The NFL is actually having some fun for once and letting players wear basically whatever number they want starting this season. There are some limitations, but the limits have been expanded and this year you'll see plenty of defensive lineman and wide receivers wearing single-digit numbers previously reserved for specialists and quarterbacks.
Reception was generally positive when the rule change was announced. Tom Brady, though, is a capital-H hater of this new rule. He's expressed his displeasure in public more often than he's expressed anything in public over the last two decades of professional football.
Why does Brady dislike this rule so much? He believes it'll make it difficult for offensive linemen to correctly identify who to block when making adjustments at the line. It's a simple thing that seems like it can be overcome by the high collective intelligence required to play offensive line at the professional level, but he seriously won't drop it.
In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times earlier this week, he likened the rule change to if the NFL let offensive linemen wear tight end numbers and defenses wouldn't know who was eligible. Which, again, seems like a fairly easy obstacle to overcome with some study, but Brady is utterly convinced he's right. He went even further today in a podcast appearance and got all existentialist about it.
"What's even a jersey, man?" Tom Brady asks as he exhales.
It's a weird hill for the Hall of Fame quarterback to die on. But here we are.