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In sports, running out the clock (also known as running down the clock, stonewalling, killing the clock, chewing the clock, stalling, timewasting (or time-wasting) 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. Such measures expend time, but do not otherwise have a tactical purpose. This is usually done by a team that is winning by a slim margin (or, occasionally, tied) near the end of a game, in order to reduce the time available for the opposing team to score. Generally, it is the opposite strategy of running up the score.
Many rulebooks attempt to counteract this, some include a time limit for completing a play, such as a play clock or shot clock.
Approaches to running out the clock differ, particularly between sports. In some cases it is considered a normal aspect of the game, whereas in others it is considered unsporting. The term "timewasting" has pejorative implications and is generally reserved for varieties of football.In other timed sports, including basketball, gridiron football, and hockey; the more neutral term "running out the clock" is more commonly used.
In American football, each quarter of a game is measured with a 15-minute game clock, or 12-minute clock in many high school football codes and the German Football League. A team in possession of the lead and the ball will attempt to use up as much of the game clock as possible in order to bring the game to an end more quickly, thus denying the opposition another chance on offense.
Typically, the leading team will execute a series of simple rushing plays (the clock does not stop moving at the conclusion of a rushing play unless the rusher steps out of bounds) or one or more quarterback kneels. A team will often accept minimal prospect for a large gain in yardage (or even, particularly with quarterback kneels, a modest loss of yardage) in order to drain more time from the game clock, as time elapsed is considered more valuable than yardage to a team with the lead. Passing plays are not typically used by a team running out the clock, as an incomplete pass will cause the game clock to stop. Passing plays always carry the risk of interception, and spread the offense widely across the field, which makes tackling after an interception much harder compared to a fumble. If the ball passes out of bounds, the clock will also stop. This leads to teams running plays in the middle of the field in order to minimize the chance that the ball will travel out of bounds. Running plays also carry a much lower chance of turning the ball over and of a turnover resulting in a score or significant gain for the defense. Relatively safe, short, West Coast offense-type passes can be, and sometimes are, included in attempts to run out the clock, especially if more yardage is needed to earn a first down and maintain possession.
In both professional and college football, the offense has 40 seconds (in the Alliance of American Football, 30) from the end of the previous play to run the next play. A team running out the clock will allow the play clock (which records the time remaining until a play must be run) to drain as much as possible before running its next play. In the NFL, this is particularly noteworthy due to the existence of the two-minute warning. If the trailing team has no timeouts remaining and the leading team is in possession of the ball with a first down at the two-minute warning, they can effectively run out the clock and win the game without running another positive play. With two minutes to go (120 seconds), the offense can take three "knees", one each on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd down (using all 40 seconds from the play clock on each), and allow the game clock to expire before having to run a play for fourth down. A similar situation can be had by also achieving a first down inside the two-minute warning. This practice is commonly known as the "Victory Formation", as the offense lines up in a tightly-protective "V" formation to minimize the chances of a fumble or other turnover. (The AAF lets teams run out the clock on three straight victory formations from 90 seconds left in regulation.)
Conversely, a team that faces the risk of the other team running out the clock may attempt to force its opponent to score so it can quickly get the ball back. In Super Bowl XLVI, for example, the New England Patriots were ahead of the New York Giants 17–15 with 1:04 left in the fourth quarter. The Giants were at the Patriots' six-yard line, however, and the Patriots had only one time-out left. The Giants elected to run out as much time as possible and then kick a relatively short field goal to take a late lead. Had the Giants been successful in this strategy it would have left the Patriots with no timeouts and less than 20 seconds remaining to score. The Patriots thus let Ahmad Bradshaw score a touchdown in hopes of scoring a touchdown of their own before the game's end. Bradshaw, aware of the Patriots' strategy, attempted to stop himself from crossing the goal line but was unsuccessful as his momentum carried him forward. The Patriots then received the ball with 57 seconds remaining, but failed to score, and the Giants won 21–17.
Rule differences between the two codes mean than in Canadian football running out the clock is much more limited. The specific differences are:
A Canadian football side on offense with a full set of downs can run just over 40 seconds off the game clock, a third of what is possible in American football.
Timewasting in association football consists of two forms, extending the length of stoppages when the ball is out of play, and, while the ball is in play, playing in a way as to keep possession of the ball as long as possible rather than attempting to score. The former should, in theory, be negated by the addition of an equal amount of stoppage time, but teams nevertheless employ a variety of such methods.
A common timewasting tactic is to make substitutions late in the game, lengthening the duration of stoppages while the change is made. Players may also feign injury, kick the ball away, obstruct the taking of a quick free kick by an opposing player, or delay the taking of their own free kicks or throw ins. If the referee considers a delay to be unreasonable, the offending player may be given a yellow card.
When playing at home, there have been some instances where teams have been accused of timewasting by instructing (or allowing) their ball boys to delay returning the ball to the away team.
