Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

08 May 2006

MMQB: Keep Five Alive

Forget Reggie Bush and his number 5, Peter King has maybe his funniest quote ever when talking about Matt Leinart: "Why do I get the feeling this guy might be more Pat O'Brien than Ken O'Brien?"

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 08 May 2006

111 comments, Last at 24 May 2006, 4:53pm by JaReD


by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 1:40pm

1) Why is it a problem there are no numbers in the 20s and 30s for Bush? He could still wear #45.

2) Jason Campbell is going to get a majority of preseason snaps... Gibbs admitted this much during the end of the year interviews and this was confirmed.

3) I like what Cleveland did in trading Dilfer? Why do you need a veteran insurance policy to mediocrity? Did the Patriots have an insurance policy for Bledsoe?

4a) Leinart is Mr. Hollywood... wasn't that made clear during his ESPN appearances? I wouldn't have drafted him based on that video diary.

4b) Leinart should start in the 2nd half of the season... but not the first. Before the draft we heard about "Leinart is the most pro-ready... yadda yadda yadda". Now King is saying "Leinart is the most pro-ready, but he's still not ready"... why didn't you write that when you were hyping up the draft? Does that mean Brady Quinn is going to be truly pro-ready next year?!

by michael (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 1:54pm

For the record, I really can't believe the editors let "pissahs" through, quoted below for posterity, in case CNNSI "wises" up:

"Wow! What'd they do with these pissahs?"

(caveat: I don't find it a bad word, or even a 'wicked' bad word, to use the vernacular. Just surprising it made it through. then again, given King's treatise on proctology not too long ago, maybe that just means there are no more envelopes to push).

by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 1:54pm

Why would Saints fans buy more #5 jerseys than #25? Why can't Bush donate the proceeds from the sales of a #25 (or #45) to Katrina victims? How many Southern Californians are going to buy the jersey of a bad team from Louisiana no matter what number is on it? If marketing is the best (only) reason to let Bush wear #5, the NFL should laugh him out of the hearing.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 1:56pm

I have no quibbles with Bush, but stop citing Paul Hornung in his defense.

Hornung got #5 because he was drafted (and won the Heisman at Notre Dame) as a QUARTERBACK. It was only when he totally flopped at it that he was moved to halfback, keeping the number.

The proper reference for this case was Harmon Wages, as was noted in another thread.

by Phil (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 1:57pm

Does anybody beside King think that anyone in the NFL would donate half of their endorsment money to a good cause?

by Shelley (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 1:58pm

Peter King, and everyone else, has spent the past two-plus years singing Leinart's praises, saying he's the most "pro-ready" quarterback, and in some cases calling him the next Tom Brady. But now he's suddenly a party animal flame-out waiting to happen? I doubt Arizona's social scene quite compares to LA's. I don't get the sudden turnaround.

In non-football news, I'm amused that King thinks he knows more about how Papelbon should pitch than Papelbon, Jason Varitek, and Al Nipper (the pitching coach).

by MJK (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 2:05pm

Even if Reggie doesn't get to keep #5, King says that he's most likely to end up with #25. In other words, the square of what he was in college. He should take that to be a sign that he should twice the player he was in college!

by White Rose Duelist (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 2:05pm

Best thing he said the other day? He's putting a prohibition on talking about the future beyond 2006, so every interview doesn't include the question, "Is this your last year?"

And then later made an announcement that he wasn't sure if he wanted to play in 2007. I feel like Favre wants to be talked about more than he actually wants to play/go out a winner.

by Michael David Smith :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 2:07pm

Re 4, Hornung was never a quarterback in Green Bay. The Packers already had Bart Starr and always intended to use Hornung as a running back. Hornung was always more a runner than a passer at Notre Dame -- he led the Fighting Irish not just in rushing yards but also punt returns and kickoff returns.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 2:10pm

Leinart should start in the 2nd half of the season… but not the first. Before the draft we heard about “Leinart is the most pro-ready… yadda yadda yadda�. Now King is saying “Leinart is the most pro-ready, but he’s still not ready�… why didn’t you write that when you were hyping up the draft? Does that mean Brady Quinn is going to be truly pro-ready next year?!

Quarterbacks, on average, are never pro-ready their first year. If you look at the statistics on quarterbacks sitting versus starting, there's no contest. Sit the rookie QB.

Jason Campbell is going to get a majority of preseason snaps… Gibbs admitted this much during the end of the year interviews and this was confirmed.

Yah, but Mike McMahon almost got a majority of preseason snaps last year for Philly, but he had no chance to unseat McNabb (which... is a good thing). King's saying that Campbell should get a chance to beat out Brunell for the starting job.

