The NFL will make a fashion statement in 2016. Or, at least a statement against fashion.
The league reportedly will outlaw players from wearing hooded sweatshirts under their jerseys. It’s a look Green Bay Packers receiver James Jones popularized last season. Jones wore a green hoodie underneath his No. 89 jersey, which draped over his shoulders and covered his nameplate.
The rule change, which some are calling the "James Jones rule," was first reported by former NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira, now a FOX Sports analyst.
Jones wore his hoodie in seven games last season. It debuted Nov. 22 at the Minnesota Vikings, when Jones caught six passes for 109 yards and a touchdown in a critical road win. His hoodie, which broke no NFL rule at the time, quickly went viral over social media.
Jones said he wasn’t wearing his hoodie to look cool. Quite the opposite, actually.
“When I went out there for warmups, I was warm,” Jones said after the game. “It’s a short-sleeve hoodie. I practice in it every day. I was like, practice how you play. It was team-issued colors, so I felt kind of swagged up out there with it. So I’m like, let me go out there and play with it. I was just hoping nobody would grab me from the back because they might treat it like (dreadlocks).”
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Jones’ hoodie quickly seemed to gain mythical powers. He went on to wear it in seven games counting playoffs, and not just to stay warm. Twice, Jones wore his hoodie at Arizona, an indoor stadium in the desert.
He had good reason to wear his hoodie. Jones played better with it than without it, or so legend became. In those seven games, Jones averaged 4.5 catches and 67 yards. Two of his three 100-yard games came with the hoodie.
In 11 games without the hoodie, Jones averaged 2.3 catches, 45.6 yards and had just one 100-yard game.
Jones is no longer under contract with the Packers, or any team. He is a free agent at 32 years old, and his future in the league is uncertain. Still, he’s left a mark on the rule book.
It’s an adjustment that will affect the Packers, even without Jones in their locker room. Fellow receiver Randall Cobb and Davante Adams started wearing the hoodie near the end of last season, showing support for Jones but also trying to have some of the good fortune rub off.