Tom Brady still hates the NFL's new number rule: 'Very pointless'

·3-min read

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady has a major bone to pick with the NFL. It's not over COVID-19 protocols or the league's vaccination policy. It's not even due to the league's crackdown on taunting.

Nope, Brady is still furious about the NFL's new number rule. You know, the one that allows players to wear different numbers this season? Brady hates it. 

This isn't new. Brady spoke out against the rule in April, and shed some light on those comments Tuesday, telling the Tampa Bay Times the rule will make things "very challenging."

“The number rule is crazy,” Brady said. “Literally, guys changed their numbers today. I’m playing two guys who had different numbers in the preseason. So, yeah you’ve got to watch film and know who you’re studying but so do running backs. They’ve got to know who to block. So does the offensive line. So does the receivers who are adjusting their routes based on blitzes.

“So one guys has got a 6, one guy has 11, one guy has got a 9. And they change every play when you break your routes and get to your spot. It’s going to be a very challenging thing. It’s a good advantage for the defense, which that’s what it is."

Brady is referencing the Dallas Cowboys in that quote. Linebacker Jaylon Smith changed his number to 9, rookie Micah Parsons is wearing No. 11 and cornerback Trevon Diggs is now wearing No. 7.

Brady's main gripe is that when he studies film in preparation for the game, he'll be looking at Smith and Diggs in their old numbers. Once the two teams take the field Thursday night, Brady will have to remember the proper line and protection calls while facing different numbers, which he believes makes the rule change "very pointless."

“There’s a reason why you do every single thing in football,” Brady said. “And you study hard so you can put yourself in a good position. Now you get to the game, and you’re going to be confused the whole time because you’re rotating what a D-lineman used to look like versus a linebacker or here is what a safety looks like. Very pointless.”

Is Tom Brady right to be concerned about number rule?

Brady will go down as the best quarterback of all time, so if he says there's reason to be concerned about the rule change, that should probably be taken seriously. The number change could have an impact on line calls, and that could lead to defenses taking advantage of the new rule.

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With that said, Brady is the only person vehemently complaining about the rule. If other quarterbacks have expressed frustration over the rule, they haven't done so as publicly as Brady. It's possible other quarterbacks feel similarly. It's also possible they see it as a small obstacle to overcome during each week.

Even if he hates the rule, it's hard to imagine Brady struggling on the field. For two decades, he's proven he can exploit a defense. That shouldn't change because a few linebackers are wearing single-digit numbers now. 

Tom Brady with the Buccaneers.
Tom Brady hates the NFL's new number rule. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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