If Brunell starts the first quarter, then Campbell starts the next 2, then Collins starts the last, that's a majority for Campbell: but Brunell's the unqualified starter.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 2:11pm

I don't know why King wants to compare Bush to Keyshawn. RBs have 30 numbers to choose from. WRs have 10, and it's my recollection that between WRs and TEs on the roster, there actually were no numbers left in the 80s for Keyshawn, who did not wear 19 in college, and had no attachment to it.

I reject the premise that significantly more people will buy a Bush 5 jersey than a Bush 25 jersey, no matter how much King wants to spin it as a humanitarian endeavor. That's just silly. I can say that I was just as likely to by my Curtis Martin, LaDanian Tomlinson, and Willie McGinest jerseys regardless of the number. Who spends $200 on a jersey for the number on it? USC #5 jerseys might outsell both anyhow. If Bush wants to help the victims, he can donate 5% of his contract, which is significantly more money than half the proceeds of jersey sales. "He is known as 5 in Southern California?" Are you serious? Who cares. Let's change the uniform policy to accomodate a rookie who was the 2nd pick in the draft. Sounds like a good idea. The veterans in the league won't mind that.

I haven't been to the Cask and Flagon in a couple of years, but I have a hard time imagining Mr. Eggnog Latte hanging out there, regardless of any "improvements" that have been made.

Has anybody actually compared Leinhart to Ken O'Brien? Is that his upside?

I think Ricky Williams has more trade value playing in the CFL for a year than sitting on his ass, injury risk be damned.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 2:14pm

#7, do I have to call the Math Police on you? It means he should be exponentially better than he was at USC!

by Green Bay for Life (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 2:17pm


like MDS, Arron, and all of the other writers for FO have told me in the past, this is his opinion. Now do I agree with his opinion? Hardly ever. And this week goes to show that instead of writing about all of the mini-camps going on he has to revert and try and throw the soon to be "superstars" in Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart a bone or two. God I just hope he does not get his head wrapped around thier pricks like he has it wrapped around Brett Favres. This guy really makes me sick.

by Oswlek (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 2:20pm


Yes, the Patriots did have a veteran insurance policy for Bledsoe: Damon Huard.

by MTR (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 2:21pm

The "Let Bush wear 5" arguement seems to boil down to "It's better for his marketing team." And the league office and I should care why?

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 2:26pm


It wasn't until 1973 that the NFL instituted this silly uniform # rule. There is still no good reason to keep it, IMO (one explanation for it was to make it easier for the refs and casual fans to know who is an eligible receiver and who's not, etc).

And it's about damned time that King mentions someone else who's anti-Starbucks.

by PackMan (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 2:26pm

Is King implying that Reggie Bush should offer to the League that if they let him wear 5, he will donate half of his jersey sales money to the relief effort, but none if they don't let him wear it? If so, he would look really selfish, and this would be a bad move on Bush's part

by justanothersteve (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 2:35pm

Re #9: The Packers may have had Starr, but he was not the starting QB when Hornung was drafted. In fact, when Lombardi showed up in 1959, he thought so little of Starr that the Packers drafted the forgotten Randy Duncan, QB, Iowa, with the very first pick of the 1959 draft. Starr didn't start until sometime during the 1959 season.

by The Other Vlad (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 2:39pm

"But now he’s suddenly a party animal flame-out waiting to happen? ... I don’t get the sudden turnaround."

Two words: Paris, and Hilton.

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 2:41pm

post#4 is correct; post #9 is wrong

Hornung was drafted as (and initally tried as) a QB at Green Bay; he just happened to suck at it

and the Pack didn't "already have" Starr--he was drafted the same year as Hornung

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 2:41pm

Re: 15

I think there's also the 'no real reason not to allow any RB to have a 1-20 number' aurgument. In reality, other than requiring offensive linemen to wear 50-79 (and prohibiting other offensive players from these numbers) I don't see much basis for the preoccupation with limiting numbers.

That said, I wouldn't make the exception simply for Reggie Bush. Either change it for everyone or make Reggie wear 20-49.

by Zac (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 2:51pm

I agree with others. Hardly anyone chooses to buy a jersey based on what the number on it is (but of course there are obvious exceptions). Reggie Bush's jersey will probably be the #1 seller no matter what number it is.

