In a major overhaul to the National Football league (NFL) rules, on Tuesday the NFL owners introduced zero as a valid jersey number in position groups where wearing single digits are allowed. 

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, quarterbacks, defensive backs, running backs, fullbacks, tight ends, wide receivers and linebackers will be allowed to wear the number zero, per an amendment to Rule 5, Section 1, Article 2. All of these groups were previously assigned numbers one through nine.

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Reports state that the rule change was proposed by the Philadelphia Eagles, and Pelissero revealed that it was tabled first in the meeting to discuss plausible rule changes in the NFL. The reason cited for the change was to increase ‘flexibility in assigning jersey numbers.’

Jacksonville Jaguars’ wide receiver Calvin Ridley became among the first players in the league to switch to number zero.

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How will it affect the league? 

Although the NFL has a defined range of jersey numbers for each position, it has been more open in recent times to let players have their way. In fact, Jim Otto played for the Oakland Raiders from 1960 to 1974 wearing the iconic double-zero jersey. 

Then, Johnny Olszewski of the Pittsburgh Steelers (1953-1957) used to take the field wearing the number zero. Similarly, Ken Burrough wore the double zero during his time with the New Orleans Saints in 1981. 

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However, players tend to not choose the number zero and the lack of recent examples of players sporting it points at its unpopularity. With its reintroduction, a revival of the jersey number could be in the offing as more players are likely to take that number now, including those who will join the league in the upcoming NFL Draft.