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Football: Timing and the Clock

Sports >> Football >> Football Rules

How long is a football game?

Football games are divided up into two halves or four quarters. In high school each quarter is 12 minutes long while in the NFL and college each quarter is 15 minutes long. The clock doesn't run all of the time, however. It gets stopped for time outs and between certain plays.

Each half is started with a kick off, and the football teams change sides at the end of each quarter.

When does the clock stop in football?

The clock stops in football for a number of reasons: Football Clock Strategy

Because the clock stops on certain kinds of plays, this means football teams use different strategies depending on the score and the amount of time left. At the end of the game or the half, one team will be trying to score. They may try to run the football out of bounds or run pass plays where the clock will stop between plays rather than keep running. They will also try to use less time when setting up for plays and use their timeouts at critical times to stop the clock. This speed-up offense is often called the Two Minute Offense.

Meanwhile the other team will be trying to "run-out" the clock. They may run the football a lot or try to tackle the other team in-bounds to try and keep the clock running.

What are the 25 and 40 second play clocks?

The offensive team only has so long to hike the football and start another play. In the case where play is continuing, they have 40 seconds from the end of the previous play to start a new play. If play has stopped, like for a timeout, then they have 25 seconds from the time the referee sets the ball and starts the play clock.

Referee Clock and Timing Signals



More Football Links:

Rules
Football Rules
Football Scoring
Timing and the Clock
The Football Down
The Field
Equipment
Referee Signals
Football Officials
Violations that Occur Pre-Snap
Violations During Play
Rules for Player Safety
Positions
Player Positions
Quarterback
Running Back
Receivers
Offensive Line
Defensive Line
Linebackers
The Secondary
Kickers
Strategy
Football Strategy
Offense Basics
Offensive Formations
Passing Routes
Defense Basics
Defensive Formations
Special Teams

How to...
Catching a Football
Throwing a Football
Blocking
Tackling
How to Punt a Football
How to Kick a Field Goal

Biographies
Peyton Manning
Tom Brady
Jerry Rice
Adrian Peterson
Drew Brees
Brian Urlacher

Other
Football Glossary
National Football League NFL
List of NFL Teams
College Football

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