NFL teams approved a rule change on Monday that essentially reinstates the “inactive third quarterback” system it employed from 1991-2010.
On Monday, during the league’s Spring Meeting in Minnesota, the teams voted to approve 2023 Bylaw Proposal 1A, amending the procedure by which active and inactive players are named on game days.
In addition to the 48 players a team may keep active for a game, it can also now name an emergency third quarterback from its list of inactive players. That quarterback would be permitted to enter the game if the first two quarterbacks on the active list left due to injury or disqualification.
The NFL listed “integrity of the game” as its reason for passing the proposal, which was submitted by the Competition Committee, and it was surely prompted by the circumstances of last season’s NFC Championship Game between San Francisco and Philadelphia.
In the NFC Championship Game, the 49ers couldn’t protect their quarterbacks from the Eagles pass rush. The only two quarterbacks on the 49ers roster, Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson, got hurt. As a result, the game became non-competitive in the second half because the 49ers didn’t have anyone who could throw the football.
The rule change announcement states that the third quarterback must be on the 53-man roster. He cannot be a practice squad call-up.
Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Seth Wenig