Every number tells a story

Did you know that New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning had to bribe his team’s veteran punter Jeff Feagles in order to get his preferred jersey number (10) when he first came to the NFL?

Ben Ellenport's jersey number is a tribute to his dad... sort of.

As an NFL employee, Manning is not eligible to enter Reebok’s cool new contest in which fans are invited to upload pictures and explain why they chose the numbers they chose for their jerseys. Come to think of it, as an NFL employee myself, I’m not eligible, either. So I will tell my story here.

Actually, it’s my son’s story. Benjamin Ellenport, who is 5 (okay, five-and-a-half, as he always points out), is playing organized football this fall for the first time. When they asked him what number he wanted, I couldn’t have been prouder when he immediately asked for No. 56 — perfect for a future NFL linebacker. Problem is, we signed up late, so 56 naturally had already been taken. Ben’s next choice? No. 45.

As we drove home that day, I asked Ben, “Why 45?” To which he replied, “Dad, how old are you?”

“Um, 45…”

So does that mean Ben will be wearing 46 next year? Yes, he said. Okay, then. So 11 years from now, he’ll be wearing No. 56 and starting at linebacker for his high school team.

Does your story beat that one? Actually, since we’re not eligible, you don’t even have to beat it. Go to Yournumberstory.com, enter the contest, and you can win NFL season tickets and a custom jersey with your number on it. Lots of cool Reebok gear as well.

— Craig Ellenport

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