Play clock

A play clock, also called a delay-of-game timer,[1] is a countdown clock intended to speed up the pace of the game, and hopefully the scoring, in American football and Canadian football. The offensive team must put the ball in play by either snapping the ball during a scrimmage down or kicking the ball during a free kick down before the time expires, or else they will be assessed a 5-yard delay of game (American football) or time count violation (Canadian football; that code's "delay of game" is a different infraction) penalty. If a visible clock is not available or not functioning, game officials on the field will use a stopwatch or other similar device to enforce the rule.

In all levels of Canadian football, the offensive team must run a play within 20 seconds of the referee whistling the play in; in amateur American football, teams have 25 seconds from the time the ball is declared ready for play.In the NFL, teams have 40 seconds timed from the end of the previous down. Before 2008, in college football, the play clock was 25 seconds after the ball was set, but the clock was not stopped for the ball to be set unless the previous play resulted in a stoppage of the clock. Now, the same intervals as the NFL are used, with minor differences for the final two minutes of each half.[2] In high school football, starting with the 2019 season, teams will use the 40-second play clock as in the NCAA and NFL, with minor exceptions.[3] Various professional leagues have used their own standards; the XFL, for instance, used a 35-second play clock to encourage faster play. Arena football uses a 32-second play clock.

Also in the Canadian Football League, a time count is enforced differently at certain points of the game. If the time count occurs before the three-minute mark of a half, the penalty is five yards and the down is repeated. In the final three minutes, the penalty is a loss of down on first and second down or 10 yards, with the down repeated, on third down. If the referee deems a time count committed on third down in the last three minutes of a half to be deliberate, he also has the right to require the offensive team to put the ball in play legally within 20 seconds or else forfeit possession. (Time counts during convert attempts, during which the ball is live but the clock does not run, are 5-yard penalties with the down repeated at all times in the game.)[4]

In the strategy of clock management, a team can slow the pace of a game by taking the maximum amount of time allotted between plays. A team wishing to do so would wait to snap the ball until there is one second left on the play clock.

In many football games, the play clock is managed by the back judge who is positioned behind the defense and faces the quarterback. When the play clock counts down to 5 seconds remaining, some back judges will raise their arm over their head to warn the quarterback, and rotate their arm downward to their leg, counting down the final seconds. A penalty flag for delay is thrown afterward. The infraction typically results in a five-yard penalty.

See also

References

  1. ^ For example, Electro-Mech, Eversan, Nevco, and other manufacturers call these devices "delay of game timers" in their literature.
  2. ^ "NCAA Football Rules Committee Proposes Rules to Enhance Student-Athlete Safety and Encourage Consistent Pace of Play"
  3. ^ "40-Second Play Clock, Postseason Instant Replay Among Football Changes"
  4. ^ "Rule 1, Section 7, Article 9 – Time Count" (PDF). 2010 Canadian Football League Rule Book. Canadian Football League. p. 17. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 13, 2010. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
2015 NCAA Division I FBS football season

The 2015 NCAA Division I FBS football season was the highest level of college football competition in the United States organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The regular season began on September 3, 2015 and ended on December 12, 2015. The postseason concluded on January 11, 2016 with Alabama defeating Clemson in the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship. This was the second season of the College Football Playoff (CFP) championship system.

Alliance of American Football

The Alliance of American Football (AAF) is a professional American football league, founded by Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian. It began play on February 9, 2019, six days after the National Football League's (NFL) Super Bowl LIII championship game. The AAF consists of eight centrally owned and operated teams. All teams except Birmingham are located in metropolitan areas that have at least one major professional sports franchise. Of the eight teams in the league, all but Arizona and Atlanta are located in markets lacking an NFL team.

American football

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

American football evolved in the United States, originating from the sports of association football (known in the U.S. as soccer) and rugby football. The first match of American football was played on November 6, 1869, between two college teams, Rutgers and Princeton, under rules based on the association football rules of the time. During the latter half of the 1870s, colleges playing association football switched to the Rugby Union code, which allowed carrying the ball. A set of rule changes drawn up from 1880 onward by Walter Camp, the "Father of American Football", established the snap, the line of scrimmage, eleven-player teams, and the concept of downs; later rule changes legalized the forward pass, created the neutral zone, and specified the size and shape of the football. The sport is closely related to Canadian football, which evolved parallel and contemporary to the American game, and most of the features that distinguish American football from rugby and soccer are also present in Canadian football.

