FanDuel - WFBC

May 23, 2006

The No-Fun NFL strikes again: Reggie Bush was denied his request to wear his college number, No. 5, in the pros because the NFL mandates that running backs wear numbers between 20-49 and the competition committee said no to his petition in a ruling this week. Numerous columnists, most notably SI's Peter King, have called this rule silly but it doesn't matter for Bush because he was still denied, even though he was planning to use the proceeds from the sale of his No. 5 jersey to raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims on the Gulf Coast. Just another move by the NFL that makes no sense at all.

posted by donnnnychris to football at 09:13 PM - 43 comments

It's a long standing policy. It's great that he wants to donate proceeds of his jersey and all, but if he does it, then they have to let everyone do it.

posted by jerseygirl at 09:19 PM on May 23

I think being so firm and direct is one of the secrets to the NFL's success. There isn't alot of gray area when it comes to NFL policy and procedure.

posted by PGHTOS at 09:35 PM on May 23

There not doing this to spoil the players fan there doing this so its easier for a ref to see if its ineligible reciever or somrthing like that cause what would happen if an O-Line guy wore #80-89 it would be a lot harder to know if hes ineligible

posted by houston2006 at 09:41 PM on May 23

The move makes sense to me. It doesn't relate to labor issues or money or safety, so why change things up for a player who hasn't even agreed to a contract yet? I think it's great that Bush will donate a quarter of his take on jersey sales to New Orlean's recovery even though his request was denied. Still, I can't help but think it was a PR move to begin with. I can't fault him for trying, though.

posted by forrestv at 09:41 PM on May 23

good point houston. the refs have enough to worry about. (Steeler Fan)

posted by PGHTOS at 09:43 PM on May 23

As for the problems with the refs, why don't college refs have this problem. It really is the no fun league. These damn executives are a bunch of old, white men who do not have the faintest clue about modern culture.(By the way I'm a white guy, just not old yet. I'll still be cool for at least five more min.)

posted by Fade222 at 09:48 PM on May 23

Maybe they should make him the third quarterback, then he could (I think) wear his old number. Kind of like when Brian Mitchell played in Philly, though I don't remember what number B-Mitch wore.

posted by GoBirds at 09:52 PM on May 23

To say that officaiting would be more difficult of this is absurd. The only numbering restriction that is required is that players who line up in none-eligible postion wear number 50-79. If a player wearing one of these numbers lines up in an eligible position, they must chek in with the referee prior to each play in which they do so.

posted by elovrich at 10:07 PM on May 23

These damn executives are a bunch of old, white men who do not have the faintest clue about modern culture. Modern culture dictates that running backs use non-traditional jersey numbers?

posted by rcade at 10:57 PM on May 23

Horseshit. If Bush wants to give money to Katrina victims - and he very well may regardless of what happens - the number on his jersey is moot. Give 'em 10% of your signing bonus, Reg.

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:15 PM on May 23

Bush ought to spend less time worrying about havin' MORE rules bent for him and worrying more about earning his keep with his new employer. What makes him special? Abide by the rules, rookie. And if people are lining up to buy his jersey, then I would think it's for the name and not the number. He's not the only Heisman winner who's had to change his jersey number upon entrance to the NFL. see Flutie, Doug, and I'd bet there are others.

posted by mjkredliner at 12:26 AM on May 24

The argument that refs need this to figure out who's eligible is ridiculous. Elovrich got it right with that one because the only ineligible numbers are 50-79. And by the way, Keyshawn Johnson was allowed to wear 19 out of college before that was allowed for wide receivers, so the NFL has made an exception before. This is just a ridiculous ruling.

posted by donnnnychris at 12:27 AM on May 24

By the way, if fun means having your socks pulled down, and your jersey untucked, and wearing enough towels to be mistaken for a linen closet, and being overly theatric when you score a touchdown, then I agree with the owners that that was just to much fun.

posted by mjkredliner at 12:45 AM on May 24

50-79, 5-10, 1st and whatever... Not that they need it, but come on. Do we realy need them huddled hup in the middle of a game for another reason. I say do away with the numbers and just abb. the positions on the jerseys.

posted by PGHTOS at 01:14 AM on May 24

It doesn't matter if the refs would or would not have a harder time. The method of numbering in the NFL is a tradition of many years. If it gets changed then it had damn well be for a better reason then that a new prima-dona rookie wants his "lucky number" on his back.

posted by commander cody at 01:15 AM on May 24

It is what it is. Whatever number he settles on will sell just fine, and the Katrina fund will get theirs. It's too bad for Bush, but only on a sentimental level. In two years his #25 (or whatever) will be on every kid's back from Lake Charles to Mobile. It won't really matter.

