The New England Patriots and Bill Belichick may be forced to accept a new polarizing rule change. The NFL approved a new rule, which the Kansas City Chiefs proposed, that will allow far more leniency with player’s uniform numbers..
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Here is a break down of what the NFL approved (per ESPN) and a tweet that shows the new number parameters:
Approved a relaxation of rules for the numbers that players of certain positions can wear because of expanded practice squads. Running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, defensive backs and linebackers can all wear numbers in the single digits now if they choose. Based on preexisting NFL rules, players who want to change their numbers this season will have to buy out the inventory of the NFL’s manufacturing partners. This wouldn’t apply to players who give notice in 2021 that they want to change numbers in 2022.
Expect to see some new jersey numbers this season 👀 pic.twitter.com/6XJ7Zo0mTS
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) April 22, 2021
Essentially, players wouldn’t be restricted to the same sets of numbers that have been traditionally associated with their positions. Belichick reportedly “hates” the new rule, according to NBC Sports’ Mike Florio.
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Is Belichick just a purist, or is there another reason he is against the change, which is similar to the wide-open college football rules?
There hasn’t been an explanation for Belichick’s dislike for the rule, but it may be a little bit of both factors.
Tom Brady Hates the New Rule Too
Belichick isn’t alone in his dislike for the new rule. His former quarterback Tom Brady took to social media after news spread about the rule. Brady called it “dumb.”
In two separate posts on his Instagram story, Brady said:
“Good luck trying to block the right people now! Going to make for a lot of bad football!”
In a second screenshot, Brady went even harder with his opposition. “DUMB. Why not let the Lineman wear whatever they want too? Why have numbers? Just have colored jerseys…why not wear the same number?…DUMB.”
On the one hand, Brady’s point has some validity, but NFL players and coaches have adapted to changes made in the game for years. It’s tough to imagine someone not coming up with an innovative new system for on-field player recognition.
As a QB, Brady seems worried about miscommunications when he’s trying to slide protection to pick up a blitzing player on the defense. If he’s forced to take a hit and blames number confusion for the misstep, we might be treated to an epic rant from the GOAT.
Some Patriots Players Have Already Expressed Excitement
Kyle Van Noy and James White have already discussed possibly changing their numbers on social media. I’d expect to see a lot more in 2022 when players can make the switch without being forced to buy out the remaining stock at NFL retailers.
Some players may elect to stick with their NFL numbers even though they may have worn single-digit uniforms in college. In any case, fans should love the chance to cop fresh new jerseys.