[M.M.X.I.V. 263] Officials’ authority

Northwestern football won their game today!  But for the second week in a row, the “garbage” time at the end of the game was needlessly extended.  Last week, Northern Illinois committed a false-start foul in order to extend the foregone conclusion (they had the ball on 2nd down, fewer than 80 seconds left in the game, and Northwestern was out of timeouts.  This was obviously a double-dagger to the hearts of Northwestern faithful.

This week, there was a SNAFU with the play clock at the end of the NU/Western Illinois game, when the ‘Cats had the ball, up by 17, and with less than a minute to play.  Sixteen seconds ticked off the game clock (from 56 to 40 seconds) without the play clock moving.  So the officials RESET THE GAME CLOCK to the original time.  And granted, NU was up by 17, and though WIU had all their timeouts left, it was obvious that the game was over.  I thought of the @FauxPelini viral hashtag from last week: #PleaseResetTheGameClockToYourButt.  (Yes, I know that may make my post PG13-rated, up from G-rated :p )

The officials have authority in the game, and in extreme garbage time in football and basketball, I don’t understand why the officials can’t just call the game then and there.  In some sense, this happens in football when the teams converge on midfield for handshakes at the end of a foregone conclusion… while the game clock is still ticking!

Though it is not exactly a mercy rule, I think that officials should immediately end games in football when two or fewer minutes remain if one of the following situations apply:

  • The team on offense leads by at least 17 points, OR…
  • The team on offense holds any lead, it is first down, and the other team has zero timeouts remaining, OR…
  • It is obvious to everyone that the game is a foregone conclusion and the team on offense (whether leading or trailing) is intentionally burning clock time.

And in basketball:

  • The offense has the ball late in the game (i.e. less than a minute remaining, regardless of the shot clock) and neither team is making an effort to score or defend.

The endgame in football and basketball, in general, drags on too long in the case of either a close game or a blowout.  In the former case, it’s due to all the fouling and free throws or the passing plays, out-of-bounds attempts, and timeout usage.  In the latter case, it is the fact that the officials always allow the clock to expire before declaring the game over.

Is my idea radical?  Or does it make sense?


Today is the two-hundred and sixty-third day of M.M.X.I.V.  That makes thirty-seven weeks and four days.

Today is the sixty-eighth day of the Character Building Trial.  That makes nine weeks and five days.


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