Secondly, I've supported Brett Favre in the past, but this is leading to exactly the same problem we've had the last 2 or 3 years. If he's going to retire, he should just say it, to get it out of the way. If he's still not sure, and we have to go through another freaking off-season of questions, then I for one will not be happy.

by PackMan (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 2:56pm

I agree about Favre, he should use this season as his 3-4 months to think about whether he wants to play or not. And then, at the end of the season, make a decision, that way he doesn't go out leaving the bad taste of an off-season of contemplation in everyone's mouth.

by Green Bay for Life (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 3:04pm

re 22 and 23

Make that another vote for Brett Favre to take this time and really think about what to do and not waste our time or the medias resouces to try and figure out what he wants to do. I have been a GB fan now for just over 25 years and this is leaving a real bad taste in everybodies mouth.

by CA (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 3:07pm

Is there anything that a 1-19 numbered player can do that a 20-49 numbered player can't and vice versa? Can't both be anywhere behind the line of scrimmage outside of the tackles? Can't both receive snaps, catch passes, throw passes, rush the ball, block, etc.? Are only 1-19 numbered players eligible for the special quarterback protections (I thought they were technically passer protections, anyway), and if so, how does that rule apply to the receivers with numbers in the teens? Why can't Reggie Bush count as a "quarterback" who just happens very rarely to throw the football? I know that Brian Bosworth wanted to be considered a "monster defensive back" instead of a linebacker and lost his case, but I don't know why that would have been a problem either.

These aren't rhetorical questions. If anybody has answers, please let me know.

That said...

When I started reading King's column, given what King had written in the Tuesday edition last week, I jokingly wondered to myself if King was going to tie this matter to Katrina. I was very amused to see that he actually earnestly did. Just another bit of ammo to add to the arsenal that can be used to make fun of King and MMQB.

by Shelley (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 3:12pm

Re: 19

I didn't know becoming a horrible QB was a venereal disease. Someone should have told Alex Smith to stay away from hookers.

by Sam (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 3:27pm

The Sopranos was okay last night, but calm down Peter.

Peter King also worships the toilet paper that goes into Bill Parcells butt.

I apologize for the disgusting image, but I learned from reading Peter King and his infamous plane experience (which has tainted him more than steroids taint Barry Bonds)

by P. Ryan Wilson :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 3:46pm


According to DraftHistory.com Hornung was drafted in the first-round in 1957 (he's listed as a RB), Bart Starr was drafted in the 17th round in 1956 (he's listed as a QB).

by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 3:47pm

Why can’t Reggie Bush count as a “quarterback� who just happens very rarely to throw the football?

Position matters for some things, like the franchise tag.

by ABW (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 3:53pm

Re: 16

Please, can we keep the uniform numbers. I bring this up everytime the number rules come up - they are extremely useful for more casual football fans to figure who is playing what and understand a little bit about formations and why which players are lining up where. It's not just about eligible receivers - it's about explaining the difference between a tight end and an offensive tackle and a linebacker and a safety. For some people, the fact that they sometimes line up in similar positions makes it hard to tell them apart, and big white numbers can clear a lot of that up.

The uniform rules are one of the very first things I explain to people when I try to explain football. It makes things go a lot faster for that section of the population who think that a cornerback is a guy who stands in the back corner and a fullback stands 4 times as far back as a quarterback. Let's keep the uniform numbers, they really do serve a valuable purpose and I can't imagine they bother anyone that much.

I personally don't mind exceptions now and then, it really isn't that hard to explain an exception to the rules, but it seems like once you start allowing them the whole system would get messed up, and it's not like Bush was expecting to be #5 in the NFL anyhow. Everyone knew that he was going to have to change his number, so why the big fuss now?

by Michael David Smith :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 4:15pm

and the Pack didn’t “already have� Starr–he was drafted the same year as Hornung

Uh, no. Starr played nine games as the No. 2 QB for the Packers in 1956. That off-season the Packers got rid of traded their starter, Tobin Rote, and made Starr the starter. Hornung, who was drafted in 1957, was a running quarterback in college and a running back in the NFL.

by PackMan (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 4:15pm

That is a good point, but then anyone on defense can wear any # that they want, as there are no limitations as to where they line up. And then you have D-lineman wearing #7 and corners wearing #99 and so on, which is fine, but the numbers do help understand who is which position.

But on the other hand, how can the league tell the team what position a player can play? Lots of safeties have been drafted to play LB, and LBs to play Safety. Is there a minimum number of plays they have to line up outside the box to be considered a DB?

by Blitz Fitness (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 4:19pm


You're my hero. You took the words out of my mouth. It makes it so much easier to watch film with football novices with these number rules in place.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 4:23pm

Please, can we keep the uniform numbers. I bring this up everytime the number rules come up - they are extremely useful for more casual football fans to figure who is playing what and understand a little bit about formations and why which players are lining up where. It’s not just about eligible receivers - it’s about explaining the difference between a tight end and an offensive tackle and a linebacker and a safety.

How do these people function when watching high school or college football?

Besides, can't you just talk to your child, wife, girlfriend, or European friend while watching the game? It's not that difficult to pick up.

I personally don’t mind exceptions now and then, it really isn’t that hard to explain an exception to the rules, but it seems like once you start allowing them the whole system would get messed up, and it’s not like Bush was expecting to be #5 in the NFL anyhow. Everyone knew that he was going to have to change his number, so why the big fuss now?

