NFL rule changes: Players can now wear No. 0, and one already says he'll do it
The league's annual meetings also saw replay, penalty and roster transaction deadline changes.
The NFL had a productive Tuesday at its annual owners meetings in Phoenix as it announced the approval of myriad changes.
In arguably the most stirring development, players will now be allowed to wear No. 0.
The Philadelphia Eagles proposed the change earlier this month, building on the Kansas City Chiefs' resolution to allow most non-linemen to wear numbers 1-49 in 2021.
College football has permitted players to wear No. 0 since the 2020 season. Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Devin Lloyd, for example, wore No. 0 while at Utah before shifting to 33 in the NFL — but he won't be the first NFL player to wear No. 0 or 00 since 1981.
New teammate Calvin Ridley is the first player to claim the newly available number in 2023, the Jaguars announced quickly after the updated rules were announced Tuesday. He previously wore 18 for the Atlanta Falcons.
Calvin Ridley will wear No. 0. #DUUUVAL pic.twitter.com/Recqc0Jgf9
— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) March 28, 2023
Now, quarterbacks can choose from numbers 0-19, while defensive backs can select between 0-49. Meanwhile fullbacks, tight ends, H-backs and wide receivers have access to 0-49 and 80-89. Linebackers are offered 0-59 and 90-99. Offensive linemen remain restricted between 50-79, while defensive linemen can wear 50-79 and 90-99.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons shared his plans to join Ridley in the jersey-change action. "I'm switching!" Agent 0 coming soon!" he tweeted Tuesday.
Im switching!! Agent 0 coming soon! https://t.co/G10PkKM0oy
— Micah Parsons (@MicahhParsons11) March 28, 2023
The updated rule also allows kickers and punters to wear to 0-49 and 90-99, expanded from the previous range of 1-19.
Owners approved multiple rule changes and bylaws
In addition to spicing up player number options, NFL owners approved plenty more rule changes, bylaws and resolutions.
Twenty-five of the 32 teams moved to "establish one preseason roster reduction date and related procedures." Now, teams will be required to go from 90 to 53 players after the final preseason game.
The Buffalo Bills' resolution to make the regular season and postseason roster transaction deadlines the same. The transaction deadline for Saturday night postseason games is now 4 p.m. ET, on Saturday
The Los Angeles Chargers proposed an adjustment of the play clock following an instant replay. With its approval, adjustment of the play clock after a replay will be consistent with other timing rules. The team resolution to "provide greater clarity as to a player's availability for a game," was also approved.
As proposed by the Houston Texans, replay officials will now have the power to allow reviews on failed fourth down attempts.
The league's competition committee, which consists of 10 head coaches, owners and executives, is responsible for reviewing all facets of the game to make changes.
After its analysis of the rules, the committee has changed the definition of "launch" to mean leaving with one or both feet and the penalty for tripping is a personal foul. Illegally handing the ball forward, illegal forward passes and illegal punts, drop kicks, or placekicks are now penalized equally.
When examining bylaws, the committee determined strength of victory should become the second tiebreaker for awarding contracts. Postseason rosters will also now be frozen at 4 p.m. ET on the Friday and Saturday of the last week of the regular season. Also, the claiming period for players who are waived on the Friday and Saturday of the last week of the regular season is now Monday.