NFL owners gathered on Wednesday to vote on a series of proposed rule changes for the 2021 season. In addition to a few other notable amendments, the league approved a plea to loosen restrictions on the type of jersey numbers players can wear based on their position.
Under the new rule change, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, defensive backs and linebackers can all wear single-digit numbers if they so choose.
While most players are either excited or indifferent with this rule, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is not a fan. Taking to his Instagram story after the change was approved, the all-time great voiced his displeasure with the new number freedom.
“Good luck trying to block the right people now! Going to make for a lot of bad football,” Brady wrote.
GOAT not a fan of the new number rule? pic.twitter.com/MgIW06taDb
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) April 22, 2021
Prior to this rule change, single-digit numbers were limited to just quarterbacks, punters and kickers. Wearing No. 12 for his entire career, Brady’s qualms don’t stem from a single-digit superiority — but rather, an issue with the effects the change will have on strategic pass protection.
Now with blurred lines between once-rigid number categories, Brady worries his linemen will have a tougher time picking up defensive assignments. Under the new rules, defensive backs can choose from numbers 1-49 and linebackers 1-59/90-99.
In addition to the relaxation on number restrictions, the NFL owners also approved the addition of extra video replay officials, a one-year alternative on-side kick experiment, the elimination of overtime in the preseason and others.
Through 21 years in the league Brady has been through plenty of NFL rule changes. While he may not like it now, the future Hall of Fame QB will certainly find a way to adjust.