How will the Eagles be impacted by the NFL’s latest rule changes?

Eagles Haason reddick
Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, center, reacts with linebacker Haason Reddick (7) and defensive end Josh Sweat (94) following an NFL divisional round playoff football game against the New York Giants, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in Philadelphia. The Eagles won 38-7. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

There weren’t a lot of fans and players that liked the concept of Thursday Night Football. The NFL’s recent decision on the games may have a greater effect on both than they actually realize.

With the NFL’s modified approval of flexing Thursday Night Football through Weeks 13-17 of the 2023 season, top contending teams like the Philadelphia Eagles are affected in more ways than one – and it’s not all that great.

Flexing on the Eagles?

To understand the reason why a team like the Eagles is affected by a rule change like this, one must first understand the rule that was approved. The NFL passed the new rule stating that Thursday Night games between weeks 13-17 can be flexed but must grant notice to teams over 28 days before, and can only do it twice this year. There’s a lot of flexibility for the league, as well as protection for teams that could be in danger of having their games moved.

New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll, left, talks with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts following an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Philadelphia. The Eagles won 22-16. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Eagles do not play a game on Thursday night between those specific weeks currently. However, they do have matchups against the 49ers, Cowboys, Seahawks, Giants, and Cardinals. Only the Dallas contest is on prime-time meaning any of the four other games could get moved to Thursday. This coming off a three-week window where the team takes on the Chiefs, Bills, and Cowboys prior means that a difficult schedule could get a lot harder for the birds.

Activate the third QB

Flexing a Thursday night game isn’t the only thing that could change the way the team operates late in the year though. The next rule change can actually benefit the Eagles and other teams during a playoff run, especially the 49ers.

The league approved the use of a bylaw that allowed a third QB to be active without burning a roster spot. Philadelphia was directly implicated due to their 31-1 victory in the NFC Title game over San Francisco after the 49ers lost both their quarterbacks in the game due to injury.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) celebrates after running for a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

The rule is actually one of the few that helps Philadelphia in the long run. While the franchise did not publicly complain like San Fran did this past year, the Eagles have been bitten by the two-quarterback concept in the playoffs.

In 2019, after winning the NFC East with practice squad players, the Eagles lost quarterback Carson Wentz to a concussion and later had Josh McCown tear his hamstring during a 17-9 playoff loss to Seattle. The new rule would have allowed a third quarterback on the roster to come in and give Philadelphia a fighting chance in the red zone specifically.

A third quarterback won’t really affect the Eagles right now with a franchise quarterback already on the roster. But with this rule change, and the latest flexing of Thursday Night Football, it means that the team and their dominant season in 2022 was something that the league took great notice of.

AP Photo/Matt Slocum