Competition Committee proposes allowing LBs to wear jersey numbers in the 40s

Getty Images

For more than 40 years, the NFL has made linebackers wear jersey numbers in the 50s and 90s.

But that could be changing.

The league’s Competition Committee has proposed allowing linebackers to don jerseys with numbers in the 40s. The reason, the committee said, was a “(shortage) of available numbers for linebackers.”

The current rule has been applied and followed without much incident over the years, with one notable exception coming when then-Seahawks linebacker Brian Bosworth got a restraining order to wear his preferred No. 44 jersey early in his rookie season of 1987. He eventually lost his legal fight and would wear No. 55.

Now, 28 years later, the NFL is finally getting around to allowing linebackers to wear numbers in the 40s?

That’s cold.

In fact, you could say it was “Stone Cold.”

30 responses to “Competition Committee proposes allowing LBs to wear jersey numbers in the 40s

  1. One of my favorite linebackers back in the day was Jack Pardee who wore number 32 for the Los Angeles team when he first started, and later with the Redskins.

  2. Its not that big a deal honestly. It won’t be like college, where there is 3 of every number and defensive linemen wear number 6 and punters wear 99.

  3. with the line becoming more and more blurred between strong safeties and coverage linebackers…why not?

  4. I thought it was already possible as long as all the other numbers are taken. Didn’t the Patriots have a LB wearing number 48 or 49 a while back?

  5. I was (and remain) a huge Bosworth fan back in his Seahawks days. Did the team not toy with the idea of listing him as a strong safety but playing him at linebacker just so he could wear #44? I recall that plan was also nixed.

    Is the idea of number restrictions to aid coordinators in making positional substitutions quickly based on who they see running on the field from the opposite sideline between each play? Or is it to aid the officials in determining eligible receivers?

  6. Glad to see the competition committee is dealing with serious issues…………

  7. Well as long as the committee is considering vastly important things like jersey numbers we can all sleep soundly.

    SMH what a bunch of hacks.

  8. Bo Jackson getting absolutely smashed by Bo Jackson was an all time great highlight.

  9. Bo Jackson was so frigging awesome I would not be surprised that – at some point in his career – he did smash himself.

  10. Rule change also is consistent with the gradual emergence of oversized safety / undersized (fast) OLBs in the NFL, somewhat similar to rovers in college ball.

  11. I think the only reason for assigning ranges of numbers for positions is so that the refs can easily tell who is involved in a play, making it easier to tell who is an eligible receiver, and enforcement of other rules where position matters.

  12. The Competition Committee cant clearly define a catch because they are worrying about jersey numbers.

    While you are at it, make it ok to let WRs wear single digit numbers instead of the stupid teen numbers

  13. Keuchly can go back to his college number of 40 then.
    Might be too expensive for the current players to change numbers at this point. But some incoming rookies might keep their college numbers.

  14. Devin Hester is another recent example. He wore #23 as a DB, but kept it when he switched to WR.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.