Can Quarterbacks Wear Any Number?

5 January 2022

QBs are the players who stand behind the center, call the plays, and direct the offense.

They also wear special numbers that help them stand out from other players and allow officials to spot possible rule infractions. For example, a quarterback tackle below the knees draws a penalty.

Aside from that, player position and jersey number alignment are mostly a matter of custom, tradition, and personal preferences, and most quarterbacks wear iconic numbers. Take a peek.

How do quarterbacks pick their numbers?

The vast majority of sports allow star athletes to choose any number they like – and they often choose small numbers because of prestige.

However, in the NFL, numbers are assigned to players per position, limiting their options. This is in accordance with Rule 5, Section 3, Article 3c.

Kickers and quarterbacks can wear numbers one through 19. Wide receivers can pick from 10-19 if the range 80-89 is already assigned.

If it happens that all numbers in the 10-19 and 80-89 ranges have already been taken, then the wide receiver can pick single-digit numbers.

For example, in the 2009 preseason, Baltimore Ravens running back Biren Ealy donned a single-digit number. Runners and defensive backs can pick from 20-49.

Like other football groups, the NCAA gives its players a number on their jerseys. Generally, offensive players can only play specific positions.

Using the numbering system, referees can identify illegally lined-up players easily.

The system assigns numbers as follows (1 – 49) for Quarterbacks and running backs, (50 – 59) for Centers, (60 – 69) for Guards, (70 – 79) for Tackles, and (80 – 99) for Tight ends and wide receivers

There are no uniform jersey number restrictions in high school football, except they must be between 1 and 99.

So, in theory, 99 is the biggest number a high school quarterback can wear. That’s because here, players pick jerseys that fit them more as opposed to those that correspond to their specific position.

Why do most quarterbacks pick the number 12?

During the Lombardi Trophy era, number 12 grew in popularity.

Children who grew up during the Bob Griese, Terry Bradshaw, and Roger Staubach eras came to appreciate the number “12” more than the big red “S.” It’s for that reason you’ll see quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady wear the 12. They consider it sacred.

What happens when a player changes position?

During a career in the NFL, it is possible for a player to change their jersey digit number if they change their position and are no longer in their former category. If so, a new jersey number must be assigned.

The Commissioner must also approve any request to be assigned a number for a unique position not specified previously (e.g., the H-back)

It costs money to change one’s number in the NFL. Any player who wants to switch his number must buy all the remaining in-stock NFL jerseys bearing his number; this means he must buy all his jerseys on sale at Nike Stores or Dick’s Sporting Goods. We have written an article about if quarterbacks can wear any number of their choice. You can read it here..

Depending on the remaining in-stock jerseys across the country, the cost can reach millions of dollars.

What happens when a club has a large roaster?

Exceptions to this rule do occur during the preseason when clubs have massive roasters. They may give players similar numbers or even temporarily deviate from the numbering system. All clubs must, however, observe this rule during regular and postseason.

If clubs have fewer numbers in circulation, they can unretire old numbers and also approve initially withheld numbers.

Wrap up

Uniform numbers in American football are unusual compared to those in other sports. Depending on the level of the sport, there may be restrictions on which numbers QBs may wear.

Currently, football players are required to pick a jersey number between 1 and 99, and it must not be the same as that of a teammate on the same field at the same time.

But in the NFL and NCAA, QBs can only pick a jersey number from 1-19 and 1-49, respectively.

Most QBs prefer single-digit numbers, though, for various reasons: Try to ask your favorite QB the next time you spot them on the field after their game.