Because we've seen the pictures of what it would look like, and it would like really cool. I'm serial.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 4:26pm

It makes it so much easier to watch film with football novices with these number rules in place.

You break out the game film with novices? That's kind of hardcore, dude.

How do these novices know what's going on in the CFL, College, High School, NFL Europe, or Arena Football?

How about when a game is on ESPN Classic?

by PackMan (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 4:41pm

NFLeurope and the AFL both have number restrictions, I believe.

by DGL (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 4:42pm

Personally, I think you either require Bush to wear a "running back number", or you change the rule. Don't change it for one college star, because "everyone knows him as #5", but require everyone else to follow it.

by mattman (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 4:47pm

When I clicked on the 'Keep Five Alive' link, I thought it would be an article on the Eagles' pass protection.

by Sean (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 4:52pm

Actually, Keyshawn wanted to wear #3, which was his college number, but the NFL said no. So he went with 19.

by ABW (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 4:54pm

Re: 34

Well, the idea is that you explain ideas like "linebackers" and "defensive linemen" by using the numbers, and then if they want to watch college or HS football, even if the numbers confuse them until someone explains whats going on, at least they know what the various positions are. And I usually mention something about these rules only applying to the NFL, but, yes, I've probably sent a couple of confused people to college games. Oh well.

And I AM talking to my girlfriend, European friend, or simply non-sports-fanatic American friend(yes, I know it sounds crazy, but there are totally normal Americans who do not know a damn thing about football). It just makes it a lot easier to explain a concept like "8 in the box" if you can point out that there is a guy who is in "the box" wearing a number that is not a linebackers or linemans, and there's a chance the person will actually remember that and be able to recognize 8 in the box sometime later. Similarly with ideas like a '4-3 defense' vs. a '3-4 defense'.

by MRH (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 5:05pm

WRs can now wear 10-19, although that wasn't true when Keyshawn came into the league.

Is Urlacher more Bupkis than Butkus becasue he dated Paris Hilton? Is Leinart an idiot for being w/her - yeah. I'm not sure it has anything to do with his future performance - nor did it with Urlacher.

Why does Campbell have 'potential' but Frye is 'shaky'? Frye had an abomination against the Steelers (8 sacks and 4 fumbles), which I suspect heavily facotred into his poor DPAR/DVOA. His other 4 NFL starts were decent enough for a rookie on a poor team. He had a 72.8 passer rating last year, in five starts, whcih compares with Eli's 55.4 in 7 starts the year prior. On the other hand, Campbell had a passer rating of 43.1 in pre-season last year and didn't play in any regular season games (Frye's preseason passer rating was 92.8). So other than PK's thoughts, is there any evidence to suggest that Campbell is the one with potential and Frye is the one that's shaky? I'm willing to grant that Campbell has potential - I just don't see why he makes the assessment of Frye that he does.

by MJK (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 5:14pm

I like designated numbers for all the reasons that ABW mentions.

Also, when a player is injured, and you can't make out his name (or recognize his name, if he's from a team you're not really familar with), and John Madden and Al Michaels are too busy talking about Donovan McNabb's cat rather than announcing, then you can at least tell what position the injured player is, and infer if how he was involved in the last play.

by Michael David Smith :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 5:19pm

How about we compromise and allow each team to designate one player who doesn't have to wear the number associated with his position?

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 5:52pm

Or just let dudes wear any number, like in hockey, basketball, soccer, rugby league, baseball, etc.

by cd6 (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 6:18pm

This is a slippery slope people. Sure, today an RB wants a single digit number on his jersey. But then what's next? Fractions? Question marks? Smiley faces?

The uniform number apocolypse is upon us.

by ABW (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 6:25pm

Re: 43

Sounds good to me. I just like having some general rules. It's not hard to explain one exception per team.

Re: 44

I don't understand what other sports have to do with this at all. Soccer doesn't let you touch the ball with your hands, should football adopt that rule too? Many of those sports I would probably watch more if I could figure out which players were which. I've watched some(not much) basketball, and I still can't tell who's a forward and who's a guard.

Some of us like these rules and find them useful. If you don't have a good reason why not to have them, what, exactly, is your objection to them?

by Green Bay for Life (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 6:42pm

did we not have this arguement somewhere before on a previous thread?

by mm (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 6:43pm

#44 I take exception to being mentioned in the same breath as those any-old-number-wearing sports. Rugby players wear a specific number. Why do you think they call the tall guy with the messed up ears "Number 8"?

--a happy hooker (the good kind)

by DD (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 7:06pm

With all the bigger issues going on in the NFL, it is funny to see people crying about uniform numbers. Who cares?
Maybe the NFL could hire some full time refs and then they would not need the uniform numbers as badly because the refs are remotely qualified. Until then, take a pill and calm down!

by ABW (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 7:09pm

Re: 47

Probably, but it's the off-season, and a slow day at work, and we have nothing better to argue about.

