Understanding Uniform Numbers in Football
Fans remember some players for specific moments on the field and others for entire careers, but every football fanatic associates his or her favorite players with the number on their jersey. These numbers have become a symbol for fans, but there wasn’t always a system in place to determine which player held which number.
In fact, it wasn’t until 1973 that the NFL created the jersey numbering system that’s now widely followed in every level of play. This system has undergone a few minor changes since it began, and of course there are always exceptions to the rules, but let’s take a look at how players across the sport get their numbers today.
The Number System
The infamous NFL number system has divided fans for years. Some players love it and others disagree with it.
However, it’s still the primary source of numbering players in both professional, college, and grade school teams.
There is much more leniency with numbering outside of professional football, but the number system is still fairly universal across the sport. Here’s a breakdown of the number brackets that correspond to each position.
- Quarterbacks, Punters, and Kickers: 1-19
- Running and Defensive Backs: 20-49
- Centers: 50-59
- Defensive and Offensive Lineman: 60-79
- Tight Ends and Receivers: 80-89
- Linebackers and Defensive Lineman: 90-99
Famous Jersey Numbers
With years of football spanning generations of players, there’s bound to be a handful of great names that have worn the same number.
There’s been no shortage of star players over the history of the game, and some of the most start-studded jersey numbers include:
- Number 7 – John Elway, Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger
- Number 12 – Tom Brady, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Namath, Ken Stabler, Roger Staubach
- Number 21 – LaDainian Tomlinson, Deion Sanders
- Number 32 – Jim Brown, OJ Simpson, Marcus Allen, Franco Harris
- Number 88 – Marvin Harrison, Michael Irvin, Tony Gonzalez
- Number 92 – Michael Strahan, Reggie White
- Number 99 – Warren Sapp, Jason Taylor
Custom Football Jerseys
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