The NFL is now the only big-four pro sports league in North America to not have a number retired throughout the league. The NBA retired Bill Russell’s No. 6 earlier this month after his death. Major League Baseball gave that honor to Jackie Robinson’s No. 42, while the NHL has barred anyone from donning Wayne Gretzky’s No. 99 again.
The NFL is the second-youngest of the four leagues only besting the NBA. And oddly enough, a league that’s constantly loaded with star power in the Super Bowl era doesn’t have a long list of names that jump out as distinct possibilities. The most popular sports league in America might not want to pursue this venture. But that doesn’t stop me.
I’ve narrowed the possibilities of worthy NFL league-wide jersey retirees to 10, some for obvious reasons, some with the same parallels made in other sports, and a few complex choices. One jersey retirement would be more for someone who never played a game in the NFL. Weird right? Well, let’s get started.