One of the unofficial rules of football (and maybe other sports as well) is that it is classless to run up the score. Once you’re winning to the point that it’s all but impossible to lose, you are supposed to take a step back and start running out the clock. You keep the ball on the ground (which makes the clock run faster because it’s not stopping as frequently), start substituting players (to keep them healthy), and if all else fails start kneeling down.

My alma mater’s football team, the Southern Tech Wolf Pack, has a reputation of “classlessness” because of our historic tendency not to stay aggressive right down to the wire. Back in the team’s heyday, they would rack up upwards of 80+ points a game sometimes. Some members of the conference still have a chip on their shoulder about that and when the team starts falling behind these days, not a single one of them calls off the dogs under any circumstances.

I can’t say that I blame them.

To be honest, though, I don’t think that running up the score should have the stigma that it does. There are some aspects of it that make sense from a tactical standpoint. You keep the ball on the ground to run out the clock faster. The put in your reserves to keep your starters healthy and give the future starters (at the college level) some playing time. When it gets to the point that you’re taking a knee or intentionally running out of bounds at the one yard-line, that’s actually more disrespectful than continuing to score.

I get annoyed when the teams go to their backup quarterback and then use him only to kneel the ball or keep running up the center just to punt. These are guys that don’t often get to play and it bugs me that the one chance they get out on the field, they aren’t given the opportunity to actually do anything.

I think that the best way to handle a blow-out is to take out your starters to give the other kids a chance to play, but then play as aggressively as you always do. There’s really nothing more boring than a game where only one team is playing, regardless of the score.

Category: Downtown

About the Author

2 Responses to Running Up The Score

  1. Peter says:

    Sometimes you just can’t do anything right. Last year a high school football coach in Connecticut got suspended for running up the score on an opponent after his team won by something like 60 points. Conference officials sniffed that such a blowout was unsportsmanlike and gave high school sports a bad reputation. The thing is, the coach had done just about everything in his powers to avoid such a lopsided score, including taking all his starters out of the game before halftime and using only running plays. The opposing team was so hapless – it hadn’t won a game in several seasons – that even these measures didn’t prevent a blowout. So what was he supposed to do? Well, according to the conference officials, he should have let the other team score!

    Fortunately, saner minds prevailed, and the conference officials realized that being allowed to score would have been much more humiliating to the players on the opposing team than suffering a blowout loss would be. They lifted the coach’s suspension prior to his team’s next game.

  2. trumwill says:

    Several years ago Oklahoma blew out Texas A&M 77-0 and Oklahoma’s coach was raked over the coals for it. The thing is that he took his players out at half-time (and was playing the scout team in the last quarter), though less than five passes in the second hand, and declined to score twice when they got to the red zone. It got even more ridiculous when A&M players did victory dances for regular tackles, got “unsportsmanlike conduct” flags thrown at them, and then Oklahoma not only declined the free 15 yards but asked the refs to keep the clock going to end the game more quickly.

    At some point, as you point out it’s more disrespectful not to score.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

If you are interested in subscribing to new post notifications,
please enter your email address on this page.