Patriots Players Could Make Uniform Change With New Rule

Getty Donta Hightower

Expect to see several New England Patriots players with different jersey numbers in 2021 after the NFL passes a new rule.

Thanks to the Kansas City Chiefs ownership proposals, it appears the NFL will be loosening the restrictions on player uniform numbers in 2021. NFL Update tweeted the likely new parameters.

As you can see, things haven’t changed for quarterbacks, kickers, punters, and linemen. However, we could be looking at a whole new world for running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, defensive backs, and linebackers.

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Something tells me we’ll see many guys choosing to go back to their college number, if possible, or perhaps some variation of it.

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Patriots Players are Already Openly Discussing a Jersey Number Change

Kyle Van Noy is returning to the Patriots after playing for the Miami Dolphins in 2020. It hasn’t taken Van Noy long to reconnect with teammates, and to even discuss squashing a beef with Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, whom he trash-talked with last season.

Van Noy took to Twitter shortly after NFL Update’s tweet, and he started reminiscing about his days in college wearing the No. 3.

GettyKyle Van Noy rocking the BYU No. 3

Van Noy also spoke with Patriots running back James White about the possibility of making a switch.

White playfully considered getting in on the action and Van Noy engaged in more conversation.

White remembered his choice would be No. 7, but it is already taken by Patriots all-world punter Jake Bailey.

Van Noy and White are likely just two of the players who might consider making this kind of change in 2021.


Why This Makes Sense for the NFL

Trying to fit every wide receiver in the NFL into one of 20 numbers had become a bit much. Perhaps more importantly, teams like the Chicago Bears with a ton of retired numbers are running out of options. Opening up the single digits should help to alleviate some pressure.

It’s also nice to see players continue to wear the numbers they wore in college when most football fans got their first glimpse of them on the gridiron. The familiarity factor is a subtle one but still a positive.

Lastly, and perhaps most notably from the NFL’s standpoint, is money. If a ton of players, especially stars like the Tennessee Titans’ Derrick Henry, go back to their college jersey numbers, it should result in a spike in jersey purchases.

If for no other reason than increasing revenue, you’d think the NFL would be all-in on something like this for the 2021 season. When you consider the league reportedly saw its revenue drop from $16 billion in 2019 to $12 billion in 2020 because of a lack of fans in the stadiums, it figures this would be the year the NFL decides to tap into this potential resource.

With players seemingly embracing the idea, and fans likely to be onboard, It sounds like a win for everyone involved.


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