Play Clock

A play clock, also called a delay-of-game timer, is a timer designed to increase the pace – and subsequently, the scoring – in American football and Canadian football, similar to what a shot clock does in basketball. The offensive team must put the ball in play by either snapping the ball before 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 (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 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, or 25 seconds after the ball is declared ready for play after certain administrative stoppages and game delays. 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. Various professional leagues have used their own standards; the XFL, for instance, used a 35-second play clock to encourage faster play.

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.)

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.

Other articles related to "clock, play":

American Football Rules - Time of Play
... The clock is stopped frequently, however, so that a typical college or professional game can exceed three hours in duration ... The referee controls the game clock and stops the clock after any incomplete pass or any play that ends out of bounds ... The clock may also be stopped for an officials' time-out, after which, if the clock was running, it is restarted ...
Orlando Magic - Franchise History - 2004–2012: The Dwight Howard Era - 2006–2010: Return To The NBA Finals
... The Magic were also hampered with the sporadic play of many of their young stars, who on multiple occasions showed their propensity for streaky shooting and the team's lack of a solid scoring two-guard ... Despite the team's poor play, Dwight Howard continued to develop and blossom in his third year in the league, culminating in his first selection to the Eastern Conference All-Star team ... However, the clock had stopped just as the play began ...
Miracle At The Meadowlands - The Game - The Giants' Possession
... After a running play on first down, Pisarcik knelt down on second ... he wanted was for his team to get a penalty, which could stop the clock and require getting another first down to secure the win ... He also personally despised the kneeling play, considering it unsporting and somewhat dishonorable (a view popular among a lot of coaches of the period) ...

Famous quotes containing the words clock and/or play:

    The clock runs down
    timeless and still.
    The days and nights turn hours to years
    and water in a gutter marks the circle of another world
    hating, resentful, and afraid
    stagnant, and green, and full of slimy things.
    Margaret Abigail Walker (b. 1915)

    “Then let us play at queen and king
    As down the garden walks we go.”
    Robert Graves (1895–1985)