EAGAN, Minn. (AP) – NFL owners approved a rule change Monday that allows teams to play an emergency quarterback from the inactive list if the first two are injured during a game, a decision that stems from San Francisco’s depth-chart challenge in the NFC championship game.
The bylaw was initially proposed by the Detroit Lions. The third quarterback designation will not count against the limit of active players – either 47 or 48 – that is determined 90 minutes before kickoff.
The emergency activation can only occur after injury or disqualification, not for a performance-related decision or other conduct. If either of the first two quarterbacks are cleared by the team’s medical staff to return to play, the third must be removed from the game and can only return as a quarterback if an injury scenario arises again.
If a team puts three quarterbacks on the active list for a game, it can’t use the emergency option. Game-day practice squad elevations are not eligible, either.
The 49ers had running back Christian McCaffery warming up his arm in the NFC championship game in Philadelphia, after Brock Purdy injured his elbow and Josh Johnson suffered a concussion. Purdy was forced back into the game but unable to throw the ball more than 10 yards as the 49ers scrapped their game plan for a run-heavy attack in their 31-7 loss to the Eagles on Jan. 29.
The 49ers had already lost their top two quarterbacks – Trey Lance in Week 2 and Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 13 – to season-ending injuries.
League owners convened in Minnesota on Monday for their spring meetings, with the pending sale of the Washington Commanders from Dan Snyder’s family to Josh Harris’ group remaining a prominent if not pressing issue. No vote on the record $6.05 billion transaction will occur this week.
The Super Bowl will return to the Bay Area in 2026 at the home of the San Francisco 49ers, following a vote of approval by NFL owners.
This will be the third time for the big game in the Bay Area. Levi’s Stadium, which opened in Santa Clara, California, in 2014, hosted Super Bowl 50 when Denver beat Carolina. The 49ers won Super Bowl 19 at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto when they beat Miami after the 1984 season. The 2026 game will be Super Bowl 60.
The next Super Bowl is scheduled for Feb. 11, 2024, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Super Bowl 59 will be played at the Superdome in New Orleans in 2025.
The league also announced that the 2025 draft will be held in Green Bay. Detroit will host the 2024 edition, after it was held in Kansas City this year.
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