The Patriots started one trend when they were introduced as a team before Super Bowl XXXVI.
We’ll see if the latest becomes widespread among those who wish to appear selfless, as they’re the only team in the league without identifying marks during practice.
As chronicled in fine detail by Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com, the Patriots are the only team in the league which doesn’t have players wear numbers on their practice jerseys.
“We’re learning a lot of different names and faces right now,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. “We want our teammates to learn who the other people in the huddle are. I think it’s great for the quarterbacks to do that but also for the skill players, the different groups of linemen, the different centers. There are a lot of different people working with one another during the course of practice that really lends itself to us becoming a team. That’s what we’re really focused on.”
Reiss notes that other teams go without names on the backs of their jerseys, while Patriots progeny Bill O’Brien has the Texans operating without logos on their helmets (as do the Raiders).
It’s debatable whether the anonymous nature actually helps the players involved, but it was mentioned to McDaniels that it’s not easy for reporters to know who is where.
“I’m sure it’s not,” McDaniels said.
And you get the feeling that’s as much of the reason they do it as any of that other pop-psych team-building baloney.