseys #DS-9 (#/175)|
I like the layout of the card, having a picture of Thomas without the helmet on one side, and him in uniform on the other. The jersey material is a bit boring though.
|2007 SP Rookie Threads - Rookie Threads Silver #RT-JT|
A couple of jersey pieces here, and at least they are a little different from each other. Nice to see them in a cut-out of Thomas' jersey number.
|2007 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection - Rookie Materials Silver #URM-JT|
A different design for the cut-outs, showing his number and position.
Thomas was a day one starter during his rookie season, and impressed early. He was the NFL's Rookie of the Month for November during his rookie season, and was second in the voting for Offensive Rookie of the Year that season behind Adrian Peterson. After his rookie season, he was also named to the Pro Bowl as a replacement for Jason Peters.
|2008 Topps - Gold #281 (#/2008)|
The Pro Bowl became very familiar to Joe Thomas. He was named to the Pro Bowl team during all ten of his complete seasons.
More impressive than the ten consecutive Pro Bowl seasons is that he was also named to All-Pro Teams from 2008 - 2016. (First Team All-Pro in 2009 - 2011, and 2013 - 2016, and Second Team All-Pro for 2008 and 2012.)
|2009 Topps - Gold #14 (#/2009)|
Something that makes all those Pro Bowl and All-Pro recognitions more impressive is that he was constantly being recognized even though he was on some poor teams.
The Browns just missed the playoffs in Thomas' rookie season of 2007 with a 10-6 record. They lost tie-breakers with the Steelers for the division and with the Titans for the last wild-card spot. As you will see later, his team never came close to that record again.
|2010 Topps #324|
6 and 20
In his eleven seasons with the Browns, Joe Thomas played for 6 head coaches, and blocked for 20 different starting quarterbacks, with additional cameo appearances by two additional quarterbacks.
Here are the seasons that Joe Thomas played through along with the coaches and starting quarterbacks:
Season Record Coach Starting Quarterbacks
2007 10 - 6 Romeo Crennel Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson
2008 4 - 12 Crennel Anderson, Brady Quinn, Ken Dorsey,
2009 5 - 11 Eric Mangini Anderson, Quinn
2010 5 - 11 Mangini Jake Delhomme, Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace
2011 4 - 12 Pat Shurmur McCoy, Wallace
2012 5 - 11 Shurmur Brandon Weeden, Thad Lewis
2013 4 - 12 Rob Chudzinski Weeden, Jason Campbell, Brian Hoyer
2014 7 - 9 Mike Pettine Hoyer, Johnny Manziel, Connor Shaw
2015 3 - 13 Pettine Manziel, Josh McCown, Austin Davis
2016 1 - 15 Hue Jackson McCown, Robert Griffin III, Cody Kessler
2017 0 - 7 Jackson DeShone Kizer, Kevin Hogan
In 2012, newly signed backup quarterback Josh Jackson made an appearance after an injury to starter Thad Lewis on a fourth down with just over a minute left in the final game of the season. He was sacked and fumbled the ball away.
In 2016, during their week 5 game against the Patriots, Cody Kessler was hurt and Charlie Whitehurst came in and went 14-of-24 passing for 182 yards with a touchdown and an interception, but also suffered a knee injury during the game. The Browns cut him with an injury settlement shortly afterwards, so he never started a game for the team.
|2011 Score #70|
There was an interesting tweet today from one of Pro Football Focus' writers:
Joe Thomas gave up 30 sacks in his 11-year career (6,680 pass-block snaps).— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) March 14, 2018
His replacement, Spencer Drango, allowed 11 sacks in 11 games#Browns
One of the many crazy statistics from Joe Thomas' career.
|2012 Panini Stickers #98|
Another crazy factoid from Joe Thomas' career is that he never won a season opener. The Browns were 0-11 in Week 1 during his career.
|2013 Topps Magic #317|
I am so grateful to have had Joe Thomas to cheer for over the last eleven years. As bad as the Browns have been, I always had an answer when people asked me if the Browns even had anyone on their team that their team would want. He was the one good player that you could count on being there when the rosters changed with the new coaches and front offices.
|2014 Topps - Camo #308 (#/399)|
There is no doubt that Joe Thomas will be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He will be the first Browns Hall of Fame player that I have watched right from the draft through to the end his career.
(I don't believe that I watched Ozzie Newsome at all during his rookie season. My earliest Browns memories would be during his third season, the 1980 Kardiac Kids.)
|2015 Topps - Gold #295 (#/2015)|
Leading up to his retirement announcement, I've read articles saying that Joe Thomas might be offered a media job in football. In the past, I've really enjoyed reading what he said in post-game interviews, on twitter, or in his podcast, and if that is what he wants to do with his future, I can't wait to hear what he has to say!
|2016 Panini Absolute - Unsung Heroes #13|
I went to two Browns games this year. One of them was the game where Joe Thomas suffered his injury. Once I noticed that it was him on the ground, and knowing that his snap streak was coming to an end, I was quickly on my feet, cheering him as he was led off the field. Little did I know that this would be the last time that I would be able to cheer for him on the field as a player.
|2017 Panini Illusions - Living Legends #17|
This insert set says it all.
Thanks, Joe Thomas, for an amazing career!