What’s the most popular jersey number in the NFL?


They say the NFL is a copycat league, but does that adage apply to uniform numbers? Apparently so. With 32 teams each comprising 53 roster spots, there’s bound to be some overlap, though inevitably, some jersey numbers are more popular than others. However, the number most prevalent among NFL players might surprise you.

According to William Ricks—with an assist from ESPN’s Stats and Research department—the league’s most popular uniform number is 26, worn by former Offensive Rookie of the Year Saquon Barkley and Washington Pro Bowler Landon Collins, among others. In fact, the only team without a No. 26 is the Las Vegas Raiders.

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The NFL relaxed its uniform rules this season (a change many have found jarring), but prior to that, 26 had been reserved exclusively for running backs and defensive backs. The No. 2 is similarly well-represented with 28 players—tied with Nos. 23 and 25 for second-most—donning that digit including Matt Ryan and his former Falcons teammate Julio Jones, who adopted the number upon joining the Titans this summer.

The least-worn number among current NFLers? A quick scroll through Pro Football Reference turned up the No. 83, worn by just 10 active players, the most notable being Darren Waller of the Raiders, who led all tight ends with 107 catches last season. Bucs veteran Tom Brady, perhaps the most vocal opponent of the league’s new stance on uniform numbers, will be one of 13 players donning 12 in 2021.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Elsa, Getty Images