Editorial credit: Rosamar / Shutterstock.com
I am a big sports fan, and I was recently invited to a football game with one of my friends. I was tired, but my friend encouraged me to go and watch the game with him, saying that it would be an experience to watch the live game. I noticed all the numbers on the player’s jersey’s and noticed that none of the players had the number 0. Can NFL players wear 0?
The numbering on the jerseys of the NFL players 0 and 00 are no longer used by law due to a rule change in 1973. 0 and 00 were, however, used before this change in the regulation of numbers. Johnny Clement, Johnny Olszewski, and Obert Logan are all players who wore number 0 jerseys before.
My friend was right; I loved watching the game live and in action. I became curious about the NFL players, the numbers they wear on their jerseys, and what each number represents. I started researching why none of the NFL players wore a number 0 on their jerseys and thought to share what I learned as I know other people have the same question.
Can NFL Player Wear 0?
The sporting regulations act of 1973 states that the number 0 is no longer a legal number for any player to wear in NFL. 0 was used for NFL players before this rule change. These players included Johnny Clement, Johnny Olszewski, and Obert Logan. They all were allowed to wear the number 0 on the jerseys before the rule change in 1973.
Numbers Used In NFL, And What Each Number Represents?
Each number used in NFL identifies the different players and the positions that they play. Here are the numbers used in the NFL and the positions of the players that they represent.
- 1-19 Quarterbacks.
- 1-49 and 80-89 Running backs.
- 1-49 and 80-89 Wide receivers.
- 1-49 and 80-89 Tight ends.
- 50-79 Offensive line.
- 50-79 and 90-99 Defensive line. (linebackers and defensive linemen wear 90-99)
- 1-59 and 90-99 Linebackers. (linebackers and centers wear 50-59)
- 1-49 and 60-79 Defensive backs.
- 1-19 Kickers.
- 1-19 Punters.
- 60-79 Tackles or nose guard.
The rule currently states that in all three prominent levels of football (high school, college, and professional), the players are given the numbers mentioned above to ensure their positions are easily identifiable. All players must wear jerseys with a number from 1-99 on them. Each number used by NFL players identifies a different position that the player is playing.
The no. 2 players of the same team are allowed to wear the same number on the field during a game simultaneously.
The sporting regulations prohibit players that use the numbers from 50-79 from catching or touching forward passes. Suppose their teammates are in possession of the football ball. In that case, they may not line up in a position allowing the players wearing any of these numbers to do so unless the action was indicated to the referee during a tackle-eligible play movement.
Other regulations state that the correspondence between the players’ jersey numbers and the player positions is a matter of style, tradition, and semantics.
Why Is 0 Allowed For College Football But Not For NFL?
The football regulations act of 1973 ruled no players in NFL are allowed to wear 0 or 00 on their jerseys have amended this rule for college football. In 2020 the regulation for college football was changed so players can play the game while wearing the number 0. The rule does, however, still apply to high school and NFL football players
The rule change happened due to a recommendation by the committee of the NCAA in February of 2020 and was approved by April of the same year. According to the NCAA national coordinator, Steve Shaw, there is a desire among college football players to wear single digits on their jerseys.
They anticipate that there will be a lot of excitement about who will be first to wear the number zero in their institution. Many students feel honored when they are allowed to wear 0 on their jerseys, and they revel in the experience.
It was mentioned that this was one of the reasons to fuel the changes made to the regulations to allow for the regulations for college football to allow once again the use of 0 for the players of college football.
Change Is In The Air
The rule change of 2021 that allows college football to use the number zero for players has opened up many new numbering possibilities for all the other football players. In the past, there was not a lot of leeway for teams when it came to choosing player numbers.
They had to choose a number that corresponded with their position. The new rule that allows college players to wear the number 0 opens the door to other rule amendments in the future. These amendments are needed as certain teams are running out of numbers to give their players.
The proposal to loosen the rules and allow players in the NFL to wear a wider variety of numbers came about when the pandemic hit, and many teams were allowed to have larger practice squads. That was all fine, but the bigger teams meant more numbers, and it quickly dug into the suitable and available numbers.
When the proposal was given a chance, many teams jumped at the opportunity to retire a few numbers. Teams like Kansas City Chiefs have retired 10 numbers. They say players like the flexibility and think it’s fun to wear single-digit numbers.
The sporting rules and regulations act of 1973 states that 0 is not allowed to be used by NFL players. However, before 1973, the use of 0 was allowed for NFL players. This ruling applied to all football players, professional and non-professional players.
The rules and regulations were recently changed, allowing for players of college football to wear 0 on their jerseys, but it’s still not allowed for NFL players. Some other new rules also allowed more flexibility in number choices as teams were forced to use more numbers when they had larger practice squads.