Tom Brady has been wearing the same shoulder pads longer than several teammates have been alive

Tom Brady is a man of routine. He sticks to a regimented diet and closely follows a personalized workout plan. As it turns out, he has also worn the same shoulder pads since 1995.

In an interview with NBC Sports Boston, Brady revealed that he’s worn the same Douglas 25L shoulder pads since his freshman year at Michigan. The shoulder pads are intensely cleaned every year and checked for safety, but he's happy to stick with his trusted gear over choosing something new.

“I’ve worn them for 25 years,” Brady said. “They’ve gotten reconditioned a little bit, but I think once you find something you like, you kind of stick with it. 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.”

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Brady found this pair to be best because it feels light despite covering low into his chest area. He worked with former Michigan equipment manager Jon Falk to get the right balance of protection and flexibility and remains in touch with him to this day.

"It becomes a personal thing and you never want to mess with that. So as long as they're happy, I'm happy," Falk said, via ESPN. "Quarterbacks always want to get their arms up, so we had to get special caps on their shoulder pads, and special epaulets. They were smaller, so you could raise your arm up and the flexibility was just unbelievable."

Brady’s shoulder pads are older than several of his teammates

Given all the hits he’s taken over the years, it’s a minor miracle Brady’s shoulder pads haven’t cracked or fallen out of use. After all, they’ve been around longer than at least 10 of his teammates have even been alive.

If we consider Brady’s shoulder pads to be 24 years old — ignoring that they were made potentially years before he got them — they’re already older than Jarrett Stidham, J.C. Jackson, Ryan Izzo, Byron Cowart, Ja'Whaun Bently, Gunner Olszewski, Jakobi Meyers, Damien Harris, Jake Bailey and Joejuan Williams. And Williams doesn’t turn 22 until December.

Even then, four other players are also 24: Chase Winovich, Sony Michel, Jakob Johnson and Jermaine Eluemunor.

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New England Patriots defenders Jonathan Jones (31) and Duron Harmon (21) tackle Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Allen left the field after the play. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Matt Barkley passes against the New England Patriots in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman runs after catching a pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen dives over the line of scrimmage to score a touchdown against the New England Patriots in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox (88) catches a pass in front of New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde intercepts a pass in the end zone, thrown by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady passes against the Buffalo Bills in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen fumbles as he is tackled by New England Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Bills recovered the fumble. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen tries to break free from the grasp of of New England Patriots defensive tackle Lawrence Guy in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
New England Patriots' Matthew Slater celebrates his touchdown after recovering a blocked punt in the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden celebrates his touchdown run against the Buffalo Bills with James White, rear, in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady gets fired up up before an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 29: Buffalo Bills Quarterback Josh Allen (17) on the field after getting hit in the head during the second half of the game between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills on September 29 ,2019, at New Era Field in Orchard Park, NY. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 29: Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown (15) holds onto the ball for a reception during the fourth quarter. The Buffalo Bills host The New England Patriots at New Era Field in Orchard Park, NY on Sept. 29, 2019. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 29: New England Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham (4) kicks a field goal in the third quarter. He missed an extra point early in the game. The Buffalo Bills host The New England Patriots at New Era Field in Orchard Park, NY on Sept. 29, 2019. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 29: New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon (10) is knocked out of bounds just short of the goal line during the third quarter. The Buffalo Bills host The New England Patriots at New Era Field in Orchard Park, NY on Sept. 29, 2019. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
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Keeping your old shoulder pads is somewhat common

Brady may sound strangely superstitious for keeping the same old gear, but he’s far from the only player to do so.

Former Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz said on Twitter that he wore the same pads for four years at Oregon and just changed out the colors from green to blue when he arrived in Charlotte. Some players don’t even do that much; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette was spotted in a game last year wearing a purple and gold pair of pads from his days at LSU.

Fortunately for Brady, the NFL doesn’t crack down on what kind of shoulder pads players wear or what position they’re intended for. Brady’s new teammate Michael Bennett famously wears tiny shoulder pads that are designed for kickers.

The real question becomes whether Brady would threaten to sit out the season if the league outlawed his beloved Douglas 25L shell.

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