Tom Brady Hates the New NFL Numbering Rule, Says it Will ‘Make For a Lot of Bad Football’

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I like Tom Brady a lot more ever since he left New England. He even says some things I agree with from time to time. None of them have been “footballs should be fully inflated” which is kind of a bummer but you take what you can get.

The latest thing I think Brady has gotten right is that the new numbering system, which opens up more numbers to more players, is going to be really confusing. Here how ESPN summarizes the change.

[It] allows quarterbacks, punters and place-kickers to wear numbers 1-19, defensive backs 1-49, and then running backs, tight ends and wide receivers 1-49 and 80-89. Offensive linemen can wear 50-79, defensive linemen 50-79 and 90-99, and linebackers 1-59 and 90-99.

The biggest change here is it allows players who aren’t quarterbacks, kickers or punters to wear the numbers 1-9.

Now, the important thing is ineligible players, that is players who can’t legally catch a pass, are still in numbers 50-79. But there is so much crossover in which positions can wear which numbers now.

Brady thinks it’ll make for bad football.

“Good luck trying to block the right people now!” Brady posted on his Instagram story, with an image of the new numbers permitted. “Going to make for a lot of bad football!”

Brady then posted a screen capture of a story about the rule and directed it to the NFL and NFL Players Association, with the words “DUMB” and “Why not let the Lineman wear whatever they want too? Why have numbers? Just have colored jerseys…why not wear the same number?…DUMB.”

The point of having a formalized number scheme is so everyone knows what position a player is playing by their number, so having as little overlap as possible is the goal here. This new scheme opens almost every number up to every player other than offensive linemen and the numbers reserved for them. Brady is right, it’s going to be a mess and it could make playing the game worse.

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