Numbers Game: The best Nos. 1-9 in the NFL today


Certain players are simply synonymous with certain numbers. It’s hard to see No. 4 without thinking of Brett Favre. Seven will always be John Elway. A pair of twos right next to each other is Emmitt Smith. And the sight of 56 conjures up memories of Lawrence Taylor.

Those are some of the all-time greats, players who have etched their names in the NFL’s history books. But there are plenty of guys today who are on their way to that type of football immortality, the best in the game who are creating their own legacies.

Are they good enough to become forever linked with their jersey number, however? That’s a level of greatness that few achieve.

To start answering this question, the editors at cover32 first set out to determine who the best players are in 2014 based on numbers. From 1-99, we’ve selected the player who is most synonymous with that particular digit as of right now.

Are they destined to become an all-time great? Only time will tell. But here’s who is on track at the moment.


1 – Cam Newton

The fun-loving Newton is No. 1

For some reason, the former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and No. 1 overall pick in 2011 still rubs plenty of fans the wrong way. But in only three seasons, he’s already established himself as a franchise quarterback. His unique combination of passing and running makes him tough to defend, giving the Panthers offense an added dimension. And in 2013, he proved he could win, leading Carolina to a 12-4 season and the NFC South title.

2 – Matt Ryan

Ryan’s winning percentage is hard to top

Heading into last season, Ryan boasted a glossy 56-22 record during his first five seasons in the league. That was diminished, however, by his inability to win in the playoffs, as the Falcons have flamed out in the postseason every year under their young quarterback. Throw in last season’s 4-12 debacle and Ryan is almost off of everyone’s radar, a pocket passer in an era when everyone seems to be going to more mobile QBs. But he’s still a great player.


Previous articlePower Rankings: How all 32 teams in the NFL stack up after Week 15
Next articleHeroes and Goats: Five who did and didn't shine in Week 2 of the NFL season
  • Nick Rothschild

    Mike Vick wore #7 throughout his career, not #8

    • StickyFingers

      YardBarker is pathetic.

  • Nick Rothschild

    JK, I should probably learn how to read. My bad!

  • Tristan Cook

    Vick is wearing No. 1 in New York

    • c32admin

      Good catch. Thanks.

  • Marcus

    This list is 99% similar to the list Sporting News just released. The only difference so far is #4, they have adam vinatieri who has more rings than the other kicker.

  • george dawes

    Are you kidding me? How many superbowl rings does that San Fran guy have? #7 is Big Ben

    • Billy K

      Come crunch time who do you want Big Ben or Colin, I take Ben anyday

      • Billy Dawes

        Agreed in clutch moments you don’t want Chokernick just look at the last two years. The Choke and The Choke pt 2

      • Jack K

        I agree. Article probably written by a 20 year old, who doesn’t know established players who have played a decade or more. Big Ben would be my choice.

  • StickyFingers

    Apparently somebody clueless is writing about Jay Cutler. Saying that he tapped out of the 2010 championship game insinuates that he gave up or quit. HE WAS INJURED ! ! ! ! Yet another reason why Lovie Smith and his staff were fired. They didn’t put it out there that he WAS seriously injured. Enough not able to run. And with that offensive line he had, he’d have to run a lot.

  • Gutzz

    What has kapernick done? What has Ben done? Who’s the better number 7? No comparison. Big Ben is the better #7 with what he has had to work with.

  • brent

    Kap more dangerous then Ben. Is this a joke? Look at their stats its no where close.

  • bob

    Drew Breeeeeeesus!!! Best. #9. Ever.
    Who Dat Baby!?!?!

  • Gizzy

    No Ben??? yawn…..

  • Anonymous

    How is kaptindick better then Big Ben . Bens a future hall of famer as long as the voters aren’t as anti pittsburgh as espn And the other members of the media. We shouldn’t get upset seeing as the puppet that wrote this knows nothing about football. Rankings don’t even matter anyway. it only matters to the stupid media.when it comes down to it kapernick will never win a Super Bowl and Big Ben will win at least one more to cement his hall of fame career.

  • D a z

    If Big Ben is not the number 7 choice, what other idiot mistakes are in your number system. What a joke.

  • John

    I never comment to articles on the net, but please, the author should know his facts. Drew Brees wears #9 because of his boyhood idol Ted Williams. Stafford wanted to wear 7 because of Elway. Romo is the only one to wear 9 because of Roy Hobbs.

  • cre0530

    Picking Kaepernick over Ben means you lose 10 out of 10 times. With the picks your writers selected you should stay with soccer or possibly badminton as you don’t know much about football.

  • Christine Siims

    Looks like your a bit of a hater, too. Cutler did not tap out smart ass, he had a sever knee injury. No matter what he does the haters will say something. Since Sid Luckman can’t be reincarnated, my question to you and the other haters is, if not Cutler, who. Cutler is the best quarterback we have had since Sid Luckman, so give him a break and some respect

  • Christine Siims

    And number 54 should be Mike Singletary. He has a Superbowl ring and should have had to more but that wasn’t the defense’s fault