DYM OFF SEASON SPECIAL EDITION: COOL NUMBERS / UGLY NUMBERS
Today’s athletes are embracing their celebrity status more than ever before, but building their "personal brand" must begin on the field. One element of this process that we’ve discussed a lot over the last couple years is Cool Jersey Numbers. Players know that jersey sales are big money. They also know that that means people are wearing these numbers everyday. The guys in the DYM household are big jersey wearers so we understand how crucial number aesthetics are. But on a personal level, as a young player, your jersey number might be the first impression a lot of people get of you, and if they become your fan, they will make that number their own as well. This is true in every pro sport, but the jersey is especially important for a football player’s brand. In the NFL, personal expression is still mostly illegal, and fans can’t even see the players’ faces, so choosing a cool looking jersey is both the first and the most important decision that a young player will ever make.
A CAUTIONARY TALE:
Folks, meet Jaylen Samuels.
Jaylen is Leve'on Bell’s new backup.
Maybe you're thinking“Hey DYM, I'm an avid Fantasy Football player. Why haven't I ever heard of him?”
Well, look no further than his jersey number.
2017 was a rookie RB renaissance and the rookies in this year’s class could be even better. That's why it's so disappointing to see a rookie RB squander such an ideal marketing opportunity. He's been drafted into one of the premier offensive units in the National Football League. He's about to be thrust into the prime-time spot-light – If L’eveon keeps holding out he could be doing pre-season touchdown dances with JuJu in a few weeks! But nobody wants to see dudes out there dancing around in a big ugly #38, yuck.
It's not entirely his fault though:
The Steelers are a fashion-forward club. They have one of the league’s Classic uniforms, the black-on-white is so clean, so they have to be very jersey-number-conscious. The Steelers currently have a player wearing every number 20-29, and only one "Cool Number" is currently available for new Steeler RBs (32). In retrospect, he should have grabbed that trey deuce. But for Jaylen, a college FB/H-Back, it was probably a dream come true to get ANY number under 40.
Best of luck, to you, young man. But that big ugly number won’t buy you any good will from fans or in the locker room. Jaylen will have to earn his respect, and we fear it will be a long and difficult road for him.
WHICH NUMBERS ARE COOL?
Now, for the first time ever, the DYM Style Section is proud to present the DEFINITIVE cool numbers / ugly numbers list for 2018!!
Keep this list handy when you’re doing your fantasy draft research. Cool numbers, dreadlocks and funny names are the keys to success in today’s game!
Why are jersey numbers so important to NFL players? Well, put yourself in their shoes. Image you’re an NFL player:
It's Monday, week 5. Another punishing game has taken a heavy toll, and the bye week is still three weeks away. Both body and mind crave rest but sleep will not come. Now you’re sitting in a dark room with the shades drawn and a white noise machine turned all the way up to block out the tinnitus ringing in your head. The only light in the room is a digital clock, but on sleepless nights like this those little white bars spelling out 12:59 might as well be a Cape Cod Lighthouse on your dresser. You’re praying for 1:00 to arrive just for a modicum of relief from the migraine inducing light.
If you’re a WR, wearing a number in the upper 80's could be an occupational hazard for your QB!
As a general rule, lower numbers are better looking. The typography of Arabic Numerals tends to increase in intricacy as the numbers ascend. 1 and 0 are clean, nice looking numbers; 6, 8 and 9 are too busy, always tough on the eyes. We’re going for a subtle, minimalist aesthetic, and the higher numbers, especially any with 8's or 9's look bigger and denser than the 1's or even 2's.
It's especially hard out here for TEs and RBs. Pretty much all their numbers are big. We guess most TEs think wearing a number in the 80's makes them look like a WR. In today's positionless game, we'd like to see more TEs with 40's numbers. It's a fresh look for a TE, but RBs have better options. RBs are generally better off with something in the 20's but we don’t really like 28 or 29 that much. One weird trick that these guys can employ is the double-digit. 88 is by far the coolest number in the 80's, likewise 33 and 44 are cool despite their gaudy size.
QBs and Kickers get all the coolest numbers. In college everybody wants single digit numbers and anybody can get em. They are coveted by all positions on offense and defense. On most college teams #'s 1-9 are all starters. In the NFL the closest anyone gets to those sought-after single digits are the WRs with “QB numbers”. A QB Number is any number under 20, so most players just want them cause they're easy on the eyes. But one unintended consequence of the NFL jersey numbering system is that the numbers most often worn by QBs have come to be seen as a symbol of leadership. They are a badge of honor for the game’s most respected and heralded players.
BEST JERSEY NUMBER: THE DOZEN
Overall, 12 is the best number you can have. Not because it’s the really the coolest looking number (that’s 1, obviously), but because of its history. Some of the game’s all-time greatest field generals have donned THE DOZEN. In every generation of the NFL the best QBs have always worn 12. First it was Staubach, Bradshaw, Namath and Greise. Doug Williams took the torch in the 80’s and passed it off to Randall Cunningham and Jim Kelly. Even today the number 12 is only worn by the greatest champions of the game – Colt McCoy, Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady – All Future Hall of Famers.
It’s like the 23 in basketball or the 42 in baseball, it’s an indelible piece of the game’s history. The look is always iconic, and always commands respect. That’s why the 12 is for Leaders. Whether you’re a QB or a WR when you put on that #12, you better be ready to put the whole team on your back too.