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Reggie Bush: punter

Posted by Doug on May 5, 2006

Friday is the day for meaningless banter. With that in mind, I offer this old story, which indicates that Reggie Bush wants to petition to be able to wear number 5 in the NFL.

NFL rules, however, don't allow for running backs to take that number -- 33 years ago the league adopted a numbering system to make it easier for officials to differentiate players by position.

Under the rule, quarterbacks, punters and placekickers wear numbers 1 through 19. Running backs and defensive backs are assigned 20 through 49, while wide receivers and tight ends are given numbers 80 through 89.

Here is my question: are "quarterbacks, punters and placekickers, . . . running backs and defensive backs, . . . wide receivers and tight ends" actually defined in the rules of football or the rules of the NFL? As far as I know, on any given play there are players who are eligible receivers and players who are not eligible receivers (and are therefore not eligible to be downfield on pass plays). I can understand wanting to have different sets of numbers for those two groups. But is there anything in the rules that distinguishes a running back from a wide receiver or a quarterback?

What if some team decides to get creative with someone like Vince Young or Matt Jones, line him up all over the field, have him take the snap some of the time but not at other times, hand off some of the time and get handed off to at other times, pass the ball sometimes and receive it sometimes? What number is he allowed to wear? What if they let Reggie take a snap and kneel down at the end of a preseason game? Or kick an extra point or do a quick-kick? Or what if they just list him as the fourth-string kicker? Can he wear #5 then?

I'm with you, Reggie.

As an aside, why doesn't some team --- I'm looking in your direction, Jim Mora, Jr. --- get creative with someone like Vince Young or Matt Jones or Michael Vick, line him up all over the field, have him take the snap some of the time but not at other times, hand off some of the time and get handed off to at other times, pass the ball sometimes and receive it sometimes? Assuming Matt Schaub really is a good quarterback, I wonder what Bill Cowher would do if he had Michael Vick and Matt Schaub on his team...

This entry was posted on Friday, May 5th, 2006 at 4:11 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.