Skip to main content

Report: NFL Makes Decision On Jersey Number Rule

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette on the field during an NFL game.

TAMPA, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 20: Leonard Fournette #28 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers walks off the field after defeating the Carolina Panthers 31-17 at Raymond James Stadium on September 20, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

In college football, players are pretty free to wear whatever numbers they want. The NFL has pretty rigid set of numbers that each position group can wear.

That is set to change very soon. Among the league rule changes proposed this year was one allowing for more players to wear single digit numbers, including defensive backs, linebackers, running backs, fullbacks, tight ends, H-backs and wide receivers. That rule just passed.

This is good news for many guys who want to go back to their college numbers. Tampa Bay Buccaneers' running back Leonard Fournette is among those who hopes to make that change, after wearing No. 7 at LSU.

Previously, quarterbacks, kickers, and punters were the only players allowed to wear those single digit numbers. A given NFL team probably only has a handful of guys at those limited positions, and even fewer occupying the single digits. This should shake that up in a major way.

The rule was initially proposed by the Kansas City Chiefs, after the team ran out of useable jersey numbers with the expanded practice squad last season. Here are the new guidelines for which digits each position group can wear.

  • Quarterbacks, Kickers, Punters: 1-19
  • Running Backs, Fullbacks, Wide Receivers, Tight Ends: 1-49, 80-89
  • Offensive Line: 50-79
  • Defensive Line: 50-79, 90-99
  • Linebackers: 1-49, 90-99
  • Defensive Backs: 1-49

This should make the upcoming year or two in jersey sales very interesting. It'll be fascinating to see the high-profile players who elect to take advantage and make a big change here.