posted by chicobangs at 01:36 AM on May 24

modern culture dictates in this situation, a player with a national following wants to donate profits from his jersey sales. strict dogmatic evaluation of out of date rules dictate he cannot do it in the most effective way possible. please show me the up-side of that.

posted by Fade222 at 02:09 AM on May 24

Since the exception has been made in the past (Keyshawn) and ALL rules evolve over time (2-point conversion try). There is no significant reason to not just scrap the numbering for eligibles, aside from restricting them from 50-79, other than the fact that the NFL does not want to seem like it was pressured into doing so by a rookie. Unfortunately, this is likely the very reason why it was disallowed in this instance and I would not be surprised if the rule was changed in the next few years, at the leagues convenience, with the statement that it is to reflect the number of players now filling multiple roles (or some other ridiculous excuse).

posted by elovrich at 02:35 AM on May 24

strict dogmatic evaluation of out of date rules dictate he cannot do it in the most effective way possible Wow, Fade222. Crank that melodrama to eleven. I didn't realize the actual number 5 was so necessary to the whole jersey sales thing, and that you're implying he'll never sell a jersey with whatever number he actually winds up wearing in games. I also didn't realize the Saints were somehow forbidden from selling charity jerseys with the number 5 on them, even if Bush doesn't wear that number in games. They can just not use #5 this year at all, and save it for public sale and charity use. (I seriously doubt the NFL would forbid that.) In fact, the more I think about it, the actual rule the NFL is citing could be made completely secondary to the cause of charity sales, unless Reggie Bush's sentimentality is getting the better of him. As it is, he asked, they said no, and there are other, better, solutions to this tempest in a teapot. Please show me the down side of this.

posted by chicobangs at 02:36 AM on May 24

modern culture dictates in this situation, a player with a national following wants to donate profits from his jersey sales. Modern culture dictates? Oh yeah?

posted by jerseygirl at 06:25 AM on May 24

modern culture dictates in this situation, a player with a national following wants to donate profits from his jersey sales. The charity thing is silly. He's giving the money anyway, regardless of number, because to do otherwise would make him look terrible. I don't see a reason why Bush shouldn't get to wear 5, but I refuse to have a strong opinion about this.

posted by rcade at 07:03 AM on May 24

I understand that he wants to rock his old number, but that shouldn't be a reason to donate money to a serious cause.I think he should donate money for whatever number he wears just for making that comment initially

posted by meatsfactor at 08:19 AM on May 24

Wide receiver Kevin McMahan (this year's Mr. Irrelevant) also wore #5 in college. Under NFL rules, he can't wear that number either. I'm not saying he's in Bush's league talent-wise, but if he had petitioned the NFL like Bush, I doubt anyone but his mom would have his back. We'd probably all ridicule him. Why? Because he's a rookie and hasn't proved anything yet in the NFL. Last time I checked, the same could be said of Bush.

posted by forrestv at 08:20 AM on May 24

The numbers rules do actually apply to every position. WR's are required to wear 80-89 IF ONE IS AVAILABLE. If not, then they may go to 10-20 for their number. The reason is because teams started retiring numbers from 80-89 and this caused conflict so the rule was ammended. This is not only for the refs to make the calls easier, it's also to make the players more identifiable to the fan. I forget when and where I read about the numbering rules, but I remember it clearly.

posted by Ricardo at 08:20 AM on May 24

actually found this on a steelers fan site 1973: A jersey numbering system was adopted, April 5: 1-19 for quarterbacks and specialists, 20-49 for running backs and defensive backs, 50-59 for centers and linebackers, 60-79 for defensive linemen and interior offensive linemen other than centers, and 80-89 for wide receivers and tight ends. Players who had been in the NFL in 1972 could continue to use old numbers. HERE is the URL.

posted by Ricardo at 08:23 AM on May 24

I understand why the NFL would reject this, but I still think their policy needs to be reconsidered. What I don't understand is why folks are criticizing Bush for this (e.g., telling him to follow the rules or calling him a prima donna). He is following the rules. He made a request for an exemption that got turned down and now he will wear a different number. What's the harm in asking? I don't see how it makes him a prima donna.

posted by bperk at 08:35 AM on May 24

They denied Edgerrin James when he petitioned coming into the league. Why is Bush more special? He should be denied, that would send the wrong kind of message. The rules are the rules if they wouldn't do it for Edge then they should not do it for Bush.

