The NFL Adjusts Jersey Number Parameters


The NFL has made some changes this year, and it’s a pretty big deal. Though most NFL rules are usually very strict and have made things a bit boring, these new rules are making fans excited.

The NFL broke the one-helmet rule, fans can now see their favorite NFL teams in new looks or throwback styles. They should also expect to see a lot of change in jersey numbers.

(Pictured above: Russell Gage changes from #83 to #14) 

Dressed to the nines

The league has set new number ranges for each position. This allows more players to wear single-digit numbers, return to their college numbers, or honor someone with a new number. Many players who have already made the switch to new numbers. 

These are the following changes:

This rule change doesn’t just please players, but also relieves the shortage of available numbers for franchises with several retired numbers. This range expansion benefits everyone. 

Sentiment in numbers

New York Giants’ Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard recently changed from #87 to #3. Shepard wore the number 3 in honor of his father, Derrick Shepard. Both Sterling and Derrick wore #3 in college for the Oklahoma Sooners. Watch us review his change here

Shepard isn’t the only player changing to a single digit. Darius Slay, Cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles has decided to change from #24 to #2. Slay changed his number just last year. He wore the number 24 in honor of basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, who died early in 2020. He was motivated by the number to go “Kobe mode” for the season. 

If you want to see who else is changing their number this year, keep track with this list

What’s the catch?

This change is great for players, but can come at a cost. If players decide to make the number change for this season, they have a hefty price to pay to rid their old jerseys from distribution. Players who decide to wait until the following season do not face these expensive repercussions. 

Could the number change hurt players? If a fan has a jersey with their old number on it, does this hurt their player loyalty or their team spirit? Jerseys are expensive, but loyalty shouldn’t come down to that cost. 


Is everyone happy?

Many are excited for their new freedoms with helmets and jersey numbers, but there has been backlash. Tom Brady, Quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has voiced his disapproval of this number expansion, claiming this change is “going to make for a lot of bad football”.

To an uninformed audience, it may be confusing to recognize players or identify positions. As long as the pros understand, however, football should be just fine.

This rules!

We’re glad to see the NFL loosen the reins a little bit and let what makes them appealing shine. These rule adjustments are going to make this season exciting. Who are you looking forward to seeing a change from?

Amanda Phillips

Amanda Phillips

Amanda Phillips is the Content Marketing Developer for Green Gridiron. She has a BS in Media and Communications. Amanda is skilled with writing for multiple media platforms, photography, and editing. She enjoys anything creative that she can get her hands on.

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