Monday, October 3, 2011

NFL – Uniform Numbers

In the NFL the numbers that are worn on the shirts dictate what designated position that particular player can play and what his role is within the team and where he is allowed to go on the field. The current system was instituted into the league on April 5, 1973, as a means for fans and officials (referees, linesmen) to more easily identify players on the field by their position.

At the time of that change there were players who were out of sync with the numbering system based on their names but so as not to cause mass confusion they were allowed to continue with their numbers. Obviously as time rolled on those players retired and now all players have to conform to the numbering protocol detailed here. Fans of football betting should remember this.

Quarterbacks, Placekickers and Punters: 1–19

 Wide Receivers: 10–19 and 80–89

 Running Backs and Defensive Backs: 20–49

 Offensive Linemen: 50–79

 Linebackers: 50–59 and 90–99, or 40–49 if all are taken

 Defensive Linemen: 50–79 and 90–99

 Tight Ends: 80–89, or 40–49

There are some exceptions to these rules though,  such as prior to 2004, wide receivers only wore numbers 10-19, but with the explosion in the NFL of a more offensively based game and more wide receivers in the game, they had to expand the number selection to include numbers 80-89. Prior to that, players were allowed to wear non-standard numbers only if their team had run out of numbers within the prescribed number range. People placing NFL bets need to bear this in mind.

One of the biggest advantages in the standardisation of numbers is that it can aid officials in spotting certain penalties, such as "illegal formation" or "ineligible receiver", usually only offensive players with numbers 1–49 and 80–89 are allowed to play at the end or back positions or handle the ball in normal game situations.

It should be remembered that the NFL numbering system is based on the player’s principal position in the team even though they may on occasions if reporting the fact to the referee play in other positions should the game situation demand it.

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