The NFL’s decision to expand the schedule to 17 games may be just one of many changes for the 2021 season. The league may also be nearing a decision on the Kansas City Chiefs’ proposal to allow skill-position players to wear single-digit numbers, the league may be nearing a decision.
The NFL is expected to approve a rule that will loosen the restrictions on team jersey numbers, according to NBC Sports. The Chiefs’ initial proposal was reportedly fueled by the increase in players and the limited amount of numbers available for players in their respective positions.
Defensive backs, linebackers, running backs, fullbacks, tight ends, halfbacks and wide receivers would all be allowed to pick a number from their expanded pools.
Defensive backs and linebackers could wear any number from 1-49, while running backs, fullbacks, tight ends, halfbacks and wide receivers could all pick from 1-49 and 80-89. Defensive linemen and linebackers could don 90-99.
Quarterbacks, punters and kickers wouldn’t get to partake in the new options, being required to wear numbers 1-19 and offensive linemen would still get to choose from 50 to 79.
Not only would the new rules change each team’s apparel, but they would also have effects on revenue. If passed, the proposal could significantly increase jersey sales, among other merchandise. Additionally, an NBC source said that the Chiefs noted how “fun” the new rules could be.
The Patriots seem into the idea, having posted to Instagram a handful of players photoshopped into their jerseys with their college numbers. Among them was Julian Edelman with the No. 1 he wore at Kent State and Stephon Gilmore, who sported No. 5 with South Carolina.
However, not all players are keen on swapping digits.
Bills star Stefon Diggs took to Twitter to explain why he won’t change his No. 14 jersey if the proposal is passed.
“After some thought.. I can’t change my number all the people that spent their hard earned money supporting the 14,” he tweeted on Monday, adding in a separate tweet that “14 is everything to me…”
If the league approves the proposal for the upcoming season, which requires 24 or more votes (out of the 32 league owners), it will be one of few proposals to be passed without multiple attempts.