Centers previously had to choose numbers between 50 and 59, with 60 to 79 available if 50 to 59 weren't available. They now may choose any number between 50 and 79.The NFL originally experimented with assigning numbers by position in 1952, formally codifying the system in 1973 and amending it in 1989.
Defensive linemen may now choose from 60 to 70 and 90 to 99, and linebackers may pick a number from 50 to 59 or 90 to 99. These changes were aimed at recognizing the overlap between linebackers and defensive ends, especially in the 3-4 defense.
Also, the rules now permit a player to move from one position to another and keep his number, if he played the prior position for at least a year and if he is moving from a position that is eligible to receive passes to another eligible position, or if he is moving from one ineligible position to another ineligible position.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Massaging the Numbers
Lost in the changes to the NFL's postseason overtime rules, announced last month, was a change to the League's player numbering system.