Chiefs proposed expansion of single digits to make more numbers available

Super Bowl LV
Getty Images

The proposal by the Chiefs to allow running backs, receivers, tight ends, linebackers, and defensive backs to wear single-digit numbers was not stylistic but practical.

Per a source with knowledge of the specific terms of the proposal, the Chiefs have made this suggestion in order to ensure that there will be enough jersey numbers available for all players.

The problem arises when, for example, an offensive player on the practice squad has the same number as a defensive player on the active roster. If/when the offensive player is elevated to the active roster, he needs a new numbers.

The rule also will limit the number of duplicated jerseys numbers during the preseason.

The Chiefs recognize the collateral benefit to this proposed change. As the source said, “It’s just fun.”

Initially, it won’t be fun for the teams, because players who would be able to wear single digits will clamor for the unclaimed numbers — and will try to cajole those numbers from kickers and punters. (There’s a chance for some teams that the process of calling dibs already has begun.)

If the goal is to make more numbers available, here’s to letting players also wear 0 and 00. Whether it’s Jim Otto or Ken Burrough, 00 is an awesome number that the No Fun League dumped in the ’70s. (Burrough was allowed to keep wearing it through the balance of his career.)

It’s so awesome that, I had a generic, no-specific-team football jersey from Sears with the number 00 on it. And I loved it.

And then the Catholic grade school I attended had a one-day break from the standard uniform. And then I proudly wore my 00 jersey to school. And then one of the other kids said, “Is that your IQ?” And then I never wore that jersey again.

24 responses to “Chiefs proposed expansion of single digits to make more numbers available

  1. They should also allow letter/number combinations. For example: WR2. It would help John Harbaugh identify offensive players in the opponent’s formation.

  2. The Three Stooges wore fractions, letters and a question mark in their football short.

    Let’s go there.

  3. Pretty cool to have a logical proposal, with the stated benefit of “It’s just fun”.

  4. I always liked the college way better where players can practically wear whatever number they want

  5. At the rate teams retire players numbers, they’re going to HAVE to add more numbers eventually. I don’t agree with how some teams do it, I feel that permanently retiring a players number should be reserved for only the best of the best, anything else cheapens it.

  6. mbrock29609 says:
    April 2, 2021 at 10:28 am
    Never understood why the league doesn’t use 00, 01… thru 09.

    ====================== Technically players are allowed to wear 01 and 09 it would just count the same as 1 and 9, but why would you?

  7. How about starting the use of the decimal point?! Think of the possibilities! Talk show hosts asking “who’s on the Mount Rushmore of players that wore the number 3.7?”

  8. While they’re at it, can they also vote to remove players from the field who have their golden locks so long that you can’t read the name on the back of their jersey and barely see the numbers?!

  9. It’s more fun for me to be able to tell what position a player is by their number. It gives added context to what happens.

    For example, if 52 is chasing after a WR I know why he can’t catch up, it’s understandable for even the fastest LB to get beaten by a WR. If 24 is chasing after a WR I know he just got burnt. If 54 makes an athletic diving play on special teams it’s more impressive because he’s a LB. This rule change would remove clarity for viewers and coaches and could be exploited.

  10. Just what we need, more guys spending time worrying about what numbers they are going to wear instead of actually preparing to play. In DC alone, we have seen Clinton Portis stiff a guy on payment for a jersey number, a case that ended up in court, followed by Dwayne Haskins harassing Joe Theismann to wear #7. Theismann had been the only player in franchise history to wear the number and Haskins started his public campaign begging for the number right after he was drafted because he had only ever worn 7 and had a 7 necklace. How did that one work out? Is he taking the neklace with him to Pittsburgh? I am sure there are many stories across the league like these. We don’t need more of them which would certainly occur with a mad scramble for single digits. We’ll have multiple guys on each team bullying kickers and punters for their single digits, resulting in those players relegated to K and P jerseys, respectively, or worse, going full futbol goalie jerseys and wearing different colors than their teammates altogether. Stop the insanity!

  11. mbrock29609 says:

    April 2, 2021 at 10:28 am

    Never understood why the league doesn’t use 00, 01… thru 09.
    Because they use 1 thru 9 and putting a 0 in front of a number doesnt change the number, its baffling you didnt know that for however long you havent understood why they dont use those numbers.

  12. The NFL should use letters too. I want to see the first fullback wear FU on his jersey.

  13. Do not retire numbers at all. As someone mentioned at some point you are going to run out of numbers. Also what if you have a future HOF player in the league and they get traded to another team but that number is already retired? Happened a few times already. All numbers that you want to retire should instead go in the teams “ring of honor” up in the rafters but the number can be used by others. There is no choice to make on this as the numbers will run out.

  14. This is nothing. In college basketball, nobody can wear 16-19, 26-29, 36-39, 46-49, and anything higher than 55.

  15. Why not just let multiple guys wear the same number, like they do in college and just have their name on the back? I mean, no one is going to mistake #12 Tom Brady and #12 Aaron Rodgers, because one has a bunch of rings on his fingers and the other doesn’t…

  16. Not a Chiefs fan but no problem with this proposal. If you need a number grouping to know who is playing what…… shouldn’t be watching.

  17. kemp13 says:
    April 2, 2021 at 1:05 pm
    This is nothing. In college basketball, nobody can wear 16-19, 26-29, 36-39, 46-49, and anything higher than 55.
    Players also arent allowed to wear 6 thru 9. The only digits allowed are 0,1,2,3,4 and 5.

  18. This would actually help with the Bears. They cannot retire certain numbers like 50 because they wouldn’t have enough numbers left to actually use. And god knows it’s jarring and bordering on insulting to see a guy like Barkevious Mingo running around in Mike Singletary’s jersey.

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.