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NFL Relaxes Jersey Number Restrictions

NFL Relaxes Jersey Number Restrictions

Credit: Unsplash

More numbers, more fun.

Okay, cards on the table: I actually had no idea there was any significance to the numbers on football players’ jerseys until just recently. When I was a kid, I initially assumed they could just pick whatever number they wanted and all simply happened to pick really boring numbers, or otherwise the numbers simply indicated the order in which they joined the team. In actuality, the numbers are used to designate the players on certain team positions, like running backs, defensive linemen, and so on. For a long time, the really cool, single-digit numbers were reserved exclusively for quarterbacks, but as of a new rule change, that’s been loosened a bit.

During an announcement of several changes to the official NFL rules on Wednesday, the league announced that jersey number regulations would be altered to allow different players in different positions access to a wider array of number choices. There’s still a few restrictions to keep things from getting too confusing, but overall, it’s a much larger selection now.

The new number availability breaks down like this:

  • Defensive backs: No. 1-49
  • Running backs, full backs, tight ends, H-backs, wide receivers: No. 1-49, 80-89
  • Offensive linemen: 50-79
  • Defensive lineman: 50-79, 90-99
  • Linebackers: 1-59, 90-99

The proposal for this change was originally submitted by the Kansas City Chiefs after numbering issues were noticed during some of the COVID-19 pandemic-induced expanded practice squads. With this new rule officially put in action, some players are expected to file for a number change with their teams, such as those who wore single-digit numbers during college football careers. I wonder how long it’ll be before all the meme-y numbers get snatched up.

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