Look at it this way - at least we're not complaining about how stupid Peter King is. We may have had this argument once or twice before, but we do that every week. :-)

by MarkB (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 7:13pm

It's a slippery slope. If someone wants pi, how many decimal places does he need?

by Ryan Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 7:35pm

Honestly Peter king is a big piece of trash.

Leinart has done absolutely nothing wrong and is being called Pat O Brien??

Really, is that necessary? Peter get a life, just because Leinart has the perfect life and you are a fat jealous OVERRATED sportswriter, dont break the kids balls about it.

by Richie (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 7:49pm

Didn't Rod Bernstine wear a number in the 80's while playing RB for San Diego? 10+ years ago.

by Alex (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 7:51pm

I agree with MRH's assessment: Frye is better than assumed.
Watching him play against the Steelers, I saw a good rookie that put up well with playing on an inferior team. Watching him the rest of his games, I saw a QB with a natural check-down and release, as well as a good notion of movement in the pocket.
Should Winslow live up to potential, Frye might be looking at a pretty good season. To tabulate his position:
Behind Kevin Shaffer, Joe Andruzzi and LeCharles Bentley on the left and middle, with Braylon Edwards as a wideout, Kellen Winslow as a TE and Reuben Droughns in the backfield. At the very least, he has a better than competant cast of people to catch and run the ball, and a better than average left and middle of the line.
Given his feel for the game, Frye should have a pretty good season, if not a career.

On other King topics: I don't understand how much character plays into a backup rookie quarterback's success. Given a year (at least) under the tutelage of a grocery worker, there is no way that Leinart will have any ego left!

by Green Bay for Life (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 7:58pm

RE 47

Ok just Checking. :-)

In that case, I have to agree with you and MDS. Keep the numbering system the way it is now, but hold a lottery pick so only one of the cry babies on your team can choose to have his college number back. ;-)

by Green Bay for Life (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 8:00pm

RE 48

I thought the Happy Hooker was the one that came out of the pile with the ball in hand?

by David A. (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 8:08pm

You need uniform rules for eligible receiver purposes, and that's about it. Numbers 50-79 and 90-99 should be required to report as eligible receivers, and that's it. If a QB wants to wear #22 (Doug Flutie, anyone?), then let him. If LaVar Arrington wants to wear #11, and the Giants let him, then so be it. All that said, if it happened, I expect some teams would draw up their own rules about numbers, and the Commissioner should still send out an official memo encouraging teams to maintain some semblance of the traditional numbering system, with DBs in the 1-49 range, and so on.

by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 9:19pm

How do these people function when watching high school or college football?

I know it's hard to believe, but there are people who don't watch any high school or college football, just the occasional NFL game on Thanksgiving or the Super Bowl.

by Comrade Jason (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 9:43pm

I also like the numbers like they are, for the same reason as before--makes it easier to explain to people who aren't as familiar with football what's going on. I also love the Starbucks comment--maybe someone should tell Jenny Conrad that most of her mom-and-pop coffee shops wouldn't be there if it hadn't been for Starbucks. I can remember a time pre-Starbucks when there wasn't anywhere to just sit around and drink coffee ...

by mm (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 10:11pm

Sorry, that's the scrum-half.

Helpful info here.

by Jimi (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 10:12pm

I'm in favor of keeping the current status quo with jersey numbers. It really does help with determining who is playing what position and who just laid the big hit on the receiver to force the big drop. It is the lack of this kind of rule that keeps me from being interested in HS or college football (and I'm a HS student!) and hinders my entertainment in sports where everybody's more or less the same weight and body type (soccer, hockey, baseball, etc.).

#49: Do I detect an irate 'Hawks fan...?

by Bjorn (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 10:49pm

Sorry, soccer, hockey and baseball?

Hockey has 3 basic positions (forward, defence, goalie) and one of them wears 40 pounds of extra gear.

Because the pitch is so big, soccer players usually stay in their area. Someone who consistently freelances will probably collapse by halftime. If he's a goalie, he wears a different uniform.

