Kevin SeifertESPN Writer1 minute read
EAGAN, Minn. – NFL owners on Monday approved a rule that allows teams to designate an emergency quarterback on game day, a rule they reinstated after the San Francisco 49ers ran out of a quarterback during of their loss in last season’s NFC Championship Game against Philadelphia. Eagles.
The rule only applies to quarterbacks who are on a team’s 53-man roster. Practice squad players are not eligible to be emergency quarterbacks, even though they are high for this week’s game. But it does allow a team to avoid counting the emergency quarterback as one of its game-day active players, a modest incentive for teams that would otherwise choose to enter a game with only two quarterbacks available.
The emergency quarterback would be eligible for in-game activation if the rest of a team’s quarterbacks cannot participate due to injury or ejection, but not as a result of a bench. If any of the other quarterbacks are allowed to return to play, the emergency quarterback must be removed at that time and may only return if there is again no other option.
The XFL and USFL both applied a similar rule this spring, and the NFL itself used it from 1991 to 2010. During 2011 collective bargaining with the NFL Players Association, the parties agreed to increase the overall limit of active players on match day rather than limiting it to a single position.