The 2023 annual NFL owners meetings in Arizona have concluded, and with rule changes on the docket, players now being allowed to wear No. 0 has become the big talking point. With some players already jumping on board the new trend, what is the latest on the No. 0 situation, and which players would make the most sense to change their jersey number to zero for the 2023 season and beyond?
NFL To Allow Jersey No. 0 in 2023
No. 0 is coming to an NFL stadium near you. On Tuesday, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported that NFL owners had just approved the proposal to allow players to wear No. 0 on their jerseys starting in 2023.
Shortly after, a full breakdown of the new rule was released. As part of the 2023 playing rules proposal submitted by the Philadelphia Eagles, the NFL has granted permission to use the No. 0 on uniforms. The only players who are excluded from consideration are offensive and defensive linemen, with OL players taking between 50 to 79 and DL getting 50 to 79 and 90 to 99 as options.
Here is a full breakdown of what number each position can wear:
- Quarterbacks: 0-19
- Running Backs, Fullbacks, H-Backs, and Wide Receivers: 0-49 and 80-89
- Offensive Linemen: 50-79
- Defensive Linemen: 50-79 and 90-99
- Linebackers: 0-59 and 90-99
- Defensive Backs: 0-49
- Punters and Placekickers: 0-49 and 90-99
While the NFL sites the reasoning for this change being flexibility in assigning jersey numbers, can we just admit that it looks cool and let that be enough of a reason on its own?
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The No. 0 is prevalent across other sports. College football has allowed players to wear zero since the 2020 season, and in some schools, it is a revered and special number, like No. 7 for LSU or No. 1 for Michigan.
In basketball, it’s become iconic for some players, including Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard, Robert Parish, Jayson Tatum, Carmelo Anthony, and even “Agent Zero” Gilbert Arenas.
Now NFL players are jumping on to the trend, with Calvin Ridley being the first to announce the switch publicly, and recently acquired New York Giants wide receiver Parris Campbell will also be transitioning to No. 0 in 2023.
Now a new crop of players in the NFL will leave their mark on the history of the No. 0 jersey as it returns to action for the first time since Jim Otto rocked the double zero last worn in 1973.
Which Current NFL Players Should Wear No. 0 in 2023?
A.J. Brown, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
For one, you have to be a playmaker to wear the No. 0 NFL jersey. Plain and simple. You can’t be slow and wear a fast number.
The first person I’m giving the No. 0 jersey to is A.J. Brown, which is fitting because Philadelphia was the team to submit this proposal. However, it just makes sense.
Brown is one of the most physically imposing wide receivers in the NFL. He’s coming off a career-best season in which he helped lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl with 88 receptions on 146 targets for 1,496 yards (fourth) and 11 touchdowns (tied second).
Jalen Hurts fittingly is already wearing No. 1, and it makes too much sense not to have Brown — the Eagles’ top playmaker — wearing the No. 0 jersey in 2023.
Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons
Kyle Pitts is unquestionably one of the league’s top receiving talents. It just didn’t materialize in his second year. After becoming the first tight end in over 50 years to have 1,000 receiving yards as a rookie, Pitts was a significant disappointment in 2022, finishing with 28 receptions for 356 yards and two touchdowns while missing the last six games of the season due to a torn MCL.
Yet, the damage was done by a struggling Atlanta offense. But Pitts is still an absolute unicorn. From size, skill, and unprecedented athleticism, he’s a unicorn in every sense of the word. I don’t mind the No. 8 he has on already. I mean, it’s just a zero with a line through the middle of it, after all.
But Pitts needs a fresh start. With all the expectations pointing towards a massive 2023 season for the third-year tight end, Pitts could do it in style by wearing No. 0 for Atlanta. It would be the top-selling Falcons jersey and seen all over the ATL in no time.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
The NFL has never been short on drama, and that’s especially the case for the 2023 offseason. Where is the competition between Lamar Jackson and Aaron Rodgers on who can steal the headlines on a particular day?
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Jackson is in the middle of a very public contract negotiation in which he is representing himself. And in the eyes of several you find online, he appears like the bad guy in all of this. I could not be more opposed to that opinion.
Whether it’s in Baltimore or even somewhere else, there is no denying the appeal of watching Jackson wind around and through defenses with the No. 0 on his chest. He was built for it. I’d also throw in Rashod Bateman into the mix, as Bateman wore No. 0 while at Minnesota.
Jalen Ramsey, CB, Miami Dolphins
Jalen Ramsey is one of the greatest cornerbacks of his generation. A three-time All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowler, Ramsey did see some regression in his numbers in 2022. Yet, 2023 represents a new chapter for someone who is still largely considered one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.
The Los Angeles Rams agreed to trade Ramsey to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for TE Hunter Long and a 2023 third-round pick (No. 77). Ramsey joins a roster that has been aggressively rebuilt in recent years, including the additions of Tyreek Hill and Bradley Chubb. After making multiple salary-clearing moves, the addition of Ramsey with fellow cornerback Xavien Howard makes this one of the best defenses in all of the NFL.
Someone who has no issue being the bad guy on the field, Ramsey would be a perfect fit to wear No. 0 in 2023 as it opens a new chapter in his career.
Jack Jones, CB, New England Patriots
Sure, Jack Jones probably wasn’t the first name you thought of when the news was announced. However, Jones, who is coming off his rookie year, might already be in the process of trying to make the switch as we speak.
Coming off his rookie season, where he wore No. 13, the NFL rule change was certainly not missed by Jones, who tweeted out his excitement onto social media. Jones has ties to No. 0 too. While initially wearing 21 when he arrived at Arizona State, he switched to zero for the 2020 and 2021 campaigns. He liked it so much that Jones changed his Twitter name to “0” and wrote “Agent Zero” in his Twitter bio.
Jones went on to clarify why he switched in 2020, saying that “it represents where I am from. I want to retire the number. I want to be the first guy to ever do it and the last guy to ever do it.”
The chance is now. While we’ll have to see where Jones’ career takes him, he can do it with the number zero on his chest wherever he goes.
Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers
This is another one of those “yeah, I see it” picks. Deebo Samuel set the NFL on fire in 2021. Playing more of a “wide back” role for the 49ers, Samuel did it all, catching 77 of 121 targets for 1,405 receiving yards with six touchdowns and also leading the league with 59 rushing attempts for 365 yards and an all-time best eight rushing touchdowns.
2022 wasn’t quite as explosive, but Samuel still recorded over 850 scrimmage yards with five touchdowns while dealing with a few nagging injuries. Samuel has made the No. 19 his own, but it feels fitting for the “positionless” player to have a jersey that matches his out-of-the-box skill set.