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NFL Competition Committee expected to discuss emergency QB rule, per report

Feb 27, 2023 at 1:50 PM


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The NFL Competition Committee is expected to discuss the potential return of an emergency quarterback for NFL games. Until 2010, the league required teams to designate an emergency quarterback in addition to the two passers on the game-day roster. If that third quarterback entered the game before the fourth quarter, the first two quarterbacks became ineligible to return.


When the emergency quarterback rule was eliminated, the NFL increased game-day rosters from 45 players to 46. There is nothing stopping teams from dressing a third quarterback for games. It's just not required. Instead, most opt to use the roster spot to add depth at another position. The San Francisco 49ers, for example, will often have an added defensive lineman suited up on game days.

There is a possibility that the league will reinstate the rule, even if it is just for the playoffs. Ari Meirov notes that a rule change would potentially add a 47th player on game days and not necessarily force teams to designate one of their 46 active players as the emergency quarterback.

"I really am for having a third quarterback in the game," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told Yahoo Sports at the Senior Bowl. "I would be pro. I've always been for the quarterback and increasing the number. I would be for that."

Such a rule would have helped the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. The team's starter, rookie Brock Purdy, exited in the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles due to a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow. His backup, Josh Johnson, was forced out later in the contest due to a concussion.

An injured Purdy was forced to return to the game but could not throw the football, forcing San Francisco to become one-dimensional by only running the football. Many wonder what might have happened had Purdy not been injured or had the 49ers been able to attempt to pass later in the game.

"Looking back on the game, I think in the heat of battle, you're confident," running back Christian McCaffrey explained. "And then, looking back on the game, you just wish you had a fair shot. Obviously, we got beat, and we didn't have a fair shot because of the plays that those guys made, and so props to them. But it's like fighting with one arm. You just feel like you had something ripped from you."

McCaffrey wasn't the only 49ers player who felt the team was handicapped on offense, lacking a quarterback who could throw the football.

"What were you supposed to do in a moment like that?" wide receiver Deebo Samuel said. "We didn't want our season to end that way. If anything, we wanted to put up a fight instead of not having a chance."
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