Reggie Bush was 15 years ahead of his time.
Back in 2006, marketing agent Mike Ornstein lobbied aggressively for the NFL to change its No Fun League approach to numerology, adjusting the rules so that Bush could wear No. 5 as a pro. It didn’t work.
This year, it could. With the Chiefs proposing a change that would allow running backs, tight ends, receivers, linebackers, and defensive backs to wear single-digit numbers, NFL games could look very different, if at least 23 teams agree with Kansas City.
It’s likely a tall order, especially since it’s coming out of the blue — and since the NFL isn’t exactly known for embracing change. Multiple players, reacting to our prior story regarding the proposal, have made their endorsement of the change clear.
Chargers linebacker Kenneth Murray, who wore No. 9 at Oklahoma, said, “Need this ASAP!!! K9 is back!!!!” Chargers safety Derwin James, who wore No. 3 at Florida State, said it has to be an April Fool’s Day joke. (It isn’t.) Meanwhile, Chargers cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said he’s fine with 25.
Other players didn’t like the idea of single digits being limited to certain players. Ravens tackle Orlando Brown Jr., using an excellent GIF of the great Fred Sanford, said that “I feel like OL should get first dibs on single digit numbers.”
There’s no reason for the league’s rules to be so restrictive wen it comes to jersey numbers. As long as ineligible players on offense wear ineligible numbers, it doesn’t matter what players on defense or at eligible offense positions wear.
So open it up. It’s been nearly 20 years since the NFL made the then-revolutionary step to let receivers wear numbers from 10 to 19. Embrace single digits. Let eligible offensive players wear any number from 1 to 49 and 80 to 89. Let defensive players wear any number they choose.
And, yes, bring back 00.