49ers Support Quarterback Rule Change After Disaster In NFC Title Game

San Fran was reminded the harsh reality of not having a third QB


February 2

The 49ers had their promising 2022 season come to an end Sunday in the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles after San Francisco’s two rostered quarterbacks suffered injuries. The Eagles impressed, sure, but San Francisco essentially played the second half with two arms tied behind its back.

Three days later, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch met with reporters to recap their NFC West-winning campaign. They were asked if they would be in support of a possible rule change where the NFL allowed teams to have an “emergency” quarterback available on gameday without it taking up a spot on the 46-man roster. To no surprise, especially since the organization’s season-ending defeat still was fresh in their minds, both spoke in support of the possible rule change.

“Definitely would be in favor of it,” Shanahan told reporters Wednesday, per the team. “We were scared to death when that rule ended, whatever many years ago that was. You kind of forget about it since you don’t see anyone have to go through it, but then you get reminded of how quickly a football game is over once that happens. So I think that would be a very smart thing to have.”

Niners starting quarterback Brock Purdy reportedly suffered a torn UCL in his elbow during the first offensive possession. He was replaced by journeyman Josh Johnson, but after Johnson suffered a concussion on the opening drive of the second half, an injury-hindered Purdy returned behind center. He didn’t present much of a threat through the air given the elbow injury, despite the fact the 49ers trailed by three possessions and sorely needed quick production.

When answering about the rule change, Lynch highlighted the developmental aspect it would provide both teams and quarterbacks.

“I think it would be good for football,” Lynch told reporters, per the team. “You’re always trying to develop these guys, but you’re always weighing that, carrying three as opposed to their roster value of being able to host a full complement of position players at different positions. I think if the league just kind of gave you an out there, everybody would be forced to do it, you’d have more people in camps improving. I think it’d be good for football.”

Shanahan and Lynch are not the only ones in favor. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones also told reporters Wednesday while attending Senior Bowl practices that he would support the change.

The NFL previously required teams to designate an emergency third quarterback on their gameday rosters from 1991 to 2010. The league did away with that rule in 2011 and instead expanded gameday rosters from 45 players to 46. Teams no longer were required to have the emergency quarterback, and thus many rarely do so, opting to go with depth at a different position.

Perhaps the 49ers having their season ended in that fashion will cause both San Francisco and others to second-guess that decision in the future.

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