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NFL Insider Names Team That Voted Against Jersey Number Change

A closeup of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick crossing his arms during a game.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on prior to Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

NFL owners passed a slew of new league rules for the 2021 season during a meeting on Wednesday. Of those rule changes, the amendment that's getting the most attention is the loosened restrictions on jersey number selection based on position.

Under the newly-passed rule, linebackers, defensive backs, running backs, receivers, and tight ends are all now allowed to wear single-digit numbers. The idea for increased number freedom was first proposed by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Before the rule was voted into law, the reaction around the league to the proposed change was largely positive or indifferent. But after the rule was set for the 2021 season, some notable figure began to step out against the decision -- starting with superstar quarterback Tom Brady.

In a series of Instagram posts on Thursday, the Bucs QB laid into the rule change calling it "dumb" and a precursor to "a lot of bad football."

Brady's former coach Bill Belichick agrees. According to NBC Sports PFT sources, the New England Patriots coach hates the rule.

According to the same source, the Pats were one of the four or five teams believed to have voted against the proposed change. Nine "no" votes were needed to kill the rule.

For most around the league, the increased access to certain numbers is just a fun addition to a once-rigid system. For Brady and Belichick, it's a hindrance to pass protection strategy -- worried their blockers will now have trouble finding their assignments based on categorical numbers.

We'll see if these concerns have any real effect in 2021.