Fri, 07 May 2021

NFL approves jersey number expansion, other 2021 rule changes

New England Patriots
22 Apr 2021, 20:34 GMT+10

Mike Dussault

The Patriots haven't listed the number choices of their free agents yet and now the newly signed will have some more choices to consider as the NFL approved the Chiefs' number expansion proposal today, along with six other new rules that will be put into place for the coming season.

The numbers will now be broken down as follows:

QB/P/K: 1-19 RB: 1-49, 80-89 TE/FB: 1-49, 80-89 WR: 10-19, 80-89 OL: 50-79 DL: 50-79, 90-99 LB: 1-59, 90-99 DB: 1-49

With Josh Uche taking over 53 last season, Kyle Van Noy could now consider returning to his college number, maybe after a call to old teammate Stephen Gostkowski? No. 2 and 5 are also currently available to some new position groups, but the single digits are just a small part of the number expansion that could now see a running back in the 80s or a linebacker in the 20s.

It might be hard to keep track of at first but it will give the players a lot more to choose from.

Other rules to pass include the elimination of overtime in the preseason, the establishment of a maximum number of players allowed in the set-up zone for onsides kicks and enhanced communication between the replay and on-field officials.

The Rams proposal to add a loss of down to the five-yard illegal forward pass penalty was okayed, along with the Bears' proposal to ensure the enforcement of penalties on successive extra point attempts.

The Ravens' proposal to change the rules of overtime to a "spot-and-choose" format was tabled, as was the Eagles' proposal to allow teams twice per game to choose a 4th-and-15 option instead of an onsides kick. Changes to overtime or onsides kicks are likely to be again considered next offseason.

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