posted by T.C. at 08:39 AM on May 24

P.S. I do agree with bperk though he Bush did it the right way. He was well within his rights to ask. He should not be faulted for that

posted by T.C. at 08:40 AM on May 24

On the other side of the line, Brian Bosworth went ballistic when they denied his petition to wear 44, his college number at Oklahoma. He had established a corporation called 44-Boz Inc. and argued the economic impact would hurt his corp. He even obtained a court order against the NFL to wear 44 instead of 55. I guess if Bush wants to sue the NFL he may have a case. Wouldn't do much for his image though.

posted by bluesdog at 09:30 AM on May 24

I think the NFL should make every player wear a tuxedo with a nice corsage. Then take their picture wearing the tux and corsage and silk screen it on their uniform. VOILA! Solves the problem right there. We don't need no stinking numbers.

posted by Desert Dog at 10:15 AM on May 24

I think rcade is right. This should be a non-issue. The only numbers that really matter are the ineligibles. If Bush wore # 5, does anyone really think that it would be confusing? Everyone on his offense, the opposing defense and the officiating crew would damned sure know who # 5 was. On the other hand, the only reason for the NFL to allow it is because a rook who's never played a pro down wants it out of sentiment. The shirt proceeds aren't a factor because he's going to sell a boatload of them no matter what number he ends up with. The NFL has the right to maintain the present structure, but it probably wouldn't have hurt them to allow the change either. Does it really matter?

posted by ctal1999 at 10:33 AM on May 24

The numbers rule is for conformity while players want to be seen as individual and different. I don't see why the NFL would be so afraid of individuality. Then again if they scrapped the rule the wierd numbers(odd numbers?) would be the norm. Couldn't the saints list Bush as a QB(he threw a few passes at USC right?) or a "specialist" and skirt the rule.

posted by tron7 at 11:20 AM on May 24

I also read where Reggie was going to donate the 25% regardless. This makes him come out smelling like roses (and why not, he did nothing wrong by asking and not complaining when ruled against).

posted by Ricardo at 11:34 AM on May 24

The NFL is all about the league makes the players not the players make the league. Two other like events 1)Peyton Manning wanting to wear black hightops to honor Unitas and 2)Jake Plummer and the wearing of Pat Tillman's number on his helmet longer than the one-day tribute the NFL had decided on. In both cases the players were told no. This is also the same league who fines players for being out of team uniform on Sundays (like wrong socks, shoe color, etc).

posted by jwhite613 at 12:10 PM on May 24

If the numbers are there for the convenience of the officials, why not make eligible receivers wear an alternate color helmet? Isn't this what is done in soccer for the goalkeeper's jersey? By doing this, you could eliminate the silly rule requiring linemen to report to the referee that they are eligible. Adopt this rule, and the players can wear whatever number they like.

posted by Howard_T at 12:35 PM on May 24

This is not 'Nam. There are rules.

posted by cl at 12:35 PM on May 24

Run the damn ball! Catch the damn ball and do it all in any number you get. You're in the NFL. Be grateful you have a number, period. Players want to be "individuals" well...you're an employee and there's rules. Grow up.

posted by ravenhater at 02:19 PM on May 24

actually found this on a steelers fan site 1973: A jersey numbering system was adopted, April 5: 1-19 for quarterbacks and specialists, 20-49 for running backs and defensive backs, 50-59 for centers and linebackers, 60-79 for defensive linemen and interior offensive linemen other than centers, and 80-89 for wide receivers and tight ends. Players who had been in the NFL in 1972 could continue to use old numbers. This is confusing to me and maybe you guys can help me out. Todd Christensen that played with the Raiders in the late 1980's was a TE and wore number 49. But according to the NFL this was not allowed. Was I smokin' some good weed back than or did they(NFL)make an exception??

posted by ChunkyMonkey1971 at 02:21 PM on May 24

If #5 is that important to him let him go play in the CFL. Maybe him and Ricky Williams can be teammates. Also he could try NFL-Europe or Arena League Football.

posted by jwhite613 at 02:26 PM on May 24

I think Christensen started his career as a fullback...

posted by ajaffe at 03:09 PM on May 24

I don't know why he wants #5 anyway, just mark it zero!

posted by tron7 at 03:13 PM on May 24

I think Christensen started his career as a fullback... Reggie Bush wants to grow that mustache, he can wear whatever # he wants. Maybe. Didn't actually work for Jake Plummer.

posted by yerfatma at 06:53 PM on May 24

Anyone remember Kordell Stewart #10? Let's see quarterback, wide receiver, etc. by the way Bush can pass!

posted by Deemer25 at 11:44 PM on May 24

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