The NFL is considering a rule that won’t necessarily change the game on the field, but will change the way the game looks, and a rule that players have long advocated for: Loosening the restrictions on jersey numbers, including allowing more players to wear single-digit numbers.
A proposal that owners will vote on at the upcoming league meeting would allow single-digit numbers to be worn by more players than just quarterbacks, kickers and punters, who are the only players currently allowed to wear single digits.
Under the proposal, defensive backs, linebackers, running backs, fullbacks, tight ends, H-backs and wide receivers would all be allowed to wear jerseys in the single digits. Defensive backs and linebackers could wear any number from 1 to 49, while running backs, fullbacks, tight ends, H-backs and wide receivers could all wear 1 to 49 and 80 to 89.
Quarterbacks, punters and kickers would still be required to wear numbers 1 to 19, linemen would still wear 50 to 79, and defensive linemen and linebackers could also wear 90 to 99.
One of the most visible differences between college and pro football is that college players have more jersey number options. Soon that difference may disappear.