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Jersey number restrictions eased, among NFL rule changes

Number sacrifice! Linebackers and receivers wearing single-digits! Mass hysteria!

Wild Card Round - Indianapolis Colts v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

Jersey aficionados, diva receivers, and anyone generally in favor of seeing more joyous nonsense in what is an entertainment product, rejoice — The NFL is lifting (some) jersey number restrictions!

On Wednesday, in a press release of several rules being shifted at once, the league announced that certain positional restrictions on jersey numbers will be eased. While offensive and defensive lineman are still limited to 50-79, and 50-79 and 90-99, respectively (BOO!), skill position players — meaning running backs, tight ends, linebackers, receivers, and defensive backs — now have greater flexibility with the numbers worn on their backs.

The new range of choices for (most) positions is as follows:

  • Defensive backs: No. 1-49
  • RB, FB, TE, HB, WR: No. 1-49, 80-89
  • Offensive linemen: 50-79
  • Defensive lineman: 50-79, 90-99
  • Linebackers: 1-59, 90-99

Ever wanted to see a Roquan Smith-type wear No. 92? How about Derrick Henry rocking a No. 81? You might get your chance, and you should celebrate! Even if, yes, the NFL continues to disappointingly discriminate against 300-pound men wearing single-digit numbers, much to the chagrin of yours truly, this is a legitimate sign of progress.

One day, the dream might be realized. And when it comes, it’ll be cathartic. For now, revel in 250-pound superfreak halfbacks rocking a good old No. 7.

Oh yeah, other rule changes were announced, too.

You can read those here, or whatever.

Allen Robinson wearing No. 52? Complete bananas!