Soccer is a numbers game.
On April 21, the NFL passed a new rule that relaxes certain position groups using certain numbers on the field, which means you will see many new numbers associated with certain position groups on the field.
In previous seasons, only quarterbacks, kickers and punters were allowed to use single digits, but that’s now a thing of the past with the new NFL rule. In fact, more groups of positions are allowed to use those single digit numbers moving into the future.
While fans of the college game are familiar with single-digit players, it’s not something that’s allowed in the NFL rulebook – until now.
Here’s how the players will dress in the future:
NFL jersey numbers
The relaxation of NFL rules means that there are certain groups that can now choose to wear single-digit jersey numbers. Previously, only quarterbacks, punters, and kickers could have single digits. Now, that has expanded to include tight ends, wide receivers, running backs and defensive backs.
Here’s how it breaks down:
|Position group||Numeric options|
|Wide receivers||1-49, 80-89|
|Tight ends||1-49, 80-90|
|Defensive line||50-79, 90-99|
The quarterback, offensive line, defensive line, and bettor number brackets remain the same. Linebackers, defensive backs, tight ends, wide receivers, and running backs can also use even single-digit numbers now.
Players who change numbers
If a player wants to change their uniform number for the 2021 season, it will cost them: Under current NFL jersey manufacturing rules, a player will have to purchase the existing jersey allocation with their current number.
If a player wants to change their number for the 2022 NFL season, they will have to notify them, but they will not have to purchase the current uniform inventory.
Under NFL rules, if a player wants to change his number THIS SEASON, he would have to purchase existing inventory from jersey distributors.
If you want to give notice now to change your number NEXT SEASON, there will be no requirement to purchase inventory. https://t.co/XvduiMgSw3
– Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) April 21, 2021
Meaning: Don’t be surprised if most players wait until 2022 to change their uniform numbers.
However, there are several players who have already shown interest in changing the numbers:
Jalen Ramsey, Rams
Ramsey used two numbers in college: number 13 and number 8. On April 21, Ramsey tweeted an emoji of himself in light of the news, which could indicate that he wants a new number.
Robert Woods, Rams
Robert Woods, who wore No. 2 in college with USC, currently wears No. 17 for the Rams. He recently said that he would change again.
Tyrann Mathieu, bosses
With LSU, the KC DB wore the number 7. He weighed in on the news, saying it will only “focus on the numbers that matter.” Could that mean that there is no interest in changing from the number 32? Probably.
I only focus on the numbers that matter.
– Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) April 21, 2021
Derrick Henry, Titans
Henry recently showed his approval for the league change to allow for more single digits. Henry wore the number 2 in college and is doubling the digit in the NFL (No. 22).
Cool single digits and all, but can we bring back retro jerseys and helmets? Someone made a request for that hahaha.
– Derrick Henry (@ KingHenry_2) April 9, 2021
Derwin James, Chargers
James spent time with Florida State wearing No. 3, before switching to No. 33 with Los Angeles. He originally thought it might be an April Fools joke, but we’ll see how serious he is about it now that the rule has passed.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.