American football as a whole is the most popular sport in the United States. The most popular forms of the game are professional and college football, with the other major levels being high school and youth football. As of 2012, nearly 1.1 million high school athletes and 70,000 college athletes play the sport in the United States annually, almost all of them men, with a few exceptions. The National Football League, the most popular American football league, has the highest average attendance of any professional sports league in the world; its championship game, the Super Bowl, ranks among the most-watched club sporting events in the world, and the league has an annual revenue of around US$10 billion.

Arena football

Arena football is a variety of indoor gridiron football played by the Arena Football League (AFL) and China Arena Football League (CAFL). The game is played indoors on a smaller field than American or Canadian outdoor football, resulting in a faster and higher-scoring game. The sport was invented in 1981, and patented in 1987, by Jim Foster, a former executive of the National Football League and the United States Football League. The name is trademarked by Gridiron Enterprises and had a proprietary format until its patent expired in 2007. Due to the patent, other indoor American football leagues that launched following the popularity of the original AFL developed variants on the arena rules.

Three leagues have played under arena football rules: the AFL, which played 22 seasons from 1987 to 2008 and resumed play under new ownership in 2010, AF2, the AFL's erstwhile developmental league, which played 10 seasons from 2000 through 2009, and the CAFL, which began play in 2016 but is not directly affiliated with the AFL.

Clock chime

A clock chime is a melody or a set of melodies played at intervals upon a set of bells to mark the passage of time. It is also the name of such a set of bells when they are not part of a larger bell instrument such as a carillon. It is distinct from the striking of the hour by a single bell, although a clock that plays a clock chime normally plays the associated hour strike as well, while the hour bell may or may not have a part in the melodies. The bells used to play clock chimes are most commonly located in bell towers or grandfather clocks, but may be found in other places as well. A variety of melodies exist, many associated with a particular location or bell tower that originated them.

Clock management

In gridiron football, clock management is the manipulation of a game clock and play clock to achieve a desired result, typically near the end of a match. It is analogous to "running out the clock" (and associated counter-tactics) seen in many sports, and the act of trying to hasten the game's end is often referred to by this term. Clock managements strategies are a significant part of American football, where an elaborate set of rules dictates when the game clock stops between downs, and when it continues to run.

Jim Clack

James Thomas Clack (October 26, 1947 – April 7, 2006) was an American football guard in the National Football League. He played for 11 seasons between 1971 and 1981. He died of heart failure in 2006 after suffering from cancer for four years.

Clack graduated from Wake Forest University. He began his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he was part of two Super Bowl championship teams in 1974 and 1975.

In April 1978, the Steelers traded Clack (along with wide receiver Ernie Pough) to the New York Giants in exchange for offensive lineman John Hicks. Clack spent four seasons with the Giants.

It was his snap that Joe Pisarcik fumbled away to Herman Edwards at the end of the November 19, 1978 game between the Giants and Edwards' Philadelphia Eagles at Giants Stadium, costing the team a certain victory in a play since known as "The Miracle at the Meadowlands" to Eagles' fans and "The Fumble" to Giants' fans (Clack had snapped it earlier than Pisarcik, still trying to get his team on board a controversial play call, expected due to the imminent expiration of the play clock).

Clack was inducted into the Wake Forest's hall of fame in 1981, and into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

Miracle at the Meadowlands

The Miracle at the Meadowlands was a fumble recovery by cornerback Herman Edwards that he returned for a touchdown at the end of a November 19, 1978, National Football League (NFL) game against the New York Giants in Giants Stadium. It is considered miraculous because the Giants were ahead and could easily have run out the final seconds; they had the ball and the Eagles had no timeouts left. Everyone watching expected quarterback Joe Pisarcik to take one more snap and kneel with the ball, thus running out the clock and preserving a 17–12 Giants upset. Instead, he botched an attempt to hand off the football to fullback Larry Csonka. Edwards picked up the dropped ball and ran 26 yards for the winning score.

The term is primarily used by Eagles fans and sportscasters. Giants fans refer to the play simply as "The Fumble", though that name is generally used outside of New York for a play in the 1987 AFC Championship Game between the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos.

For the Eagles, the victory snatched from the jaws of certain defeat served as a morale boost, leading that season to a playoff berth and, two seasons later, the franchise's first Super Bowl appearance. To Giants fans, it was the nadir of a long era of mediocrity, but the aftermath would lead to major changes that proved beneficial for the franchise in the long run.

Muffed punt

In gridiron football, a muffed punt is defined as "touching of the ball prior to possessing the ball.”

A muffed punt occurs when there is an "uncontrolled touch" of the football by a player on the returning team after it is punted. This can occur when:

The kicking team interferes with the other team's right to catch the punt

A player on the kicking team is struck unaware by the football running down-field to cover the punt.

A player attempts to return the ball, makes contact with it but cannot retain the ball in his hands and it comes loose.

