Over the time period of the offseason, many sports go into motions for new rules and hear proposals for adaptations to better their leagues.
In the NFL many proposals are voted on by the owners of each team and are also submitted this way to the organization. Of course, the teams notify their owners of rules and other things they would like to see changed and for the Kansas City Chiefs one rule stood out from their proposals.
The Chiefs proposed to amend the NFL’s rule about jersey numbers. The rule the Chiefs are specifically interested in is to allow running backs, fullbacks, wide receivers, tight ends, linebackers, and defensive backs to wear any number from 1-49, and they could also wear any number from 80-89. The rule would change nothing for all other positions, such as quarterbacks who would still only wear 1-19 or offensive linemen who would still only wear 50-79. The proposed rule also mentions that linebackers would have the option of wearing 1-49, but doesn’t mention if they can still wear 50-59.
The NFL rule as of now is that all players follow their position requirements such as:
- Quarterbacks, punters, and placekickers can wear numbers 1-19
- Wide receivers and tight ends can wear numbers 80-89 or 10-19 for wide receivers if 80-89 are otherwise assigned
- Running backs and defensive backs can wear numbers 20-49
- Centers can wear numbers 50-59 or 60-79 if 50-59 is unavailable
- Offensive guards and tackles can wear numbers 60-79
- Defensive lineman can wear numbers 60-79 or 90-99 if 60-79 is unavailable
- Linebackers can wear numbers 50-59 or 90-99 if 50-59 is unavailable
To help clarify an example of the new rule would be that if San Fransico cornerback Richard Sherman wanted to wear number nine as he did so at Stanford he would be allowed to switch from his current number, 25. Another example would be that Penn State linebacker NFL draft hopeful Micah Parsons would be able to keep his number 11 as a rookie after the 2021 NFL draft. This rule would affect all 2021 rookies as well as current players.
After noise was spread about the proposed rule many athletes from the NFL took to Twitter to announce they were on board and want to see this happen.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill said, “bring back 00.”
Los Angeles Rams cornerback, Jalen Ramsey, and Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr. Also expressed their approval of the rule change on Twitter as both wanted their nicknames to resurface if they are allowed to wear new numbers.
If 75% of the teams agree to this new proposed rule will pass and look a lot more like the collegiate atmosphere. This rule change would allow players more options to claim a number on their backs that some haven’t worn since college or high school. For some athletes, this is a big deal as they assign meanings and personalities to the numbers they wear.
Personally, I think this rule change would benefit the NFL, players, and fans all around. The new ruling would allow players to have more freedom and more expression of themselves so if I was an owner voting on this rule my decision is simply, I’d vote yes.
The way the rule comes off to me is that it will only help make the players and fans happier to keep their numbers from college or even high school that they have bonded with. From playing sports in my life I know first hand, some athletes choose their numbers for personal reasons and have deep connections devoted to their choices as well. If the NFL approves this rule change it will not only change the league but I feel it would only make players and fans happy.