That’s Enough Talk About Ty Montgomery’s Number

TyMo came into the league as a wide receiver and was issued the wide receiver number of 88.

Now he’s a running back, but doesn’t have to change his number.

I have news for everyone.

Brace yourself, you aren’t going to believe it.

You’d be less surprised if you woke up tomorrow with your head sewn to the carpet.

Ty Montgomery’s jersey isn’t a big deal.

No one’s number really is.

This number system started in the 1930’s to match the college approach to jersey numbers when teams switch from Single Wing to T Formation.

I don’t see how that impacts Ty Montgomery.

More recently, the numbers rules have been used to help identify positions to help the refs call penalities on ineligible receivers.

Backs and receivers can both legally catch and carry the ball, so that’s a moot point. Besides, ineligible receivers can report as eligible as long as the formation allows for it – meaning that the number means nothing, it’s all about where the player lines up.

Also, the rules (which are notoriously draconian when it comes to appearance, even down to which socks are league-approved and what hat you wear in your press conference) state that TyMo doesn’t have to change his number. Which is why this isn’t a controversy at all, just something to try to generate clicks in the NFL dead zone.

Here’s the real test: does any player or coach complain about this?


Just sportswriters?


When coaches game plan, they give precisely zero f#cks what number a player is wearing.

Do you know why?

Because it doesn’t matter.

Defenders know offensive players by body type. In the heat of the momemt, there’s no time to look at jersey numbers. Pre-snap, it’s something defenders can use to locate players, so maybe if someone changed their number every play it might be an issue, but you can still tell Jordy Nelson, Martellus Bennett, and Randall Cobb apart even if they switch numbers.

It doesn’t matter to the game, it only matters for fantasy designations and pot-stirring columnists with nothing better to write about.

How come no one throws a hissy fit about jersey numbers when Randall Cobb lines up in the backfield or Jeff Janis runs an end around?

Because, like The Rock said: it doesn’t matter!


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