The Best Player Wearing Each NFL Jersey Number

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The Best Player Wearing Each NFL Jersey Number
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Numbers help define the game of football.

It goes beyond the basic numbers that describe the game—the down, the distance, the box score. It goes beyond just statistics like "1,000-yard rusher" or "100-catch receiver." It goes beyond phrases like "three yards and a cloud of dust" or "it's a game of inches."

Yes, even jersey numbers help define a game as images of notable and favorite players get burned into our consciousness. For a game that covers the faces of its athletes, the numbers on the jersey become how we identify the players we care about.

It's a league where Chad Johnson literally changed his name to "Ochocinco" in a failed attempt to translate his number—85—into Spanish. It's a league where "16 throws to 80" conjures up instant memories of Joe Montana throwing a strike across the middle to Jerry Rice for the 49ers. It's a league where veterans and rookies haggle over jersey numbers and barter them like expensive wares. 

Years from now, many of the players we know and love will come back to the stadiums where they spent their careers and be immortalized by having their jersey and number hung from a rafter and retired from use. That number will stand as a monument for all to see—and represent all of the joy and success that athlete brought to his city.

With that in mind, here is the best player wearing each jersey number in the NFL today.

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