The San Francisco 49ers’ NFC Championship dilemma in January led the NFL to approve a rule change ahead of the 2023 season.
The 49ers were plagued with quarterback problems during their NFC Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles, which quickly turned into a blowout when Brock Purdy tore his UCL and his backup, Josh Johnson, suffered a concussion.
Purdy was forced back into the game despite not having the ability to throw the ball, so the Eagles simply teed off the 49ers running game, which was a simple defensive call. They went out to the Super Bowl, while San Francisco could not do anything to put up more of a fight.
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This season, however, the NFL has a way to alleviate that situation for teams if it happens on game day. A bylaw was passed Monday, according to multiple reports, stating that a team can have an «emergency» quarterback on game days.
So if two active quarterbacks are unable to play due to injury or disqualification, the third quarterback may play.
BROCK PURDY SUFFERED ‘FULL TEAR’ FROM UCL IN NFC CHAMPIONSHIP LOSS TO EAGLES: REPORT
«Each club may also designate an emergency third quarterback from its 53-play active/inactive roster (that is to say, fly ball players are not eligible for designation) who will be eligible to be activated during the game, if the club’s top two quarterbacks on its Game Day Active Roster are unable to participate in the game due to injury or disqualification (the activation cannot be a result of a head coach’s in-game decision to remove a player from the game due to performance or conduct).»
The rule also states that in the event that one of the two quarterbacks is cleared by medical personnel after an injury review, «the third emergency quarterback must be removed from the game and not allowed to continue playing quarterback.» quarterback or any other position, but is eligible to return to the game to play quarterback if another emergency situation arises as a third quarterback.»
This new statute arrived at the owners’ meetings in May.
One of those owners, Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, spoke about that rule to Yahoo Sports in February.
«That’s the best way to start and the best way to make decisions is when you have examples in, I would say, very sensitive moments,» he said of rules that could affect playoff games. «And boy, we don’t want quarterbackless teams in these games where 50 million people are watching.»
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While it’s unlikely to happen again, especially with a conference championship on the line, the 49ers and the rest of the league can breathe a sigh of relief knowing they won’t be left without options if their quarterbacks go down in the same game. .