- The NFL is allowing players to wear a wider range of jersey numbers this year.
- Tom Brady is not happy with the new rule, calling it “crazy.”
- “It’s going to be a very challenging thing,” Brady said of the new rule.
Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ready to defend their Super Bowl title in the coming NFL season.
But with kickoff just days away, there is one new NFL rule that Brady has an issue with: defenders now have more freedom in which numbers they are allowed to wear.
In April, the NFL announced that the league would loosen restrictions on what numbers different positions were eligible to wear. Now, more players are eligible to wear popular numbers, such as single-digits.
—The Athletic (@TheAthletic) April 21, 2021
When the rule was first announced, Brady didn’t hold back his feelings, calling the change “DUMB” in a post on Instagram.
This week, Brady expanded on his problems with the rule while speaking with the Tampa Bay Times.
“The number rule is crazy,” Brady said. “Literally, guys changed their numbers today. I’m playing two guys who had different numbers in the preseason. So, yeah, you’ve got to watch film and know who you’re studying but so do running backs. They’ve got to know who to block. So does the offensive line. So do the receivers who are adjusting their routes based on blitzes.
“It’s going to be a very challenging thing. It’s a good advantage for the defense, which that’s what it is.”
Brady believes that the rule could lead to some bad missed blocks to start the season.
“It would be like saying, ‘What if I let the offensive linemen wear 82 and No. 9?’ Brady said. “They wouldn’t know who was eligible. Well, that’s not fair. You’ll get your tail kicked. At least identify who the D-line, the linebackers, and the safeties are. You’re going to have a lot of matchups where guys are blocking the wrong guys.”
Brady and the Buccaneers will have their first test against the new rule when they open their season on Thursday night against the Dallas Cowboys. Several Cowboys defenders have switched numbers just ahead of the season, including cornerback Trevor Diggs (No. 27 – No. 7) and linebacker Jabril Cox (No. 48 – No. 14).
The switches on the Cowboys should leave Brady with a bit of extra homework before Thursday night’s kickoff, but with seven Super Bowl rings to his name already, few players are more up to the task.