Steelers WR George Pickens should take advantage of new jersey rule change
By Tommy Jaggi
A jersey number obviously has no barring on the performance of a player. Number 43 wasn't cool until Troy Polamalu put it on the map. Meanwhile, plenty of other numbers are worn out and overused while others carry a negative connotation as they remind of you past failures and busted picks. You might be thinking of a few examples already as it relates to the Pittsburgh Steelers. That has a chance to change.
Recently, NFL coaches, executives, and owners got together for the annual NFL owners meeting in which they discuss potential rule changes for player safety and how to improve the game. On March 28th, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network announced that NFL owners have just approved the proposal to allow players to wear 'number zero.'
This is a very interesting opportunity for players to stand out in a new light. Like most NFL teams, the Steelers have some legendary numbers. The Rooney's no longer hand out the numbers 12, 43, or 75 (among others) to new players. Adding the number 'zero' will allow a player to carve a new path.
This will mark the first time since 1973 that NFL players will be allowed to wear the number zero. The only player to ever wear this jersey number for the Pittsburgh Steelers was Johnny Clement all the way back in 1946 to 1948 -- earning him the nickname 'Mr. Zero.'
George Pickens should wear 'number zero' for Steelers
With a chance to make history, there is likely to be a handful of players from each team who have an interest in switching to number zero. Some players may have worn it in college, while others may simply want to be the first to the punch. Players about to enter their new teams following the 2023 NFL Draft could do the same.
While there are a few players on the team I wouldn't mind seeing in number zero, George Pickens is the guy who should make the switch. Personally, I think the numbers in the teens are getting grossly overused in recent years, and Pickens' current 'number 14' holds a negative stigma. If anything, it's the opposite. The last few players to wear 14 for the Steelers were underwhelming receivers like Ray-Ray McCloud, Sammie Coates, Derek Moye, and Limas Sweed.
Though Pickens has a chance to right the wrongs when it comes to the number 14 in Pittsburgh, I would love to see him start fresh and carve a new path with 'number zero.' After a tremendous rookie year, Pickens will have a chance to emerge as a number one receiver and his innate ability to create splash plays means he would wear it well.
For those hoping to see a big trench player sporting the number zero, you're going to have to be patient. Right now, the only positions permitted to wear jersey number zero are quarterbacks, kickers, defensive backs, running backs, fullbacks, tight ends, wide receivers, and linebackers. It will be interesting to see who winds up with this number in black and gold, but I'd love to see it on George Pickens.