The NFL owners held a virtual meeting on Wednesday with several items up for a vote. One very interesting rule change submission concerning uniform numbers did pass during the session.
Owners voted in favor of now allowing certain positions to wear numbers in the single digits. Included in the group that can now wear single digit numbers are defensive backs, linebackers, running backs, fullbacks, tight ends, H-backs, and wide receivers. Defensive backs and linebackers are also now permitted to wear any number from 1 to 49. Running backs, fullbacks, tight ends, H-backs, and wide receivers can now wear any number from 1 to 49 and 80 to 89.
The rules concerning the uniform number for quarterbacks, punters and kickers will not change, however, as they still must wear jersey numbers between 1 and 19, while linemen will continue to wear 50 to 79. Previously restricted to just centers, all offensive linemen can wear numbers in the 50s, now. Defensive linemen and linebackers also have the option to wear 90 to 99.
This particular rule change submission regarding jersey numbers came courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Will we now see any current Steelers players take advantage of the new uniform number rule? If we do, it isn’t likely to be very many. More than anything, we could see some Steelers rookies, especially skill position players that are drafted, go the single digit route if a number they want isn’t already spoken for.
The only single digit numbers not currently spoken for when it comes to the Steelers are 1, 3 and 6. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins seems set to grab No. 3, however.
Below is the complete news release concerning the Approved 2021 Playing Rules and Bylaws.
2021 Approved Playing Rules and Bylaws