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NFL Approves Use of No. 0 as Legal Uni Number; Kickers Can Wear 90-99

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:

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 of 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 )

Comments (36)

    Aaron Rodgers should take #0 as QB of the Jets. It would be the hottest selling jersey

    The strictly number-theory argument that persuades me to favor 0 as a legal number would also, if I applied it consistently, permit 00. But it would also on the same logic permit 01, 02, 03, etc as distinct from 1, 2, 3, etc. And that, I just can’t get on board with. So I’m cool with 0, but not 00.

    For some reason, single-digit numbers often look fine to me (depending on the size of the player wearing it), but 0 is one that just looks wrong. Maybe because it resembles the letter O, I don’t know.

    00, on the other hand, looks balanced to me and I am fine with that.

    If I had to choose one, I’d take 00.
    But just having zero is better than nothing!

    Paul, can there be a “log-in” button right at the top? Whenever I get logged out of UW+, it’s not obvious where to log-in without going clicking around for a bit and getting the “sign-up” pop-up after each click.

    I find that it’s much easier to do this on my phone with the hamburger widget at the top right. On the desktop version I have to scroll down to a link that is usually right under the top right sidebar ad.

    I don’t know if any of the actual Eagles players could wear it, but it might look good on Rashard Penny. I suppose it’s more likely to see it on a rookie. (I have one oregonian in mind…)

    I’d like to see 00. I always wanted that number since my last name has double o’s. I thought it looked cool to have 00 below OO.

    Dwight Gooden said that he wanted to wear 00 for this exact reason.

    My own family name used to have a double-O but we supposedly changed it to a single O to conform with English pronunciation when the English took New Amsterdam from the Dutch in 1664. If I were a Premier League soccer player, I’d wear 0 but then ask to have 00 if we played a game against a Dutch club.

    Georgia TE Darnell Washington wore 0 the last three seasons. 6’7”, he was known and beloved as The Big 0.

    When Oscar Robertson, the Big O, went to the Bucks he had number 1, and I always thought he should have taken 0.

    I had no idea 0 and 00 were banned. I just thought they were jokey numbers that nobody wanted.

    I was kind of hoping kickers and punters could get even more numbers. Would have been nice to see another # 25 like Jim Bakken.
    Still, I’m looking forward to seeing some of them wearing 90-99.

    Those Saints Unis are soooo sweet …..
    Matter of fact, ALL those unis match up better than the moderns…
    And those Steeler jerseys are amazing, should be throwbacks…

    I would never want to wear zero or double zero (you literally add up to nothing) but if players want it and fans like it why not?

    Eagles owner, Jeffrey Lurie, who proposed allowing No. 0, said he would approve the use of No. 00 if a proposal was made to add that in addition to the newly approved No. 0 jersey.

    “Our hero’s a zero, our hero’s a zero!” (my kid was just watching Hercules recently).

    When 0 became available in college a few years ago, I thought it really only looked “right” on defensive players. That’s maybe because I saw defensive players in the Canadian game wear it.

    I’m not sure when/why kickers/punters in the 90s because a thing. But I have noticed in the past few seasons that what Pitt does (almost exclusively)

    Kickers and punters in the 90s looks so weird to me. I associate those numbers with big, behemoth linemen and not normal-sized people like kickers, who look better with single digits, or at least something with a “1”, given the width of their bodies.

    On the other hand, kickers and punters in the 90s sort of symbolize that they are at the bottom of the list. If they want to make that impression, be my guest. I learned the game as a Dutchman by memorizing the numbers and the positions that go with these numbers. I feel very old right now with all the numbers jumbled up.

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