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Late interceptor in National Championship should have slid, not scored.

Posted by John Reed on

Football games do NOT only end on the game clock buzzer or the final whistle.
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Games also end when the LEADING team has POSSESSION and ENTERS THE TAKE-A-KNEE PERIOD. (When the trailing team is in possession, the game ends on the final whistle.)
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My book Football Clock Management book has take-a-knee and QB-sweep-slide tables that tell you when you are in the take-a-knee or sweep-slide period. Sweep slide is a take-a-knee play but one that takes more seconds than the quick take-a-knee. There are high school, college, and NFL tables because of different clock-operation rules at each levels.
Football Clock Management, 5th edition book
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Whether you are in the take-a-knee period depends on two variables:
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• what DOWN it is (left side of my tables)
• how many TIME OUTS the trailing opponent has (top of my tables)
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People seem not to understand that arriving in the take-a-knee period can occur ON THE FLY. By that I mean, the leading team is NOT in the take-a-knee period when the play STARTS, but they DO enter the take-a-knee DURING the play.
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My take-a-knee rule is simple, WHEN YOU ENTER THE TAKE-A-KNE PERIOD, YOU MUST TAKE A KNEE—IMMEDIATELY.
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That includes when you enter the take-a-knee period on the fly.
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There are two categories of ways that can happen:
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• CHANE OF POSSESSION from the trailing team to the leading team
• leading team in possession achieves a needed FIRST DOWN.
 
Change of possession is either the leading team INTERCEPTS a trailing team pass, as happened at the end of yesterday’s national championship game, or the leading team recovers a trailing team FUMBLE or STRIPS the ball. In the case of the fumble or strip, the leading team member must NOT take the ball and run. In the case of the interception or strip, the interceptor/stripper must slide immediately upon securing possession.
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If the leading team is in possession, but does NOT have enough remaining downs to be in the take-a-knee period, there comes a point where achieving a first down WOULD put them into the take-a-knee period. So the ball carrier on a leading team who will be in the take-a-knee period if they get a first down must SLIDE IMMEDIATELY AFTER PASSING THE LINE TO GAIN for the first down.
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These rules are logical and ironclad, not subjective or opinion. But they were unknown before my book came out in 1997. SINCE my book came out, adhering to these rules has more or less become standard procedure in NCAA and NFL games. They should also be standard procedure at the high school and youth level, but most coaches at those levels are “low-information” coaches. They coach the way they were coached 30 years ago.
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Congrats to GA player Kellee Ringo for intercepting the pass with one minute left in the National Championship game. Shame on him for not taking a knee after the intercepting if his coaches taught him to do that. Shame on the GA coaches for not teaching that and making sure their players do it.
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In 2000, a MI player not sliding after passing the line to gain, then getting stripped as he tried to score an irrelevant touchdown to gild his own stats, resulted in his team’s losing the game to Northwestern. Moron player and/or moron coach.

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