Patriots Unique Numberless Practice Jersey Approach Not Really That Unique

In a Monday story by Mike Reiss of, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is praised for his “unique” coaching style of not having his players wear numbers this year on their practice jerseys. In fact, Reiss goes out of his way to point out that the Patriots are currently the only team in the league that have had OTA practices so far this season to that.

Reiss’ praise of Belichick’s “unique” approach was quickly caught and called out on Twitter by the always studious Bob Labriola of Steelers Digest.

As you can see, Labriola smartly points out that Steelers Hall of Fame coach Chuck Noll only beat Belichick to the punch by 45 years. If you want a good Monday read, check out this piece that was penned by Chad Millman for ESPN back in September of 2010 which talks about Noll’s first training camp as the Steelers head coach back in 1969.

Here is an excerpt:

That training camp was about setting a foundation. Players got the message when they received their practice jerseys: None had numbers. They were black and they were gold. Talent, not seniority, would rule the day. But Noll still treated his team like a Pee Wee squad. He taught blocking and tackling and three-point stances. He stood next to players like Russell, a Pro Bowler, and said, “I want your right foot two inches outside of your opponent’s foot. I want you to reach with your right hand.”

So there you go, perhaps Reiss should rethink just how unique Belichick’s numberless player system really is. The Emperor was the one who came up with this “unique” approach.


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