For years, the numbers NFL players can wear has been limited by the position they play. For instance, we all know wide receivers can only wear numbers in either the 80s, or 10-19. Back in the 1980s and before, running backs usually worse numbers in the 30s. Now most wear numbers in the 20s, but a few guys wear numbers in the 40s. Linebackers wear numbers in the 50s, linemen wear numbers in the 60s, etc.
Those are the rules the NFL has had in place for many years.
However, according to Peter King, the NFL is likely about to approve a rule change, proposed by the Kansas City Chiefs, that would allow significant changes to the numbers players are allowed to wear:
I personally have been waiting for this moment for a long time. I’m sure a lot of other people have too. But it looks like we are now finally going to get SINGLE-DIGIT NUMBER RUNNING BACKS AND RECEIVERS.
The header photo of this article is a tribute to Percy Harvin, one of the nastiest college football players ever, who wore #1, but was inhumanely forced to wear #11 in the NFL, thus reducing his level of swag considerably.
If you don’t think this is a big deal, I completely get it. It’s only a number.
But you have to admit: single-digit numbers on running backs and receivers just hit differently.
There’s a reason WRs in the NFL these days are increasingly opting for 10-19 jersey numbers: because they’re closer to the single digit numbers many of them wore in college, and skill players simply look better in low numbers.
I mean, come on:
And Derrick Henry rocking #2 while stiff-arming DBs into next week at Alabama:
Dalvin Cook was #4 at Florida State:
McCaffrey wore #5 at Stanford:
Then a throwback to Ted Ginn Jr. wearing #7 at Ohio State:
You cannot tell me single-digit number skill players don’t look 10x more swagged-out.
Let players wear the numbers they wore in college.
This means DeVonta Smith gets to keep wearing #6:
It also opens up the possibility of wide receivers in the 20s, like Calvin Johnson rocking #21 at Georgia Tech:
Unbelievable levels of swag here.
Leonard Fournette has already said he wants to take back his #7 he wore while mauling dudes at LSU:
College numbers are better than NFL numbers. It’s a fact. The main reason is that they allow single-digit skill player numbers.
However, the one thing college football will still have over the NFL is single-digit number defensive linemen, which are arguably even more swagged-out than single-digit number skill players. Just look at Chase Young wearing #2 at Ohio State:
Jadeveon Clowney wore #7 while he was popping dudes’ helmets off at South Carolina.
But D-linemen will only be able to go 50-79 and 90-99.
That’s okay. We’ll get single-digit number D-linemen someday.
But the Chiefs aren’t just proposing this rule change because it would be awesome. Apparently they’re doing it because they’re running out of available jersey numbers due to number retirements, according to Peter King. The Chiefs have three players on their roster (including practice squad) wearing #30.
The rule change is probably going to pass is because other teams are in the same boat.
King also points out that the Bears have 14 numbers retired, the 49ers have 12, the Giants have 11, Chiefs have 10, the Eagles have 9, and the Rams and Colts each have 8. The more time passes, the more jersey numbers get retired, the fewer numbers teams have available for current players.
This was going to happen sooner or later. King calls it “a necessary adjustment.”
Yeah–a necessary adjustment to the levels of swag in the NFL.