Tom Brady hasn’t changed his stance on the NFL’s revised jersey rule.
Five months after the Buccaneers quarterback slammed the rule that allows players to change their jersey number based on position, Brady called the revisions “very pointless” and “crazy” in a new interview.
“Literally, guys changed their numbers today,” Brady recently expressed to the Tampa Bay Times, noting, “I’m playing two guys who had different numbers in the preseason.”
“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.”
In April, NFL owners passed a proposal, which was initially made by the Chiefs, to loosen restrictions on numbers available. The change allows defensive backs to choose any jersey number from 1-49, while running backs, fullbacks, tight ends, halfbacks and wide receivers can pick from 1-49 and 80-89. Linebackers may now wear numbers 1-59 and 90-99.
But the rule does not include any changes for quarterbacks, kickers and punters.
Brady went on to explain how the jersey rule change has affected his preparation ahead of Tampa Bay’s season opener at home against the Cowboys on Sept. 9.
“So, yeah you’ve got to watch film and know who you’re studying but so do running backs,” Brady said. “They’ve got to know who to block. So does the offensive line. So [do] 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.
“It would be like saying, ‘What if I let the offensive linemen wear 82 and No. 9?’ They wouldn’t know who was eligible. Well that’s not fair. You’ll get your tail kicked. At least identify who the D-line, the linebackers and the safeties are. You’re going to have a lot of matchups where guys are blocking the wrong guys. I don’t know why that should be.”
Some Dallas players took advantage of the rule change, including linebackers Jaylon Smith (No. 54 to No. 9) and Micah Parsons (who picked No. 11 after the draft) and cornerback Trevon Diggs (No. 27 to No. 7).
Brady, who’s entering his 21st season in the NFL, explained why his opinion should matter and be heard by the league.
“I have a lot of perspective things,” he said. “You know, like there are certain things that frustrate me and I say, ‘Well, this is something I should speak up about.’ Things as it relates to pro football, the unions. And I’ve been around for 20 years to watch and I say, ‘Is it getting better or worse?’ And when I feel like it’s getting worse, I go, ‘What are we doing? This is not the purpose of the game.’
“But there are people who are making decisions who don’t have the same perspective. Not that mine is always right, but at least I want to feel like my point is heard, too. Because some of it is made just for the sake of making it.”
In April, Brady called the new structure “dumb” in a number of posts on his Instagram Story.
“Good luck trying to block the right people now. Going to make for a lot of bad football,” the seven-time Super Bowl champion said at the time.
The Buccaneers quarterback has never lost against the Cowboys in his career. But his record after the NFL’s implementation of the jersey rule obviously remains to be seen.