NFL reinstates third QB rule after 49ers' NFC Championship Game fiasco

NFL approves third QB rule after 49ers' NFC title game fiasco originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The sight of Christian McCaffrey attempting a wobbly halfback pass and Brock Purdy being physically unable to throw made for a thoroughly uninteresting NFC Championship Game.

So the NFL on Monday did something about it.

The league adopted a bylaw at the NFL Spring Meeting in Minneapolis that now allows for teams to dress an emergency third quarterback for games.

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The NFC title game became nearly unwatchable after Purdy sustained a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow in the first quarter and backup Josh Johnson was knocked from the game with a concussion early in the third quarter.

Purdy was forced back into action but attempted only two short passes as the 49ers were attempting to come back from a 14-point halftime deficit against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 49ers attempted only three passes in the final 27:30 of their 31-7 loss to the Eagles with one of those attempts coming McCaffrey’s arm.

Now, each team is allowed to designate an emergency quarterback who can participate only due to injury or disqualification.


Teams will be allowed to designate a third quarterback only from their 53-man roster and not from the practice squad.

Activation of the third quarterback cannot be the result of a coaching decision, such as removing the first two quarterbacks due to performance or conduct, the bylaw reads.

“If either of the injured quarterbacks is cleared by the medical staff to return to play, the emergency third quarterback must be removed from the game and is not permitted to continue to play quarterback or any other position,” the rule reads.

RELATED: Report: Ex-49ers quarterback Johnson continues career with Ravens

However, if at any point the team’s top two quarterbacks are again unable to play due to injury, the third quarterback is allowed to re-enter the game.

The 49ers have four quarterbacks on their 90-man offseason roster: Purdy, Trey Lance, Sam Darnold and Brandon Allen. The 49ers appear likely to keep three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster.

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