NFL’s Emergency Quarterback Rule
In a significant move aimed at preserving the integrity of the game, the NFL’s 2023 Bylaw Proposal 1A has been approved at the Spring League Meeting. With the NFL’s Emergency Quarterback Rule teams can designate an emergency third quarterback from their active/inactive list who can be activated during a game if both primary quarterbacks are unable to continue due to injury or disqualification. However, the teams with three quarterbacks that are active on game day can not take advantage of this new rule. Essentially, this change ensures that teams always have a backup plan, thus reinforcing the robustness of the quarterback position during games.
Here are the key points:
Emergency Quarterback: Teams can now designate an emergency third quarterback from their active/inactive list. This quarterback can be activated during the game only if the team’s first two quarterbacks are unable to participate due to injury or disqualification. This activation can’t be the result of a head coach’s decision to remove a player for reasons of performance or conduct.
Restrictions: If an injured quarterback is cleared to return to the game, the emergency quarterback must be removed. This player can only return to play quarterback if another emergency quarterback situation arises. Teams are ineligible to use this provision if they have three quarterbacks on their game-day active list.
Here is the full press release from the NFL Communications department.
2023 Bylaw Proposal 1A Approved at Spring League Meeting
NFL clubs adopted the below bylaw proposal today at the Spring League Meeting in Minnesota:
2023 BYLAW PROPOSAL 1A
Amend Article XVII, Section 17.3 of the Constitution and Bylaws, to reflect the following (new language underlined; deleted language struck through):
17.3 One hour and 30 minutes prior to kickoff, each club is required to establish its 45-player Active List for the game by notifying the Referee of the players on its Inactive List for that game. Each club may also designate one emergency third quarterback from its 53-player Active/Inactive List (i.e., elevated players are not eligible for designation) who will be eligible to be activated during the game, if the club’s first two quarterbacks on its game day Active List are not able to participate in the game due to injury or disqualification (activation cannot be a result of a head coach’s in-game decision to remove a player from the game due to performance or conduct). 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, but is eligible to return to the game to play quarterback if another emergency third quarterback situation arises.
A club is not eligible to use these procedures if it carries three quarterbacks on its game day Active List [47- or 48-players in 2023].
Each club may also identify one player on its Inactive List who may dress for the game, provided that (1) such player is a quarterback; (2) the club has two quarterbacks on its 45-player Active List; (3) if the third quarterback enters the game during the first three periods, he must replace one of the club’s other two quarterbacks, neither of whom may thereafter return to the game under any circumstances; and (4) if the third quarterback enters the game during the fourth period or any overtime period, he must replace one of the club’s other two quarterbacks, either of whom is permitted to return to the game.
[The remaining language of Section 17.3 is unchanged.]
Submitted by Competition Committee
Effect: Permits each club to designate an emergency quarterback who can be activated from its Inactive List if the two quarterbacks on the club’s Active List are injured or disqualified and unable to participate in the game.
Reason: Integrity of game.