The NFL may not be done making changes in preparation for the 2021 season. In addition to adding a 17th regular season game to the schedule, the Chiefs recently proposed a rule change that would significantly loosen up jersey number restrictions. If the league's owners vote in favor of the Chiefs' proposal, every skill position, along with linebackers and defensive backs, would be allowed to have single-digit numbers.
It's safe to say that a slew of high-profile players will switch jersey numbers if the Chiefs' proposal is approved. Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, who has worn No. 21 throughout his time in Dallas, recently posted a photo on social media of himself rocking a No. 15 Cowboys jersey. Elliott wore that number while helping Ohio State win the 2014 national championship. This week, Jets lineman Mekhi Becton offered his vocal support of the Chiefs' proposal. The 2020 first-round pick, who currently wears No. 77, also revealed what number he would wear if given the choice.
"Well since the skill players don't wanna change they number let us get the option," Becton tweeted with several laugh emojis. "I'm definitely going for number 1."
The Jets quickly obliged, tweeting a photo of Becton wearing his desired number.
Even if the Chiefs proposal is approved, Becton won't get the chance to wear the No. 1. While the proposal would open up new number options for every other position, the offensive linemen will have to continue to choose numbers between 50-79. And even if the NFL would allow offensive linemen to wear single-digit numbers, the No. 1 is currently being worn in New York by Jaleel Scott. Scott will likely receive pressure to relinquish that number soon, as Zach Wilson and Justin Fields -- two quarterbacks the Jets could take with the No. 2 overall pick -- wore No. 1 in college.
NFL players who will get the chance to change uniforms largely have the NFL's expanded regular season schedule to thank. Given the expected expansion of practice squads, the NFL will likely approve the Chiefs' proposal, according to NBC Sports Peter King. The number of retired jerseys across the league has also increased the need to loosen up on jersey regulations.