Baseball? Are you kidding me? "I wish that man standing in center field had an imposed limit on the numbers he could wear, then I could tell what position he plays!"

by Jimi (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 11:01pm

#62: Ach! Meant to say "Hockey, soccer, and basketball"! Brain fart!

by Bjorn (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 11:11pm

Okay, basketball is a better example.

by usedbread (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 11:19pm

#59- just because starbucks made you aware of a coffee bar, doesnt make it the truth.

i worked in an independent shop a good 10 years before anyone had ever hard of starbucks, which is for corporate folks who wouldnt really fit in in a coffee shop.
keep your $5 machine brewed latte, sucker.

by pbmax (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 11:45pm

Basketball also has rules, unless you are Dennis Rodman, you usually need to have both digits at 5 or below. I'll let you count the reasons for this on your fingertips, let hand for the ones digit, right hand for the tens.

by clem (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 12:17am

How about this compromise for Reggie Bush and the other number mystics in the Nuffle? Adopt the XFL uni name rule. Then Reggie could have a legal number but wear the name "He Five Me".

by EnglishBob (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 5:36am

Re- 48,
In fairness to 44, he's referring to Rugby LEAGUE not UNION. You are right that union sticks very strictly to its number code as soccer used to (Soccer? I hate using that word). Football changed when substitutes became legal and so instead of a starting 11 all numbered 1-11 you suddenly had extra numbers available. Now everyone keeps their squad number a la American Football.
As a "European" (again, I don't like referring to myself as that) I can confirm that I like the number scheme, if anything it should be tightened up, not loosened. I think it works particularly well on defense. So stick with it!

by UK-Phil (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 11:04am

Rugby union does use a strict 1-15 numbering scheme. Except of course when it doesn't. Certain teams don't use numbers at all but letters, so you have 'A' to 'O' (I think). So instead of a 'number 8' you have a 'letter H'! Then of course all the subs can have pretty much any number.

by MJK (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 11:05am

Here's a hypothetical:

Just imagine what it would be like if the number system were more rigorous. Say, your number is picked for you both by the position you play and your spot on the depth chart. E.g. the starting QB is #10, the backups are #11 and #12, etc. Always. For two "equal starters" (e.g. the OLB's) give the lower number to the more veteran player. That way you could immediately tell from a player's number both what position he played and (the team's perception of) how good he was relative to his teammates. When you saw #80 go down with an injury, you would know it was the number one wideout. I can definitely see the usefulness of this.

On the other hand, it would create huge ego issues and could be a locker room distraction. Assigning one TE a higher number could be seen as a lack of respect.

An interesting scenario... I don't know how I would feel about that.

by White Rose Duelist (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 11:15am
by PackMan (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 12:04pm

I don't like the idea of 1 player on each team being exempt from the numbering system. Could you imagine a player demanding to be traded because the team won't make him the number exemption. Though it does sound good for a designated special teams captain, or something like that.

by EnglishBob (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 12:15pm

RE 69- The last big rugby club to use letters not numbers was Leicester Tigers; they no longer do as it was banned by the IRB a few years ago. Their front row (first three players, kind of akin to linemen) were famously known as the ABC club.
RE 72 I agree you can't have an exemption for one player- this is a team game no? (TO doesn't seem to think so).

70- In principle this isn't a bad idea- it would work for linemen, eg LT is 51, RT is 55, with reserves higher numbers. All teams list WR1 and WR2, so could argue its not based on ability but just position. Ego would remain a huge problem though. It would certainly really help casual (and surely even hardcore)fans.

by PackMan (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 12:27pm

But this could cause a player to change his number every year as he moves up/down the depth chart. Would anyone buy jerseys?
But it does make sense.
(players on my Madden team, I hope you are not too attached to you jersey numbers)

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 12:40pm

#48: They allow any-odd number wearing in rugby league (yes, I know that league isn't real rugby, but you still have 13 instead of 11 guys running around). I'm well aware of position specific numbering in Rugby Union.

#69: In my first ever match, the other side were wearing letters. I could still identify who was who from where they lined up on the pitch. It's really not that difficult, guys.

#74: You have more jerseys bought because people would be able to say that they have the most recent addition. Oh, wait, you mean if they got moved up or down during the season. Interesting thought.

In the end, I like knowing that every weekend, I will either wear an 11, 14, or 15. Except for last weekend, when a club that I play with once a year has jerseys that all have the number 16.

by PackMan (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 12:55pm

I meant between seasons as well. If I bought a Donald Driver jersey a few years ago and it was #80, then Walker got moved up to the #1 receiver, and Driver became #81, I would be upset. But Walker was traded of course, and that problem was fixed, but you get my point. You could say the same about Jerry Porter and Moss, etc.

by Daniel (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 1:11pm

[Cue Stephen Colbert voice]
Typical commie NFL garbage. First revenue sharing, and now this statist numbering system garbage. I say we let the free market sort it out. If Bush wants #5 badly enough, let him pay for it. If teams prefer ordered uniform numbers, then they can impose that condition themselves and charge players for exceptions. Supply, demand, voila! Everyone's happy!

by mm (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 4:08pm

Cannot possibly get enough good rugby talk these days :)
Seriously though, the fixed numbering scheme would have a definite impact on the cult of personality (a good thing IMHO).
And French teams can't throw a line out worth a damn.

by Parker (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 6:00pm

Here's my compromise:

The NFL agrees to not consider changing their uniform number rules.

