Tom Brady is wrong that new NFL number rule will lead to “bad football”

Tom Brady, Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Tom Brady, Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Tom Brady isn’t a fan of the new NFL number rule.

The new NFL number rule looks like loosening up of the often too rigid league rules on paper. The nickname for the NFL is “No Fun League,” which was obviously attributed to many of the questionable regulations that are enforced strictly for little reason. As the league has pulled back in recent weeks, Tom Brady isn’t happy with the most recent change.

After several years of fans and players calling for the league to loosen up the number regulations, the NFL has finally allowed players to choose almost any number they want. There are still some rules in place, but the opportunities for most players are far more numerous than before.

Fans and players have grown used to the NFL’s rules on positional numbers, but that doesn’t mean that this is the only way that football is played. Sure, there are some numbers that fit certain positions better than others from a historical precedent, but college football is a testament  to the fact that Tom Brady’s misgivings on Instagram could be an overreaction.

Tom Brady is overreacting

Brady warns that this change will lead to “bad” football, but most people wouldn’t classify college football as bad. The number rules at the college level are far less strict than those at the NFL, yet players rarely look like they are struggling to figure out who to block.

In addition to the college game poking some holes in Brady’s argument, the modern NFL is making it harder to keep a player in one of the categories from a position standpoint. A defensive player can line up in the box for one snap, move back out wide in man coverage on the next, and then play the third snap in a deep zone. A wide receiver can line up out wide on one play and then run the ball up the middle on the next. Brady saw this first-hand with Cordarrelle Patterson.

As it gets harder to classify players in one position, that is what will actually make it harder to figure out who to block, not a number on the front of the jersey.

With all of the film study these guys go through and how thorough they prepare for the games, leaving a 250-pound player in the middle of the defense unblocked because he is number 23 seems far-fetched.

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There could be a learning curve attached to this change, especially for the guys that have been in the league as long as Brady, but this take is likely only a massive overreaction.

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