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Is it legal within the NFL and NCAA rules that the main passer is assigned a halfback or fullback number on the team while the running back is assigned to the quarterback one? For example, could Tom Brady, a quarterback, be assigned the number 20, which is reserved for running backs (and defensive backs)?

  • The QB plays HB/FB for a play or the whole game? – New-To-IT Dec 21 '15 at 14:20
  • @New-To-IT For the whole season – SMS von der Tann Dec 21 '15 at 14:21
  • You can play any player at any position you want. Just because they have been a QB doesn't mean they always have to be a QB. Lot's of QB's end up playing TE, or WR, etc. Plus if a QB plays a whole season as a RB, he'd no longer be considered a QB, he'd be considered a RB. – New-To-IT Dec 21 '15 at 20:10
  • @New-To-IT I think you are somewhat misunderstanding what I am saying, I am asking about roster-labeling the RB as QB and the passer as HB or FB. – SMS von der Tann Dec 22 '15 at 1:08
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    Oh you never mentioned numbers in the original post, so no way I could have known. My apologies – New-To-IT Dec 22 '15 at 13:59
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The NFL rulebook states in Rule 5, Section 1, Article 2:

All players must wear numerals on their jerseys in accordance with Rule 5, Section 4, Article 3, Item 3. Such numerals must be by playing position

followed by a list of positions and allowed numbers. (Rule 5, Section 4, Article 3, Item 2 specifies the size etc of numbers on jerseys). Therefore any player who is not wearing an appropriate number is in violation of the rules - however, the rules give no indication of what should happen if a player is wearing the wrong number, but my suspicion is that the NFL would simply not allow the player to be registered with that number.

There is a proviso in the same article that a player who changes position during their career is allowed to keep the same number, so long as they played at least one season in their original position and are not moving from an "eligible receiver" position to an "ineligible receiver" position or vice versa.

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