Reggie Bush and everyone else agrees to stop asking them to.

by Blitz Fitness (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 9:30pm

Re: #45 (I think)

That's a definite fear. I already have a problem with nicknames being displayed on jerseys. Example? A DL of the Chicago Bears is 2 year player Terry Johnson. You don't see him play with a jersey that says "Johnson" or "T. Johnson". What you see is "Tank Johnson". I have problems with that, and a big part of it is that A) this is being worn by someone who has not earned it (at least in this league) and B) this guy has some issues (gun offenses anyone?). I wouldn't want to see people like Adam "Snappin Pacman" Jones getting undeserved attention for glamour plates on the back of his jersey.

by Bjorn (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 9:34pm

RE: #79 But that's a compromise, and that's just the 3rd option. We want a win win situation, so were going to turn #5 into a T-Shirt.

by Mentos (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 10:08pm

re: 53
Bernstine began his career as a tight end. He converted to running back and stayed with #82. Later he joined the Broncos and switched to #33.

by Mentos (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 10:09pm

Can any Browns fans explain to me why Michael Jackson wore #1?

by Zac (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 10:35pm

Awesome reference from the last episode of "The Office", Bjorn. Simply awesome.

by Rodafowa (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 10:52pm

RE; 68

Soccer? I hate using that word

Yeah, but you quickly get tired of typing "Association Football" each time, eh?

Plainly some sort of compromise needs to be found. Might I suggest "Proper football"? ;)

Oh, and on behalf of happy Hornets everywhere, might I just add that we. Are. Going up, I say we are going up?


by jimmo (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 11:47pm

re: 81, 84... second that! thanks for the laugh Bjorn.

by Travis (not verified) :: Wed, 05/10/2006 - 4:30am

Can any Browns fans explain to me why Michael Jackson wore #1?

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 30, 1991:

Jackson might be a man without a number. The Browns are appealing to the league to let him keep his No. 1 instead of a regulation number for receivers in the 80s. The Browns' only available number in the 80s is 82, formerly worn by Ozzie Newsome.

Newsome's #82 went unassigned for the duration of Cleveland Browns version 1.0, but has been assigned since (anger over Newsome's following Modell to Baltimore?).

When Jackson changed his last name in 1993 to Dyson to honor his father (his parents were not married at the time of his birth) ,he changed his uniform number to #81, but not willingly. Plain Dealer, September 6, 1993:

Dyson said he changed his name during the past week, keeping Jackson as a middle name. The fans will also have to get used to his new No.81. That will be the toughest part for him, he said.

The NFL mandated Dyson use one of the designated wide-receiver numbers in the 80s or face a fine.

"The league took away my number," Dyson said. "I wore number 11 in high school and kept half of it in college (Southern Mississippi). It was tough, but when they were going to fine me $10,000 a game to keep it ... So it's only a number then. It will take some time for the fans to get used to the name, but it will come. They'll understand what it was for. But I think they liked my number."

Follow-up, Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 19, 1993:

Officially, he is Michael Jackson Dyson. He made the change on his birth certificate this summer. "Jackson" - call it his stage name - will remain on his uniform and in his signature. His kids, if and when he raises them, will be "Dyson."

Also, the Browns' website has a great PDF detailing who wore each jersey number when, updated through the 2001 season.

by Mentos (not verified) :: Wed, 05/10/2006 - 10:54am

Thanks, Travis.

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 05/10/2006 - 12:46pm

Yeah, but you quickly get tired of typing “Association Football� each time, eh?

Hey, it's the British's fault anyway - they're the ones who came up with 'soccer' in the first place.

Not the US's fault that we started using the (hence available) 'football' before they decided 'soccer' as a name sucks. :)

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Wed, 05/10/2006 - 1:09pm

Pat, them's fightin' words in some pubs.

by Rodafowa (not verified) :: Wed, 05/10/2006 - 2:19pm

Hey, it’s the British’s fault anyway - they’re the ones who came up with ’soccer’ in the first place.

Absolutely true. Apparently a lot of words we think of as "Americanisms" are actually archaic English words that were preseved in the colonies even after they fell out of use in the mother country.

"Soccer" isn't in that category, of course but "Fall" in the sense of the month between summer and winter ("autumn" to those of us on the right side of the Atlantic) allegedly is.

Funny old world, etc.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Wed, 05/10/2006 - 5:22pm

His children, if and when he raises them

Are you kidding me? Is there some story I don't know specifically pertaining to Michael Jackson? Is this just a poor choice of words to signify that he doesn't have children? Or is this just painting Jackson with the broad brush of the stereotypical athlete who fathers many children but can't be bothered to raise them?

by Richie (not verified) :: Wed, 05/10/2006 - 6:41pm

His children, if and when he raises them

Are you kidding me? Is there some story I don’t know specifically pertaining to Michael Jackson?

