It’s a little known fact that every NFL player has a number he or she is assigned by the team. There is usually a reason behind it, but it is rare to find an NFL player who wears the same number throughout his or her career. And, it’s even rarer to find a player who changes his or her number and still has success.
It is no secret that Bill Belichick is a big football nerd. He is probably one of the most dedicated football obsessives in the world. When it comes to the New England Patriots, Belichick has been known to do some really crazy things.
New England Patriots fans have been used to seeing the familiar number 12 under center for the past 20 seasons. During OTAs leading up to the 2021 NFL season, Patriots fans may have been surprised to see their new QB jersey. It wasn’t just the fact that the ball carrier was rookie quarterback Mack Jones that caused the shock. The fact is that for some reason he wore the number 50. Turns out he wore that weird number on his QB jersey because coach Bill Belichick forced him to.
Bill Belichick picked Mac Jones to replace Tom Brady
Belichick’s first year without Brady has not gone well for the 69-year-old coach. The Patriots went 7-for-9 with Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer at quarterback. It was the organization’s first losing season since 2000, when Brady was contracted. It was clear to all Patriots observers that New England needed a new pass rusher to return to the top of the league, where it has sat for two decades. Belichick seemed to agree when he selected Jones, of the University of Alabama, 15th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. Jones led the Crimson Tide to a national championship in his final season at the school. In three years with this team, he ran for 6,126 yards and 56 touchdowns. Jones will compete with Newton for a starting spot next season.
Belichick makes rookies wear non-traditional numbers every year during OTAs
Many fans noted that Jones wore a strange shirt during his first official practice with the Patriots. At the OTAs, he wore his usual red QB jersey, but with the number 50. Belichick’s tradition is the reason Jones wore the number normally reserved for midfielders. NBC Sports reports: All rookies coming to Foxborough will receive a temporary number on their jersey, as head coach Bill Belichick wants them to focus on learning the system rather than worrying about what number to wear. Number 50 is usually reserved for the Pats’ first choice. Each subsequent selection has the next number in the 50. The unusual number on Jones’ jersey will not be worn during the regular season. However, some players will be able to choose non-traditional numbers for next year. That’s because the NFL just changed its position numbering system.
The NFL allows players to wear non-traditional numbers, but QBs cannot wear #50
In the offseason, the Kansas City Chiefs proposed a rule change to increase the number of numbers each position group can legally wear. The NFL has endorsed this change, and for the first time we will see some players with numbers not normally associated with their position. NFL.com explains the new jersey number rules: With the expanded jerseys, running backs, fullbacks, defensive linemen, defensive backs, H-backs and wide receivers can wear back numbers 1-49 and 80-89; defensive backs can choose back numbers 1-49; halfbacks 1-59 and 90-99; offensive linemen 50-79; and defensive backs 50-79 and 90-99. The QBs, kickers and Cougars remain at 1-19. Once Jones masters the Patriots’ offense and style of play to Coach Belichick’s satisfaction, he can choose his jersey number. The most likely scenario is that he keeps his college number, number 10. All statistics are from Sports Reference CORRESPONDS TO: The New England Patriots have contracted another QB, taking veteran Tom Brady as their backup.