Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is perhaps the most outspoken opponent of the NFL’s jersey number rule for this season.
His old nemesis Peyton Manning, seemed to feel differently, at least at first.
During Monday night’s alternate broadcast of the game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Baltimore Ravens featuring the Manning brothers, Peyton referenced Brady’s disdain for the rule.
“I know Brady doesn’t like single-digit linebackers, but Tom, that’s here to stay,” Peyton said.
Linebackers can wear jersey numbers between 1-59 and 90-99 under the new rule. Previously, linebackers were confined to numbers 40-59 and 90-99.
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However, it’s not just linebackers who can swing single digits now. Defensive backs can also wear the numbers 1-49, as well as 80-89; the same goes for skill position players on offense.
“Let them have fun, let them wear single digits, let them wear their college number, their high school number,” Manning said. “If they’re having fun, the game will be fun to watch.”
Manning may have changed his tune later in the showhowever, when Ravens center linebacker Patrick Queen, who wears No. 6, crossed the Vegas offensive line intact for a sack by Derek Carr.
“Alright Brady, you’re right,” Manning said. “No one thought number 6 counted. I give you the win, Tom.”
When Brady and the Bucs come to town in a few weeks, he’ll notice several Patriots defensive players have taken advantage of the lax numerical restrictions. Free agent signings Matthew Judon (No. 9) and Jalen Mills (No. 2) have embraced digital freedom, while Ja’Whaun Bentley, a Brady teammate for two seasons in New England, now wears the No. ° 8.