The expansion of players’ jersey number options highlights the alterations that have been approved heading into the 2021 season.
As the 2021 NFL offseason continues, the league has approved a number of rules and bylaws that will go into effect for the upcoming year.
A look at the playing rules and bylaws passed by NFL owners today pic.twitter.com/nOdA6k2QHg
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 21, 2021
For one, overtime will no longer exist during the preseason, a period of time that’s been shortened to three games amid the regular season’s expansion to 17 matchups. This type of change protects the players in the sense that it minimizes the risk of injury during meaningless games.
The NFL, during the 2021 campaign, will also be trying out a new rule that maximizes the number of guys in the setup zone — the area within 25 yards of the kicking spot — on onside kicks. This change could make it easier for the kicking team to recover onside kick attempts (of course, with the elimination of the running head start from the kicking team, recovering onside kicks has been an extremely difficult task in recent years).
But the rule change that definitely stands out is No. 7 on the above list — the expansion of jersey number options for specific positions.
More players will now be able to rock single-digit jerseys. Prior to the rule change, running backs were only allowed anything from No. 20-49 — that will no longer be the case starting in 2021.
Here are the new jersey number distributions, according to Albert Breer of the Monday Morning Quarterback:
Quarterback, punter, placekicker: No. 1-19
Running back, tight end, wide receiver: No. 1-49, 80-89
Defensive back: 1-49
Linebacker: 1-59, 90-99
Offensive lineman: 50-79
Defensive lineman: 50-79, 90-99