(Eagan) NFL owners have approved a rule amendment that will allow teams to send an emergency quarterback into the fray if the front two are injured in the same game, a decision made after the San Francisco 49ers got into trouble in the National Conference Championship game.

This change was originally proposed by the Detroit Lions. The presence of a third quarter will not count towards the active player limit – it is set at 47 or 48 – which must be respected 90 minutes before the kickoff of a game.

Sending an emergency quarterback into the fray may only be permitted in the event of injury or incapacitation, and not for performance reasons or any other reason. If either of the first two quarterbacks gets the go-ahead from doctors to return to the fray, then the third will have to return to the sidelines and can only play again if another injury occurs.

If a team chooses to have three quarterbacks on their active roster, then they will not be eligible for the emergency quarterback option. Players from the practice squad who are recalled on the day of a game are also excluded from this alternative.

The 49ers had to ask star running back Christian McCaffery to warm up his arm in the National Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles, after Brock Purdy suffered an elbow injury and Josh Johnson suffered a concussion . Purdy had to return to the field, but was unable to fire a pass over 10 yards. As a result, the 49ers had to adapt their game plan, which relied heavily on the ground game on offense, en route to a 31-7 loss to the Eagles on January 29.

The 49ers were already without their two best quarterbacks — Trey Lance in Week 2, and Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 13 — whose seasons were over due to injury.

The NFL owners gathered in Minnesota on Monday for their spring meetings, and among the main issues discussed was the sale of the Washington Commanders from the family of Dan Snyder to the group of Josh Harris. However, there will be no votes this week on the record deal totaling US$6.05 billion (C$8.2 billion).