Redskins' Griffin will wear Roman numerals

May, 24, 2012
5/24/12
2:19
PM ET
Been getting a couple of complaints about this morning's post seeking input on the order for the Friday breakfast links. The sense among the complainers is that such a post is too frivolous and takes up time and space that could be devoted to more serious, on-field football issues.

To illustrate the way I feel about such complaints, I will now write a post about uniforms and Roman numerals.

Griffin III
If you've seen film from the Washington Redskins' offseason practices, you've no doubt noticed that rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III is wearing "GRIFFIN III" on the back of his jersey. You've likely not thought much about it, since that's what he wore on the back of his jersey in college. But Uni Watch tells us not only that Griffin will wear the name and numerals during the season, but that prior to this year, that would not have been permitted under NFL rules:
Near as Uni Watch can figure, this will mark the NFL's first instance of RNOB (that's short for "Roman numeral on back"; you can learn more about this and other uni-specific terms in the Uni Watch Glossary). In fact, as far as Uni Watch can tell, this will be the first case of RNOB in any of the Big Four professional leagues -- NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL. Yes, several college football and basketball players, including Griffin himself, have worn RNOB at the NCAA level, but never in the pros. So Griffin is breaking some serious new ground here.

Paul goes on to question whether Griffin's decision to wear the numerals has as much to do with the furthering of his personal brand as it does familial tribute, especially in light of his Adidas deal and the fact that their logo is three stripes. That's some serious Oliver Stone stuff right there, and kudos to Uni Watch for being willing to ask the tough uniform questions. I say could be, but one of the 17,000 Griffin stories to which I linked prior to the draft told of how Griffin started wearing the "III" on his jersey to honor his grandfather and that his father knew nothing about it until he saw him on the field with it on the back. So I'm not going to cast aspersions.

I also have a soft spot for these things. I've never used "Daniel Graziano III" as my byline even though that's my name, but I am proud of my numerals. They honor my father and help me remember my grandfather, and I think enough of the tradition that we named our first son Daniel IV. So I think it's cool that Griffin will wear them, and that the stodgy NFL will lighten up and allow him to.

In the same story, Paul reports that Redskins running back Roy Helu, Jr. will wear "HELU JR." on the back of his jersey this year, now that he's allowed to. I look forward to future updates on others taking advantage of this new rule.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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