NFL owners just approved the proposal to allow players to wear Number Zero, I’m told.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 28, 2023
Exactly one month ago, reports began circulating that the Eagles had proposed restoring No. 0 as a legal NFL uni number. As you can see above, NFL Insider Tom Pelissero is now reporting that the proposal has been approved.
Update: We already have our first new hero of zero! The Jags have announced that wide receiver Calvin Ridley will wear No. 0:
— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) March 28, 2023
Another update: It turns out that there’s another aspect to this rule change, namely that kickers and punters will now be able to wear numbers from 90 to 99! Check it out:
Meanwhile, here’s a copy/paste the post I wrote one month ago, which gives all the background info on the NFL’s history with zero (and double-zero, for that matter). Enjoy!
Reprinted from Feb. 28, 2023:
The Athletic is reporting that the Eagles have submitted a proposal to the NFL’s competition committee that would reinstate No. 0 as a legal uniform number. It’s not clear, at least to me, when the committee might vote on this proposal, nor is it clear which position(s) would be eligible to wear the number if the proposal is approved.
It’s been more than half a century since the NFL had a zero-clad player. The last one was Saints defensive back Obert Logan in 1967. Here are some shots of him wearing the goose egg:
For reasons that have never been clear to me, the NFL banished No. 0 from the field after 1967. I don’t know if any other team has proposed its reinstatement since then. (Anyone..?)
The NFL last adjusted its uni-numbering rules in 2021, when certain number ranges became available for certain positions. That change was the result of a proposal from Kansas City, which was running out of available roster number because of its large contingent of retired numbers.
The NCAA, after decades of disallowing No. 0 in college football, made it a legal uni number in 2020. The move has been popular with players and fans, with many schools using the number as an honorific to be earned or bestowed.
Still off-limits in both the pro and college ranks: double-zero. The NFL banned it in 1973, although wideout Ken Burrough was permitted to wear it on a grandfathered basis through 1981.
Personally, I’m hoping that the Eagles’ proposal is approved. Zeroes on the field (or court, or ice) are fun! And that brings up an intriguing question: If No. 0 is allowed, who on your favorite team should be the first player to wear it? I’ll go first: As a 49ers fan, I think quarterback Brock Purdy would be a perfect Hero of Zero. After all, he was Mr. Irrelevant, so what better way to symbolize that — and to underscore his unlikely star turn last season — than by wearing the number that symbolizes a whole lot of nothing?
Your turn — go!
(My thanks to Tony Miller, who was the first to bring Pelissero’s tweet to my attention; to Twitter-er @fillupg1, who let me know about the Jags’ tweet; and to Austin Maida, for pointing out the kickers/punters detail.)