The National Football League has set a new rule that will force the New England Patriots to change their offseason training routine.
According to a report by ESPN’s Mike Reiss, the NFL has issued a new rule that prohibits players from wearing numberless jerseys during the Phase 3 of the offseason program which includes Organized Team Activities and Minicamps in order to “ensure clubs are in compliance with workplace rules.”
The new rule was also instituted to help the National Football League Players Association monitor every player’s participation during training and on-field sessions.
The New England Patriots have been practicing during the offseason with numberless jerseys since 2012, and the new NFL rule will bring a dramatic change to the Patriot’s tradition.
Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick preferred the players train without numbers in their jerseys because it enables the players to communicate and to identify each other without depending entirely on jersey numbers.
Belichick acquired the numberless jersey tactic from Chuck Noll who coached the Pittsburgh Steelers for 23 seasons from 1969 to 1991.
Patriots’ defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said in 2014 that “We’re working on communication and talking, getting used to hearing each other’s voices and understanding how people move.
Last year, the NFL also changed a rule about jerseys that hugely concerned the New England Patriots, which was about eligible receivers being prohibited from wearing ineligible numbers. The Patriots used the trick play on their game against the Baltimore Ravens which upset and caught the Ravens off guard.
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/ Keith Allison