The NFL Tweaked the Emergency QBs Rule After the 49ers’ NFC Title Game Debacle
The ever-evolving landscape of the NFL has undergone so much change over the last five months that thinking back about the NFC Championship Game feels like it was something that went down years ago.
But Christian McCaffrey preparing as the 49ers emergency QB was a thing that really happened:
But after the game, there was some outcry about the whole emergency QB3 situation. Because in a season in which the Niners had already lost Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo to injury, San Fran was down to its fourth quarterback after Brock Purdy went down with an injury during the NFC title game. That left Josh Johnson as the next guy up, only to suffer an injury of his own. Desperate times call for equally desperate measures. Which is the only way to frame giving McCaffrey the keys to the car in a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency scenario.
All of this left the 49ers faithful wishing there was some way to bring in an honest-to-goodness quarterback off the pine. It might not have mattered, but nevertheless, it was an interesting idea. One that the NFL is actioning:
The NFL now says teams can designate an emergency QB 90 minutes before each game. I suppose this is one way to combat history repeating itself down the line. Although, teams will need to have a quarterback signed, in that role, and declared as the emergency quarterback prior to the game in order for it to matter. Last year’s Niners team didn’t have that at the time, but maybe they would’ve planned differently had this option been available to them. Looking ahead, I wonder how (and if) the Bears will operate within this new rule moving forward.
Justin Fields, Trevor Siemian, Nathan Peterman, and Tim Boyle threw passes for the Bears in 2022. Fields missed two whole games due to injury. And there were times I thought he’d miss more after taking some hard hits. No, Chicago’s football team didn’t go as far down the QB rabbit hole as San Francisco. However, Fields’ style of play opens him up to take the types of hits that put him at risk of missing time. With that in mind, having emergency options is smart, and we should be cognizant of them (yes, even as early as May). For now, the Bears have Peterman and P.J. Walker as backups. The team also employs Tyson Bagent, a UDFA signing with some strong Division II credentials. It’s probably too early to make this call, but perhaps Bagent could be in line for that emergency role.
In any case, part of me would like to commend the NFL for having the flexibility to push through this new rule. This is one of those “something is better than nothing” cases, and we’ve all seen what it looks like when the NFL sits on its hands.