Monday kicked off the Spring League Meeting for the NFL in Minnesota where team owners and representatives discussed more issues that were not resolved when they met in March. From third quarterbacks to onside kicks and flexing Thursday night games, there were a number of changes to the NFL coming out of the meetings.
Rather than beat around the bush, let’s get right to the issues…
Third Quarterback Rule
After one of the NFL‘s premier matchups of the season, the NFC Championship Game, saw either an injured quarterback handing off the ball with no threat to throw or a running back tossing a pass, the low-quality product was bound to force a change. Even though coaches clamored years ago to remove the third quarterback rule because they wanted the roster spot for an additional player, it is now coming back.
Here’s the full bylaw that owners approved today. Notably, it limits the third QB exemption to players on the inactive list — not practice squad players who weren’t elevated for the game. Could impact 53-man roster construction for some teams. pic.twitter.com/ka0TpgibHk— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 22, 2023
To clarify the rule, the third quarterback must be on the team’s 53-man roster and cannot be a practice squad elevation. A player can only enter the game if both other quarterbacks have been deemed to leave due to injury. It will be up to the medical staff to determine if one of the other quarterbacks will be able to return. If a quarterback is merely benched for ineffective play or any other reason, the third quarterback option will not come into play as both players must be injured.
If a team wants to have a third quarterback available and not fall under these specific rules, they must have them active for the game.
Thursday Night Flexing
Despite the dissension of eight teams as well as the NFLPA, the remaining owners passed a resolution that allows Thursday night games to be flexed during the 2023 season.
Owners opposing Thursday night flex scheduling raised a variety of concerns, including travel logistics and impact on fans. The NFLPA also was opposed to it. But owners voted it through, opening the possibility Amazon’s TNF schedule could shift once or twice late in the season. pic.twitter.com/50Ed28VvNH— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 22, 2023
The games that are eligible to be flexed are very specific. The only eligible games are between Week 13 and Week 17 and there must be at least 28 days notice in order to change one of the games. Only two games maximum can be flexed into Thursday night during that time, and a game cannot be flexed in order to give a team a third Thursday night game. So for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the fact that they are at capacity when it comes to Thursday Night Football means their games cannot be flexed into Thursday night but their Week 14 matchup against the New England Patriots could be flexed out of Thursday night.
If no games are a flex in 2023, the option will be available again in 2024. If there is a game flexed for Thursday Night Football this season, the issue will be voted on again next offseason.
Playoff Game on Peacock
The Saturday night game of Wildcard Weekend for the 2023 NFL playoffs be streamed exclusively on Peacock other than local markets for the teams involved.
NFL owners also formally approved streaming the late night Saturday wildcard game on Peacock, per league executive Brian Rolapp. The game will still be available over-the-air in local markets.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 22, 2023
While this was just a formality, the news of one of the Wildcard games being only available through a specific streaming service was announced last week. While the NFL is making their money from Peacock for the exclusive rights, depending on the matchup it could completely backfire if the cost of a subscription isn’t worth it to fans to see the game. To make sure that doesn’t happen, teams playing on Wildcard Weekend with a large national audience, such as the Pittsburgh Steelers, will probably be a prime candidate to fill the spot.
The 2025 Draft
With the 2024 NFL draft scheduled for Detroit, the NFL has awarded the 2025 draft to Green Bay.
The NFL has announced that the 2025 NFL Draft will be in Green Bay. pic.twitter.com/MY19ieXzkJ— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 22, 2023
Super Bowl LX
Following the 2025 NFL season, the NFL’s 60th Super Bowl will be held in San Francisco… or at least in the extended area as Levi’s Stadium is over 40 miles from San Francisco.
Super Bowl LX is headed to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2026!@LevisStadium @bayareahc_ @49ers pic.twitter.com/PJYFtq6wbY— NFL (@NFL) May 22, 2023
Onside Kick Revisions
Although there seems to be some proposal discussed about giving an alternative to the NFL onside kick every year, once again it did not pass.
For the fourth consecutive year, proposed alternatives to the onside kick have stalled and no vote is expected here at the NFL’s spring meeting, I’m told. A long-running debate continues. https://t.co/6Czhc5yZJC— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 22, 2023
Kickoff Fair Catch
A rule proposed that any fair catch on a kickoff that happens inside the 25-yard line would simply have the ball placed at the 25 was discussed and tabled until Tuesday. It seems that the competition committee does not see eye to eye with special teams coordinators.
Meanwhile, a potential vote to put the ball on the 25-yard line following a fair catch on a kickoff now is expected to be pushed back to Tuesday. Special teams coordinators unanimously oppose the change, but the competition committee has been in favor. https://t.co/Xog28JOR0V— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 22, 2023
There is an update on the most pressing matters from the NFL‘s league meetings which occurred on Monday. With the biggest issues being tackled first, it’s unclear if there will be any more news coming out of changes beyond those outlined above.
So which decision do you believe was the best? What about the worst decision? Make sure you leave your thoughts in the comments below.