Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley will wear a different uniform starting with the 2020 season. He’ll return to wearing number 11—the same number he wore for some time while at SMU and during his tenure with the Dallas Cowboys.
Buying player jerseys can be an exhausting and expensive hobby. Consider all the people who went out and bought C.J. Spiller jerseys when the team already had Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson on the team. That jersey was doomed from the beginning. I also think back to when Cornelius Bennett changed his number from 55 (worn his first three seasons) to the now-iconic 97 in the 1990 season. That wasn’t the first time it happened (consider O.J. Simpson first wearing 36), but it was the first time I really thought about how much it stunk for people who bought the initial jersey.
Certainly a fair number of fans will be less-than-enthusiastic wearing what could look like a bootleg Beasley 10 jersey. Of course, there’s nothing we can do to prevent a player from changing their number once the league has approved it. There are, however, several options to ease the pain of your jersey’s relevancy loss.
The nameplate option: We’ve all seen it—the fan in the stands wearing what is obviously a modified jersey, with an older style jersey and a recent player’s nameplate sewn over the guy who’s been jettisoned or otherwise.
The halvsies option: You’ve probably seen it once or twice. Often with a guy’s college and pro jersey. Jim Kelly Miami (or Houston Gamblers) / Buffalo Bills. This option won’t work too well for Beasley unless you choose “01.”
The custom jersey: Yup, we’re talking things like #notmyqb #OdoyleRules #beerme #yournamehere
The ritual sacrifice: So you say you’ve got a bonfire coming up? It’s at the next Bills tailgate? Even better! Allow all your anger and rage over buying Edwards/Losman/Manuel jerseys to burn away as you watch their jerseys go up in flames—just as their careers did. But that’s probably best served for exorcising any football demons left in those Tom Brady New England Patriots 12s.*
The don’t buy any jerseys option: There are enough clothing options for fans. You don’t need to own a jersey to prove you’re a fan. I’ve seen it many times where people feel adults who aren’t professional athletes look somewhat silly wearing jerseys in public. Places like 26shirts make awesome limited-edition threads with a portion of their proceeds going to support very important causes and organizations. Just do everyone a favor and don’t show up naked. Also, be sure to keep whatever your’re wearing as a base layer on as a base layer.
My rules of thumb: For me, it’s simple—only buy jerseys of players who are franchise and or NFL legends. The list is far too long, but throwback players like Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, Steve Tasker, Joe DeLamielleure, Fred Smerlas, Will Wolford, Cookie Gilchrist, etc. are always wise choices. But maybe they played in an era far too long ago for you to remember. That’s why players such as Kyle Williams and Fred Jackson remain popular options with the fan base. While their careers may not have been Hall-of-Fame worthy, these are the players who will always be among the finest to don a Bills uniform in the 21st century. I fully expect Tre’Davious White to join this group.
If buying a custom-made or premium-level HOF jersey isn’t in the cards for you, there’s also the clearance option. Look, we all have jerseys that aren’t relevant any longer. Many of us even paid a lot of money for them not just once or twice, but several times. It’s still okay to wear those jerseys, obviously, but I choose only to buy jerseys of players when they’ve been put on clearance.
Please, don’t wear a Cowboys Beasley 11 to the stadium—or if you do, make sure you paint it to resemble Buffalo red, white, and blue. Seriously, it will go over a lot better if you deface and wear it. Bills fans like to have a good time, but don’t let it be at your expense! As for that irrelevant Rob Johnson or Willis McGahee jersey that’ll never leave your closet?
It’s possible the novel coronavirus pandemic means we won’t have the opportunity to show off our Bills clothes in a game setting for a while. Now may just be the perfect time to make those jersey modifications you’ve had in mind. So how do you feel about Beasley wearing 11, especially if you purchased his 10? Do you have any jersey regrets and, if so, how have you handled them...if at all? Also, what’s the best custom jersey you’ve ever seen, whether awesome or hilarious, or otherwise?
*Buffalo Rumblings and its writers do not support or endorse pyromania, unless it’s by Def Leppard.