Folks, welcome to the numerical revolution.
After the league approved a significant change to its previously restrictive jersey numbering system, some initial excitement over potential number changes was tempered when those players learned how much it would cost them to buy out the existing stock of their jerseys. But rookies are exempt from this obligation, because they didn't have jerseys to print -- until now.
Come one, come all for the grand reveal of this nation's first big-time tight end to wear a single digit: Falcons rookie Kyle Pitts!
Fellow rookie Ja'Marr Chase, who went No. 5 overall to the Bengals, joined Pitts in the single-number shift, keeping the No. 1 he wore at LSU and held up on the stage Thursday night in Cleveland. The team announced his number choice Friday.
Is Pitts' move unsettling, if not nauseating to tight end traditionalists? Sure. Does it make one initially believe Pitts is a quarterback, when in reality, he is not? Are the Matt Schaub diehards weeping softly in their dimly lit corners of retirement?
These are questions you, the reader and fan, will have to answer. I, for one, am having a hard time adjusting to what I'll be seeing this fall. Pitts, the No. 4 overall pick, is undoubtedly a superior athlete who will look great in eight -- it's just going to be tough identifying him as a tight end coming out of the huddle in that single digit for a bit of time.
Eventually, though, we'll all adjust and move beyond it. And all the while, those No. 8 Pitts and No. 1 Chase jerseys will fly off the shelves. Welcome to the new era.