I think the point was that Jackson-Dyson planned for Dyson to be the name of his future family. I didn't sense any accusations of fathering many children.

by tighthead (not verified) :: Wed, 05/10/2006 - 10:42pm

Sophandros - I am impressed that you are secure knowing that you will be wearing an 11 or 14 on the weekend. Acceptance is key to these situations.

By the way, I have only seen letters used in sevens tournaments, where just about anything goes.

by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 05/11/2006 - 1:17am

Re: 92, 93

It seems like just poor phrasing on the part of the article writer. Best I could tell, Jackson-Dyson had no children at the time.

I tried to find more information, but you can imagine the difficulties involved in searching 1993 articles for "Michael Jackson" and "children."

by mm (not verified) :: Thu, 05/11/2006 - 9:22am

Not that there's anything wrong with wearing 11 or 14... Just saying I wouldn't want my son or daughter growing up as a back in a forward's world...

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Thu, 05/11/2006 - 11:05am

94, 96:

Yes, I am secure in myself, and yes, I'm coming out. I'm a back. A deep three back, even.

For the non-rugby people here, The position that I play has just about the most opposite role on the pitch from what tighthead and mm do. But we're prettier.

by PackMan (not verified) :: Thu, 05/11/2006 - 11:56am

To avoid the confusion between Real Football and Soccer, From this day forward, what was formerly soccer will now bbe know as "Fagball" --The Man Show

by EnglishBob (not verified) :: Thu, 05/11/2006 - 12:44pm

RE 98 I have no problem whatsoever with that for a new name- they way the average player collapses and dies when brushed by an opponent means the name is deserved.

by Green Bay for Life (not verified) :: Thu, 05/11/2006 - 4:04pm

RE 99 and 98

I thought throughout Europe that most people split the difference by saying whay we play on this side of the pond is "american football" and what you guys over there go crazy over is called football. or was my German translation way back when I was in High School wrong?

by Green Bay for Life (not verified) :: Thu, 05/11/2006 - 4:11pm

RE: 98

And yes I got the humor from that quote. And I have been known to call it "Fagball" in the past.

by Rodafowa (not verified) :: Thu, 05/11/2006 - 10:11pm

"“What’s up with them calling ‘soccer’ ‘football?!’ Man, you ever watched soccer!? Man, that’s a boring game, man! I’ll tell what soccer is - soccer’s for little girls man! Football... now that's an American sport! It teaches you good, wholesome American values like taking other people's land by force! And wearing tight pants while you do it!"

Oh, and rugby forwards have a nerve claiming anyone's effeminate when sixteen of them gather together for a group cuddle approximately twenty times a game.

Alright? Everyone's sport's been impuned. Would anyone mind if we gave the casual homophobia a rest now?

by EnglishBob (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 3:58am

GBFL- You are right of course, American football is never referred to as football in the UK and Europe.
RE 102- It's probably more like 40 times a game.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 9:26am

In order to re-hijack this thread, it was reported yesterday that LB Julian Peterson will wear #44 with the Seahawks, as Grant Winstrom has his #98.

I thought linebackers were limited to #50-59 and #90-98.

Am I wrong, or is Peterson going to have to switch when the regular season starts. I have seen LBs wear numbers in the 40s for preseason before, presumably because the others were taken.

by EnglishBob (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 10:11am

Bosworth must be fuming!

by PackMan (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 11:24am

Someone stated that Jackson could wear no 11 as a WR in cleveland, but it would cost him 10K a game. Surely Bush can afford that, and it would be much cheaper than giving up half of his jersey sales.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 11:45am

#106, I highly doubt that's accurate. For deliberately flauting the league's uniform policy, I imagine the fines would be much steeper, and would be assessed against the team, not the player.

by PackMan (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 2:49pm

Sean Taylor (and other Redskins, I believe) was fined last year for wearing his own (non-uniform) socks in a game. The Redskins were not fined that I heard of.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 4:11pm

I thought the team was fined also. Regardless, it's not really apples to apples. Unless the player ordered his own jersey from the NFL Pro Shop, the team issued his jersey to him. If the number is a violation of NFL policy, it's the team who committed the violation.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 4:40pm

As long as this thread is still going...

The first thing I thought - "Five is ALIVE!" Now there was a movie. They better use that as the headline if he gets to use 5.

by JaReD (not verified) :: Wed, 05/24/2006 - 4:53pm

I say let Bush wear #5, hes willing to donate 25% of proceeds to hurricane katrina, then let the man wear #5!! Wats the big deal if i was playing half back and was as good as reggie bush id expect to get the number i wish, the nfl should jsut be happy to have a once in a lifetime palyer like Reggie.