The NFL just passed a new rule and I’m pretty confident that it won’t really matter.
Remember last season’s NFC Championship game where both 49ers’ quarterbacks Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson got injured, forcing running back Christian McCaffrey to run the wildcat for the entire second half? Well, according to NFL owners, that won’t ever happen again.
Today, at a league owner’s meeting, the NFL passed a rule that allows teams to designate a third emergency quarterback for a game, without taking up an active roster spot. An active roster spot is not to be confused with a roster spot — it’s confusing, I know. Blame Roger Goodell. Here’s how it works.
Each NFL team has a 53-man active roster. Yet, for games they must narrow that 53-man roster into a 46-man active roster. This essentially means that they need to deem 7 players as inactive. Is there a reason for this? I have no clue, but my guess is that Goodell is somehow making money off of it. Anyway, this new rule says that apart from this 46-man active roster, teams can choose one quarterback to be 47th spot, which can only be used if all quarterbacks in front of him are injured. If a team benches quarterbacks for playing poorly, the 47th man is not eligible to enter, it must be injury related.
The only other qualifications are that the 47th man must be a quarterback (or play quarterback when he enters) and must be part of the actual 53-man roster (meaning no practice squad players).
It’s pretty safe to say that the NFC Championship led to this rule change, but the problem is that even with this rule the 49ers still would’ve been in the same position. San Francisco had four quarterbacks last season, but with Jimmy G and Trey Lance both injured, neither were on the 53-man roster regardless. That means that Purdy and Journeyman Johnson were the only options no matter what. So really, this rule wouldn’t have fixed anything.
Could it do something in the future? I guess so, if a team loses two quarterbacks and manages to still have a third on the 53-man roster, but that doesn’t happen as often as you’d think. Many teams don’t want to waste one of their 53 spots on a third quarterback and I don’t think adding one more active spot will make a difference. My guess is that we will see this rule come into play maybe once within the next five seasons. Personally, however, I think it’d be way more fun if the Niners had just let CMC drop back in the shotgun.