Tom Brady immediately expressed opposition to the NFL’s new rules regarding jersey number eligibility when the change was approved back in April, and the seven-time Super Bowl champion still seems fired up about it.
The new rule, which was proposed by the Kansas City Chiefs, expands the number of players who are eligible to wear single-digit numbers. Brady thinks that will be hugely problematic for offenses because defensive backs can now wear numbers from 1-49 while linebackers can wear numbers between 1-59 and 90-99. In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times that was published on Tuesday, Brady explained how the disadvantage for the offense will be felt immediately when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night.
“Literally, guys changed their numbers today. I’m playing two guys who had different numbers in the preseason,” Brady said. “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 does the receivers who are adjusting their routes based on blitzes.
“So one guys has got a 6, one guy has 11, one guy has got a 9. And they change every play when you break your routes and get to your spot. It’s going to be a very challenging thing. It’s a good advantage for the defense, which that’s what it is.”
Brady compared the new rules to allowing an offensive lineman wear numbers in the 80s or single digits, as you would not be able to tell who is an eligible receiver. He envisions a lot of situations where offensive players end up blocking the wrong defender.
“There’s a reason why you do every single thing in football,” Brady said. “And you study hard so you can put yourself in a good position. Now you get to the game, and you’re going to be confused the whole time because you’re rotating what a D-lineman used to look like versus a linebacker or here is what a safety looks like. Very pointless.”
Offenses will adjust, but you can understand why Brady and others are frustrated.