FanDuel - WFBC

May 03, 2006

What's in a Number?: I know this article is a couple days old but I just heard about it last night. Does every position really need its own numbering system? I'd love to have a referee chime in on this one and can I get a jersey with no number? The thought of it intrigues the collector in me.

posted by timdawg to football at 10:58 AM - 19 comments

According to the linked article QBs are supposed to wear numbers 1-19, and wide receivers numbers 80-89, but I know of at least one WR on the Steelers (Quincy Morgan) who wears #11. While I understand the concept of making sure officials can easily recognize a players position by number (for illegal man down field, etc.), it seems to me in the modern NFL players play multiple roles and that there is wiggle room. I mean, what's keeping the Saints from deisgnating Bush a QB, but playing him as a RB? However, precedent has been set when Edgerrin James made the same request, only a short time ago, and was denied. If the NFL is smart they will deny the request. Self-marketing be damned.

posted by scully at 11:19 AM on May 03

Although I'm not entirely sure, I think having each position restricted to certain numbers has helped officials keep track of which players are lined up where, and if the formations are legal. As an example, if a tight end was allowed to wear a number in the 60s or 70s, they may be confused as a player who is not an eligible receiver.

posted by dyams at 11:20 AM on May 03

The NFL is a bit archaic when it comes to these issues, PR be damned. I think it would be good PR to give Bush #5 because people are already gearing to buy his jerseys. However, it would also have been good PR to allow Plummer to continue to wear the Pat Tillman decal and to allow Nolan to wear a suit and tie on the sideline if he wanted. And, terrapins, WRs are also allowed to wear numbers 10-19, so Morgan isn't an exception.

posted by bperk at 11:26 AM on May 03

terrapin wrote: According to the linked article QBs are supposed to wear numbers 1-19, and wide receivers numbers 80-89, but I know of at least one WR on the Steelers (Quincy Morgan) who wears #11. From the linked article: The league has recently loosened its rules on wide receivers, reportedly due to the volume of retired numbers at the position combined with the number of players at that position.

posted by holden at 11:26 AM on May 03

Play by the same rules as everyone else has, Bush.

posted by mjkredliner at 12:47 PM on May 03

I understand how it makes it easier for an official to spot someone designated as an eligible receiver like a tight end but you would think guys with free roam ability (QB, WR, RB) would be allowed to wear anything not in the group of numbers dedicated to lineman i.e. anything from 1-49. LT threw what 4 TD passes last year? He's more a QB than anything on the Bears roster. Shouldn't he then have to wear a number under 20?

posted by timdawg at 12:52 PM on May 03

and Antwan Randle El should have pi written out to the 20th decimal point on his jersey. If the Saints are okay with Bush wearing #5, there shouldn't be a problem, especially considering he's (a) the franchise, and (b) kind of a utility guy anyways.

posted by chicobangs at 01:07 PM on May 03

Reggie can wear the number 5, as long as he makes it possible for me to live in a million dollar home for rent as low as an apartment.

posted by lightman at 01:13 PM on May 03

There should be a problem. The system isn't set up to restrict the choice of players -- it's set up to make things easier for the officials to tell who is eligible on a particular play or if lineman are downfield on a passing play. With the speed of the game, it's important for officials to have a visual cue as to which positional players are where on the field. As for the 15,000 pre-ordered jerseys, everybody likes Bush (Stephen Colbert excluded).

posted by wfrazerjr at 01:40 PM on May 03

it's set up to make things easier for the officials to tell who is eligible on a particular play or if lineman are downfield on a passing play - wfrazerjr But a RB is always eligible is he not? I can't think of any reason why he couldn't be downfield, except before a punt but only two guys are allowed to run at snap, so that's easy enough. Couldn't linemen be held from 50-79 (or whatever range) and everyone else grab something outside that range?

posted by timdawg at 01:56 PM on May 03

Oh, but then, confusion would ensue because officials would be calling roughing the passer (or punter) penalties every time Bush was tackled.

posted by bperk at 02:09 PM on May 03

I played tackle in football in high school offensive and defensive I beleive the numbers thing works out great My # was 70 by the way

posted by luther70 at 04:14 PM on May 03

But a RB is always eligible is he not? True, but this isn't just a case of a running back wanting the number "5." That's just in this situation. What the league is doing, whether it's necessary or not, is to avoid getting into the practice of letting ANY player come in and take whatever number they want. Pretty soon it will be some quarterback being unable to get the number "7" they want, and instead wanting "77." Once they allow it to happen, they set a precedent for all future players.

posted by dyams at 05:36 PM on May 03

Referee's have a hard enough time getting the calls right, give them a break. They need the # system. Final answer!!! Next we will get them all Eyes surgeries

posted by LonghornFaN at 06:52 PM on May 03

Hey if college officials can tell the difference between who's what number, then why can't the freakin pros officials do the same?

posted by chemwizBsquared at 08:19 PM on May 03

Hey if college officials can tell the difference between who's what number, then why can't the freakin pros officials do the same? Best point, by far

posted by sgtcookzane at 08:29 PM on May 03

Pretty soon it will be some quarterback being unable to get the number "7" they want, and instead wanting "77" y not just allow the # system to be less strict. they could just say 49 and under can be a RB instead of 49-20, that is retarded. and besides what idiot QB would wear the # 77

posted by dhump09 at 09:16 PM on May 03

I agree with dhump to a certain extent. The true need is to keep distinction between eligible and ineligible positions. So, OL, for instance would be restricted to 50-79 (the traditional numbers for C,G,and T) Any eligible can wear any other number, and as far as defenders goes, let them wear whatever they like....

posted by elovrich at 07:49 AM on May 04

Here's something so shocking I spit out my lunch on my boss's back: "The Associated Press reported Monday that Reebok has received a record 15,000 orders for New Orleans Saints jerseys with Bush's name on the back. That's more than double the number of jerseys the company had taken for last year's No. 1 pick, Alex Smith." Or not. Frankly I think the NFL gets called the No Fun League too often for Bush to get his way though if he does James should reapply for an exception as well. And then call Tagliabue and say "Enjoy the retirement, bi-atch!"

posted by billsaysthis at 03:07 PM on May 05

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