Buccaneers’ Tom Brady slams new NFL jersey rule again


Tom Brady hasn’t changed his stance on the NFL’s revised jersey rule.

Five months after the Buccaneers quarterback slammed the rule that allows players to change their jersey number based on their position, Brady called the revisions “very unnecessary” and “crazy” in a new interview.

“Literally, the guys changed their numbers today,” Brady recently voiced to the Tampa Bay Timesnoting, “I’m playing against two guys who had different numbers in pre-season.”

“There’s a reason you do everything in football,” Brady said. “And you study hard to put yourself in a good position. Now you come to the game, and you’re going to be confused the whole time because you’re changing what a D lineman looked like versus a linebacker or this is what a safety looks like. Very unnecessary.

In April, NFL owners passed a proposal, originally made by the Chiefs, to loosen restrictions on available numbers. The change allows defensive backs to choose any jersey number from 1-49, while running backs, fullbacks, tight ends, halfbacks and wide receivers can choose between 1-49 and 80-89. Linebackers can now wear numbers 1-59 and 90-99.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady
Justin Rex/AP

But the rule does not include any changes for quarterbacks, kickers and punters.

Brady went on to explain how the jersey rule change affected his preparation ahead of Tampa Bay’s season opener at home against the Cowboys on Sept. 9.

“So, yeah, you have to watch a movie and know who you’re studying, but so do running backs,” Brady said. “They need to know who to block. The offensive line too. So [do] receivers who adjust their routes based on blitzes. So one guy has a 6, another an 11, another a 9. And they change every game when you break your routes and get to your spot. It’s going to be a very difficult thing. It’s a good advantage for the defense, that’s what it is.

“It would be like saying, ‘What if I let the offensive linemen wear the 82 and the No. 9? They wouldn’t know who was eligible. Well that’s not fair. You’re going to get your tail kicked. At least identify who the D line, linebackers and safeties are. You’re going to have a lot of matchups where guys are blocking bad guys. I don’t know why that should be.

Some Dallas players took advantage of the rule change, including linebackers Jaylon Smith (#54 to #9) and Micah Parsons (who picked No. 11 after the draft) and cornerback Trevon Diggs (# 27 to No. 7).

Brady, entering his 21st season in the NFL, explained why his opinion should matter and be heard by the league.

“I have a lot of things in perspective,” he said. “You know, like there are certain things that frustrate me and I go, ‘Well, that’s something I should talk about. Things related to professional football, unions. And I’ve been there for 20 years to watch and I’m like, ‘Is it better or worse?’ And when I feel like it’s getting worse, I say, ‘What do we do? That’s not the point of the game.’

Tom Brady called the NFL jersey change "very unnecessary."
Tom Brady called the NFL jersey change “very unnecessary”.
Eric Christian Smith/AP

“But there are people who make decisions who don’t have the same point of view. Not that mine is always right, but at least I also want to feel like my point of view is heard. Because some of them are made just for the sake of making them.

In April, Brady called the new structure “dumb” in a number of posts on his Instagram Story.

“Good luck trying to block the right people now. It’s going to be a lot of bad football,” the seven-time Super Bowl champion said at the time.

The Buccaneers quarterback has never lost to the Cowboys in his career. But his record after the NFL implemented the jersey rule obviously remains to be seen.

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