To be a fumble, the receiving team must possess the football, then lose control. In the case of a fumble, the ball is live and can be returned by the team that recovers the ball. In the case of a muffed punt, it is possible for the punting team to recover the ball and continue the drive, but at least in NCAA and NFL rules, they cannot advance the ball on that same play. Rules vary by league about how to handle a muffed punt.

Nonetheless, a muffed punt is a turnover. In the NFL, a muffed punt recovered by the kicking team cannot be challenged by a coach for review because all turnovers are automatically reviewed.

Official (American football)

In American football, an official is a person who has responsibility in enforcing the rules and maintaining the order of the game.

During professional and most college football games, seven officials operate on the field. Beginning in 2015, Division I college football conferences are using eight game officials, and the Alliance of American Football (AAF) began using eight game officials in 2019. College games outside the Division I level use six or seven officials. Arena football, high school football, and other levels of football have other officiating systems. High school football played under the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) rules typically use five officials for varsity and 3, 4, or 5 for non-varsity games.

Football officials are commonly, but incorrectly, referred to as referees, but each position has specific duties and a specific name: referee, umpire, head linesman (or down judge), line judge, back judge, side judge, center judge (used only in NCAA Division I college football and in the AAF) and field judge. Because the referee is responsible for the general supervision of the game, the position is sometimes referred to as head referee or crew chief.

Pitch clock

A pitch clock is used in college baseball and Minor League Baseball to limit the amount of time a pitcher uses before he throws the ball to the hitter. This is one measure that has been introduced to improve the pace of play.

Quarterback kneel

In American football, a quarterback kneel, also called taking a knee, genuflect offense, or victory formation occurs when the quarterback immediately kneels to the ground, ending the play on contact, after receiving the snap. It is primarily used to run the clock down, either at the end of the first half or the game itself, in order to preserve a lead or a win. Although it generally results in a loss of a yard and uses up a down, it minimizes the risk of a fumble, which would give the other team a chance at recovering the ball.

Especially when the outcome of the game has been well decided, defenses will often give little resistance to the play as a matter of sportsmanship as well as to reduce the risk of injuries, penalties and possible supplemental discipline (the latter considerations being increasingly important as referees and leagues more strictly enforce penalties against perceived unnecessary roughness on quarterbacks and against headshots in general) on what is a relatively simple play. The quarterback is generally not touched and the act of intentionally taking the knee results in the play being over in all variations of the sport.

The formation offers maximum protection against a fumble; should the center-quarterback exchange result in a fumble, a running back is lined up on either side of the quarterback, both to recover any fumble and protect the vulnerable kneeling player from being injured by defensive players who get through the line. Also, a player is lined up directly behind the quarterback, often much farther than a typical tailback would line up. This player's responsibility is to tackle any defensive player who may recover a fumble and attempt to advance it. Because of this essentially "defensive" responsibility, the tailback in this formation may actually be a free safety or other defensive player who is adept at making tackles in the open field.

Even though the play itself takes very little time, the rules of American football dictate that it does not stop the game clock (as with any play where the ball carrier is tackled in bounds). With the 40-second play clock in the NFL and NCAA, along with the two-minute warning in the NFL, a team can run off over two minutes with three straight kneel-downs if the defensive team has no more timeouts. The winning team can storm the field if up to 40 seconds remains in the game (35 in Alliance of American Football), to let coaches shake hands with each other. (In the AAF, as many as three straight "victory formations" from 105 seconds left in regulation can be done.)

The play is often known as a "victory formation", as it is most often run by a winning team late in the game in order to preserve a victory. In the case of a close game, the winning team would be trying to avoid a turnover which might be the result of a more complex play. In the case of a more lopsided contest where the winning team's overall point differential has no prospect of affecting their playoff qualification prospects, the play can be run as a matter of sportsmanship (since the winning team foregoes the opportunity to run up the score) and to avoid further injuries and/or penalties. In terms of statistics, a kneel by the quarterback is typically recorded as a rushing attempt for −1 or −2 yards.

Other sports also use the term "victory formation" for a play designed only to run down the clock with little chance of injury, such as a Jammer in roller derby skating behind or only lightly challenging the pack while the final seconds of the bout tick down.

Running out the clock

In sports, running out the clock (also known as running down the clock, stonewalling, killing the clock, chewing the clock, stalling, or eating clock) is the practice of a winning team allowing the clock to expire through a series of pre-selected plays, either to preserve a lead or hasten the end of a one-sided contest. Generally, it is the opposite strategy of running up the score. Most leagues take steps to prevent teams from doing this, with the most common measure being a time limit for completing a play, such as a play clock or shot clock.