A common tactic often involves carrying the ball into the corner of the field and shielding it from the defender. This will commonly lead to a free kick if the frustrated defender budges the player out of the way, or it can also lead to a throw-in by the defender placing a tackle and managing to legally make contact with the ball so close to the line it often rolls out of play. This can be repeated to continue timewasting.
Both types of timewasting are generally viewed negatively, though only the former is contrary to the game's rules. Referees are empowered to book players whom they feel are delaying the restart of play and several amendments to the Laws of the Game and guidance to match officials have been made to prevent timewasting,including progressively stricter restrictions on how long possession can be maintained by goalkeepers. The back-pass rule was introduced in 1992 in order to prevent timewasting by defenders repeatedly passing the ball back to their goalkeeper.
An amendment to the Laws attempting to mitigate timewasting substitutions was made in 2019 — players are now required to leave the pitch at the nearest boundary, rather than making an often long and slow walk back to their teams' technical area.
In a close game, Australian rules football players will run the clock down by kicking the ball between the defenders while having no intention of a forward thrust, or by advancing the ball with short, low-risk kicks. Each time a mark is taken, the player can run approximately eight seconds off the clock before being required to play on – and may continue to run time off the clock if no opponents pressure them after the call of play on is made. Strategically, running down the clock can be stifled by playing man-on-man defence, in an attempt to force the opposition to kick to a contest, creating the chance for a turnover.
Late in a close game players who have marked the ball will often attend to their uniforms such as tucking in jerseys or pulling their socks up along with over zealous stretching in an effort to milk the clock. Players kicking for goal are now given no more than 30 seconds to take their kicks, while in general play they are only given 7 seconds, after which "play-on" is called. According to the laws, wasting time is either (a) a free kick to the opposing team (15.10.1.a), (b) a 50-metre penalty (18.1.b), or (c) a reportable offence if it is judged to be intentional, reckless or negligent (19.2.2.g.iv).
In rugby union, it often takes place by one team deliberately collapsing a scrum. The penalty is a free kick, as it is considered a technical offence.
In the National Rugby League (rugby league), anti-time wasting measures include countdown clocks to achieve timely formations of the scrum and execution of line drop-outs,calling of time-off during the last five minutes of the match when a try has been scored, or when a conversion attempt runs longer than 80 seconds.
In basketball game clock stops when the ball is dead and runs when it is live.
Running out the clock was a major problem in the early days of the NBA. Often, once a team grabbed the lead, they would spend the remainder of the game just passing the ball back and forth, in what was called stall ball. The only hope for the other team was to commit fouls and to score on free throws. The worst example was a 1950 game with a final score of 19-18. Another game the same year had six overtime periods with only a single shot attempted in each.
The NBA responded to these problems when Danny Biasone invented the shot clock. The shot clock gives teams 24 seconds (30 seconds in NCAA) to make a shot that hits the basket rim or scores, with the team losing possession if it fails to do so. This effectively eliminated stall ball and in the NBA's own words, "Biasone's invention rescue[d] the league."Today, shot clocks are used in nearly all basketball leagues.
Most clock management in modern basketball centers around both the game clock and the shot clock. An offense nearing the end of a game and holding a slim lead will attempt to use up as much of both clocks as possible before shooting the ball to give the opposing team as little time as possible to respond.
A team trailing by a small margin near the end of regulation or overtime may counter their opponent's attempt to run out the clock by intentionally committing personal fouls while on defense. This stops the clock, and if the fouling team is in the penalty situation, it forces the fouled team to shoot free throws (usually two). The fouling team will regain possession without any additional clock time lost if the last free throw is successful or if they get the rebound from a missed last free throw, but this strategy carries the obvious risk of giving the fouled team an opportunity to extend its lead if it makes the free throw(s). Fouls intentionally committed in this way are usually tolerated with no penalty beyond the normal penalties assessed for personal fouls, as long as the fouls are not flagrant.
A team must advance the ball from its defensive square to the midfield line within 20 seconds and then into the offensive square within 10 additional seconds or lose possession; additionally, a team in possession that appears to be stonewalling by not attacking the goal may be ordered by the referee to stay within the attacking box or lose possession. Additionally, Major League Lacrosse and most forms of indoor lacrosse employ a shot clock as with basketball.
A team which shoots the puck forward from their half of the ice over the opposing team's goal line in an effort to stonewall is guilty of icing, and the puck is brought to the other end of the ice for a face-off. The rule is not in effect when a team is playing shorthanded due to a penalty. Additionally, a player (usually a goalkeeper) may be charged with a minor (two-minute) penalty for delay of game for shooting the puck over the glass and out of play. A leading team may pass the puck to the defense who will then retreat in his zone. During a power play, the shorthanded team will try to ice the puck in order to gain time until the penalty time ends.
