“Intercepted by…Number 5?”

This past off-season, the Kansas City Chiefs submitted a proposal that changes possibly the most iconic feature of any NFL player: the jersey number. Now players other than QBs are allowed to wear single-digit numbers. At times, watching the NFL can feel like watching an NCAA game, not to mention the utter confusion that fans and players alike experience.

Freshman Jill Weston, who has been watching football for almost her entire life and is an avid Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, is not thrilled by the recent change in the rule. “[It is] not good,” said Weston. “First off, these people have merchandise, and [the companies] sent it out. So, if someone bought it, and now the number’s changed, that’s just stupid.” Weston also mentioned that now companies must spend extra money, time, and supplies to put out new player merchandise. “Also, some of these [fans] memorize players by their number. And now they have to re-memorize everything. It’s to please the players. Football is for the players, but it’s also for the fans,” added Weston.

Justin Williams

Fans are not the only ones who find this change pointless and confusing. In an interview with Tampa Bay Times (tampabay.com), quarterback, Super Bowl Champion, and Weston’s favorite player, Tom Brady, spoke out against the new policy. He talked about how confusing it can be to study film and memorize a player’s skill set by his number, only to have the main distinction between players changed without warning. “Literally, guys changed their numbers today. I’m playing two guys who had different numbers in the preseason,” said Brady, the 20-year veteran. He considers football to be like “a game of chess” and not “figure it out as you go.” Weston and Brady alike are not fans of this feeling of uncertainty that is spreading around the NFL.

Freshman Brady Rogan is a Steelers and Jets fan who has been watching the NFL for about five years. Rogan said that he had mixed emotions about the change in policy: “I like it and don’t like it at the same time. I think that players should be able to wear whatever numbers they want, but at the same time, it looks odd to see.” Like Weston and Brady, Rogan also saw this move as unnecessary. “I don’t really think that players need to have whatever number’s they want…they ruined the tradition,” said Rogan. However, Rogan does not see any reason for the NFL to redact the policy next season. “It’s not really that big of a deal,” added Rogan.

The consensus about this change in policy seems overall quite negative. Many players, coaches, and fans of the NFL seem to find this change to be confusing, wasteful, and downright pointless. Will the NFL revert to its old policy? Will the NFL players and staff push back against the policy? For now, at least, fans will just have to make do with cornerbacks wearing #5 and wide receivers wearing #1.