Pete Carroll wants to do away with game day inactive lists

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Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll wants to see the NFL eliminate the practice of having teams make seven players inactive for games every week.

As the rules currently stand, active rosters in the NFL consist of 53 players that are eligible to play in games. However, 90 minutes before every game the teams must declare seven players inactive for the game. Therefore the list of players that can actually play consists of just 46 players.

Carroll wants to see the rules changed so all 53 players can dress for games.

“Why do we have a limited number of guys dressing every week?” Carroll said Wednesday. “These guys are fantastic players that work their tail off. Why can’t we have 53 guys dress and get them all out there? Everybody could do that, We’re paying them. They’re practicing and they’re ready. If for nothing else, to help other guys stay healthy longer. Get more rotation so that guys can stay healthy and contribute. I wish they could.”

The reasoning behind inactives for games is due to competitive balance. If one team has all 53 players healthy and their opponent has only 49 players healthy enough to play, the team with fewer healthy players will be at a disadvantage. With teams having to make seven players inactive, healthy or not, teams will have the same amount of players eligible to play in the game.

Carroll said he intends to address the matter with the league formally this offseason along with general manager John Schneider.

Seattle had 2013 second round running back Christine Michael, 2014 second round receiver Paul Richardson and 2014 fourth round receiver Kevin Norwood all inactive for last week’s game against Dallas despite all being healthy. Positional needs elsewhere led to Seattle needing other players active instead. Carroll laments having to watch healthy players not be able to contribute.

“Those are three great guys and there are a couple other guys who are ready to play football for us right now,” Carroll said. “They would be in games, they’d be getting the chance to catch the ball, cover kick, carry the football, but because of the restrictions of the numbers we can’t do that.

“These guys are capable and ready and hungry to play and they’re missing out in part of their career because of it.”

Carroll said he’d like to see a scenario where practice squad players could temporarily replace injured players on the 53-man roster to make sure the numbers are even for both sides. However, this brings salary questions in to play as well. While players inactive on game day still get their weekly salaries, practice squad players make significantly less. Would they get paid full salary for the weeks they would be bumped into active roster duty? Would it be splitting the difference somehow?

It would be a new system that would have to be worked out between the league and players union.

On one hand, it makes sense. Teams pay 53 players on their active roster every week. They should all play.

On the other hand. It’s not that simple and will likely have to take significant reworking of roster mechanics for that possibility to become reality.

39 responses to “Pete Carroll wants to do away with game day inactive lists

  1. Didn’t they actually increase the amount of players a team can have? Yeah … it’s 53 plus 10 man Practice squad.

  2. The active roster limit rule should be changed. It shouldn’t be that hard to allow all 53 players on the active roster. The players union wouldn’t have any problem because more guys are getting into games. Owners would like it because there would be more backups to replace injured starters during a game.

  3. Sorry Pete. If you want a sidelines full of players, go back to college. Funny you didn’t mention this till you lost at home to Dallas.

  4. If the the NFL can figure out the logistics of putting a team in London they can figure out this.

    Sadly for the inactive players, it would cost owners money while location in London could make owners money.

  5. He’s right. I’ve always thought it was a ridiculous rule. It doesn’t make sense to not have your entire roster available– especially the way the concussion protocol works now.

  6. I’d like to see the NFL recognize NCAA sanctions and uphold their intent so as to disallow coaching personnel in the college ranks from sneaking off to the NFL to escape the repercussions of their actions while the program they crippled suffers for their actions. How about that idea, Pete? How’s that for being fair??

  7. Carroll’s idea has nothing to do with the Practice Squad, so bringing that into the conversation is a smoke screen.

    The reasoning is archaic and had to do with teams (before the Salary Cap era) having a stock-pile of good players on the bench. Forcing you to inactivate 7 of them kept you from being able to outplay your opponent on depth.

    Carroll’s been on this crusade for at least the last 2 years. Don’t know why he wouldn’t have brought it up before the next off-season.

  8. They should all be active. It’s one of the dumbest rules ever to not have them all active. I don’t care if one has 53 healthy and one has 49 healthy. Each team would still have more healthy bodies than they do now.

  9. This has always been a ridiculous rule and I agree with him 100%. The roster has 53 players, they should all be eligible. It seems stupid to pay guys not to play.

  10. Pete has guys on the PUP list actually outperforming Percy Harvin (6 touches, -1 yard)–no wonder the line between “active” and “inactive” seems blurred to him.

  11. The competitive balance argument is nonsensical. So it’s better to force each team to use a tight end as a lineman, when one of the starters and your only backup is hurt? Or to use a WR as QB when both go down?


    Make all 53 active. Each team can, like they do now, adjust the roster to make themselves as competitive as possible. It gives a bigger cushion for inevitable injuries, and reduces the chances of being forced to plug in players at positions they dont even play.

  12. With players dropping like flies, it makes sense to dress all 53, but that’s why the NFL probably will ignore his idea.

    If it has a chance of reducing the bottomline – forget about it.

  13. The reasoning for competitive balance is stupid, if a team has a competent coaching staff and trainers that do a good job of keeping all of their players healthy, that should be used as a competitive edge and if you can’t keep your players healthy, well, too bad for you…I agree with Pete Carroll on this

  14. The Seahawks did fine last year with the same system. They only want to change because they have lost a lot of good players. I doubt that the other teams would agree to a change. Nobody else is complaining.

  15. It allows for more rotation and keeps players healthy – I don’t see a downside. There are teams with more than 7 injured players that could benefit from the depth. I see it as keeping the game more competitive and safer in the longrun.

  16. By that same reasoning, it creates a disadvantage for a team with 53 healthy players to force some of them to sit even though they are healthy. And what about teams with more than 7 injured players. It’s not something that happens a lot but it does happen. And in those cases, then the team with the fewest healthy players is still at a disadvantage. Penalizing a healthy team because they are healthier than their opponent makes no sense at all. You have a roster and only 11 guys are allowed on the field anyways, so why not let all 53 players suit up. If you are healthy then great. If not then tough luck.

  17. Pete is ahead of his time ….

    53 made the squad … 53 should be able to play on Sundays …

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