Shot clock

A shot clock is used in basketball to quicken the pace of the game. The shot clock times a play and provides that a team on offense that does not promptly try to score points loses possession of the ball. It is distinct from the game clock, which times the entire game. The shot clock may be referred to by its initial value. For example, in the National Basketball Association (NBA), it may be called the "24-second clock".

A shot clock is also used in snooker, men's lacrosse, water polo, korfball, and ten-pin bowling. It is analogous with the play clock used in American and Canadian football, and the pitch clock used in baseball.

Snap (gridiron football)

A snap (colloquially called a "hike", "snapback", or "pass from center") is the backwards passing of the ball in American and Canadian football at the start of play from scrimmage.

Untimed play

In sports that use a clock, untimed play is play in which the clock does not tick. In some cases, untimed play can occur at the end of a game following the expiration of the clock, and may even be when a score occurs that decides the outcome of the game.

Wheelchair Football (American)

Wheelchair Football

is a fast-paced sport that is best played when

athletes are in maximum physical condition, and at the top of their game

in teamwork, strategy and wheelchair-handling skills for both manual wheelchair and power wheelchair users.

XFL

The XFL was a professional American football league that played its only season in 2001. The XFL was operated as a joint venture between the World Wrestling Federation (now the WWE) and NBC. The XFL was conceived as an outdoor football league that would begin play immediately after the National Football League season ended to take advantage of lingering public desire to watch football after the NFL and college football seasons had concluded. It was promoted as having fewer rules to encourage rougher play than other major leagues. The league had eight teams in two divisions, including major markets and some not directly served by the NFL, such as Birmingham, Las Vegas, Memphis, and Orlando. The XFL operated as a single entity with all teams owned by the league, in contrast to most major professional leagues, which use a franchise model with individual owners.

Co-owner NBC served as the main carrier of XFL games, along with UPN and TNN. The presentation of XFL games featured sports entertainment elements inspired by professional wrestling, including heat and kayfabe (although the games and their outcomes were legitimate), suggestively-dressed cheerleaders, and occasional usage of WWF personalities (such as Jesse Ventura, Jim Ross, and Jerry Lawler) as part of on-air commentary crews alongside sportscasters and veteran football players. The telecasts featured extensive use of aerial skycams and on-player microphones to provide added perspectives to the games.

The first night of play brought higher television viewership than NBC had projected, but ratings quickly nosedived. The league developed a negative reputation due to its connections to professional wrestling and the WWF, the overall quality of play, and a presentation that differed starkly from network football telecasts of the era (albeit with technical and on-air innovations that would later become commonplace). Lorne Michaels, executive producer of NBC's long-running Saturday Night Live, criticized the XFL when a game extended into double overtime causing the show to be delayed until after midnight on the east coast. That prompted action afterwards to speed up play, and threats to pre-empt the conclusion of a game entirely if it did not finish by a specific time, in order to minimize disruptions to SNL.

NBC and the WWF both lost $35 million on their $100 million investment in the league's inaugural season. Although committed to broadcast two seasons, NBC pulled out of its broadcast contract for the XFL after the inaugural season, citing the poor viewership. While WWF owner Vince McMahon initially stated that the XFL would continue without NBC, and proposed the addition of expansion teams, unfavorable demands to the league by UPN hastened the XFL's demise, and the league ceased operations entirely in May 2001 a month after the championship game. The Los Angeles Xtreme were the XFL's first and only champions. McMahon conceded that the league was a "colossal failure".McMahon maintained control of the XFL brand after the league ceased operations, and on January 25, 2018, he announced the return of the XFL with a target relaunch date of 2020. The revival will be owned by McMahon's Alpha Entertainment, a company separate from WWE, and does not plan to utilize the same sports entertainment features associated with the original.

XFL (2020)

The XFL is a planned professional American football league owned by Vince McMahon's Alpha Entertainment, and is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut. It is a successor to the previous XFL, which was controlled by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) and NBC, and ran for a single season in 2001. The league will follow a similar structure as the original XFL did in 2001, with eight teams, centrally owned and operated by the league and spread across the United States in markets currently or recently represented by a National Football League (NFL) franchise, competing in a ten-game season and a two-week postseason in the winter and spring months.

In announcing the reformed XFL, McMahon stated that while it would share its name and trademark with the previous incarnation, it will not rely on professional wrestling-inspired features and entertainment elements as its predecessor did, instead aiming to create a league with fewer off-field controversies and faster, simpler play compared to the NFL.

Codes
Levels of play
Field
Scoring
Turnovers
Downs
Play clock
Statistics
Practice
Officiating
Miscellaneous

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