NFL jersey numbers: owners approve rule change for 2021

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NFL owners approved a rule change that would allow more players to wear single-digit numbers, according to Albert Breer of the MMQB.

The rule change, originally proposed by the Chiefs, would allow running backs, tight-ended and wide receivers to wear any number from one to 49 as well as 80-89. Defensive backs will also be allowed to wear numbers 1-49, while linebackers will be able to wear jerseys between 1-59 and 90-99.

The new league number ranges are as follows:

Quarterback, kicker, kicker: 1–19
running back: 1-49, 80-89
Defensive Back: 1–49
Linebacker: 1-59, 90-99
Offensive lineman: 50-79
Defensive lineman: 50-79, 90-99

Kansas City did not propose the rule change for purely cosmetic reasons, according to Peter King of NBC Sports, who first broke news of the proposal. The Chiefs reportedly ran into a shortage of numbers available in the 20-49 lineup last season, with numbers 28, 33, 36 and 37 all being retired by the franchise. With the new and expanded jersey lines, franchises are unlikely to encounter a similar problem at any time in the seasons to come.

Several current NFL stars wore single-digit numbers in college, including Odell Beckham Jr., Derrick Henry and Christian McCaffrey.



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