After last year’s NFC Championship game debacle, the NFL knew changes had to be made to prevent that scenario from happening again. And, this year, there are new emergency 3rd quarterback rules.
NFL active rosters are pretty small, as just 48 players dress for a game. Compare that to college football, where over 100 players may be dressed if a team is at home, and 70-80 on the road.
Oftentimes, this meant that teams were only dressing two quarterbacks, as it was more important to prioritize depth at positions where more than one player is on the field at the time and at positions that have more frequent injuries.
But, last year’s NFC Championship Game turned into a debacle when San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Brock Purdy was injured and backup Josh Johnson also got hurt. The franchise had already lost Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance to injury, as well.
With Johnson out with a head injury, the 49ers were forced to re-enter Brock Purdy back into the game, despite an elbow injury that left him unable to throw the ball more than a few yards. It turned a highly-anticipated game into a joke, with one of the teams essentially unable to play football.
Rule changes have been brought in to prevent this, with NFL teams able to dress an emergency 3rd quarterback that can only come into the game if the first two quarterbacks have to leave due to injury or disqualification. For instance, if the first and second-stringers have terrible games, the emergency 3rd quarterback can’t come in.
Ari Meirov on Twitter broke it all down. Take a look.
The NFL has released a question-and-answer sheet on the third quarterback rule, for those who are still confused by it.
Here's the full sheet, if you want to read up on it:
Q: What is an Emergency Third Quarterback?
A: A club may designate a bona fide quarterback as an… pic.twitter.com/as7mwYsPbm
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) September 4, 2023