A 30-second shot clock is employed, in much the same manner as college basketball.
Canadian football is a sport played in Canada in which two teams of 12 players each compete for territorial control of a field of play 110 yards (101 m) long and 65 yards (59 m) wide attempting to advance a pointed oval-shaped ball into the opposing team's scoring area.
A shot clock is a countdown timer used in basketball that provides a set amount of time that a team may possess the ball before attempting to score a field goal. It is distinct from the game clock, which displays the time remaining in the period of play. It may be colloquially known as the 24-second clock, particularly in the NBA and other leagues where that is the duration of the shot clock. If the shot clock reaches zero before the team attempts a field goal, the team has committed a shot clock violation, which is penalized with a loss of possession.
American and Canadian football are gridiron codes of football that are very similar; both have their origins in rugby football, but some key differences exist.
In various sports, a professional foul is a deliberate act of foul play intended to bring about an advantage for the perpetrator's team. Professional fouls are usually committed to prevent an opponent from scoring.
Gameplay in American football consists of a series of downs, individual plays of short duration, outside of which the ball is dead or not in play. These can be plays from scrimmage – passes, runs, punts, or field goal attempts – or free kicks such as kickoffs and fair catch kicks. Substitutions can be made between downs, which allows for a great deal of specialization as coaches choose the players best suited for each particular situation. During a play, each team should have no more than 11 players on the field, and each of them has specific tasks assigned for that specific play.
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" seen in many sports, and the act of trying to hasten the game's end is often referred to by this term. Clock management 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.
The rules of basketball are the rules and regulations that govern the play, officiating, equipment and procedures of basketball. While many of the basic rules are uniform throughout the world, variations do exist. Most leagues or governing bodies in North America, the most important of which are the National Basketball Association and NCAA, formulate their own rules. In addition, the Technical Commission of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) determines rules for international play; most leagues outside North America use the complete FIBA ruleset.
In American football, a quarterback kneel, also called taking a knee, genuflect offense, kneel-down 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, to preserve a lead. 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.
This glossary of basketball terms is a list of definitions of terms used in the game of basketball. Like any other major sport, basketball features its own extensive vocabulary of unique words and phrases used by players, coaches, sports journalists, commentators, and fans.
The following terms are used in water polo. Rules below reflect the latest FINA Water Polo Rules.
In Canadian football, the three-minute warning is given when three minutes of game time remain on the game clock in the first and second halves of a game. The three-minute warning stops the game clock in all cases. It is the Canadian football equivalent of the two-minute warning in the American game.
A penalty shot or penalty kick is a play used in several sports whereby a goal is attempted during untimed play. Depending on the sport, when a player commits certain types of penalties, the opposition is awarded a penalty shot or kick attempt. The rules on how a player attempts a penalty shot or kick also varies between sports.
Delay of game is an action in a sports game in which a player or team deliberately stalls the game, usually with the intention of using the delay to its advantage. In some sports, the delay of game is considered an infraction if it is longer than that permitted according to the game's rules, in which case a penalty can be issued. Some sports that have a delay of game penalty are American football, Canadian football, ice hockey and association football.
The 2004 New England Patriots season was the franchise's 35th season in the National Football League, the 45th overall and the 5th under head coach Bill Belichick. They finished with their second straight 14–2 record before advancing to and winning Super Bowl XXXIX, their third Super Bowl victory in four years, and their last until 2014. They are, as of the present, the last team to repeat as NFL Champions and only the second to win 3 Super Bowls in a 4-year span. As of 2020, this is the most recent time the defending Super Bowl champions have defended their title.
The following terms are used in American football, both conventional and indoor. Some of these terms are also in use in Canadian football; for a list of terms unique to that code, see Glossary of Canadian football.
In gridiron football, a penalty is a sanction called against a team for a violation of the rules, called a foul. Officials initially signal penalties by tossing a bright yellow or orange colored penalty flag onto the field toward or at the spot of a foul. Many penalties result in moving the football toward the offending team's end zone, usually either 5, 10, or 15 yards, depending on the penalty. Most penalties against the defensive team also result in giving the offense an automatic first down, while a few penalties against the offensive team cause them to automatically lose a down. In some cases, depending on the spot of the foul, the ball is moved half the distance to the goal line rather than the usual number of yards, or the defense scores an automatic safety.
In sports, out of bounds refers to being outside the playing boundaries of the field. Due to the chaotic nature of play, it is normal in many sports for players and/or the ball to go out of bounds frequently during a game. The legality of going out of bounds, and the ease of prevention, vary by sport. In some cases, players may intentionally go or send the ball out of bounds when it is to their advantage.
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.
Futsal began in the 1930s in South America as a version of association football, taking elements of its parent game into an indoor format so players could still play during inclement weather. Over the years, both sports have developed, creating a situation where the two sports share common traits while also hosting various differences.