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Niner Dre Greenlaw violated my clock management rule in Packers playoff game thereby risking losing the game

Posted by John Reed on

The Niners game yesterday ended when Niner LB Dre Greenlaw intercepted a Packer pass. But then he ran around and around trying to score a TD with one minute and the score 24-21 with his team leading. His teammates and coaches were going nuts yelling at him to “get down.” The Packers players were frantically trying to knock the ball out of his hand.
Indeed, he was violating one of the best practices rules in my Football Clock Managment book.
Rule 3.03 Reaching take-a-knee on defense
If you are on defense and recover a fumble or intercept a pass after your team has reached the take-a-knee period, take a knee or run out of bounds just before you are touched by an opponent.
This is not an NFL rule. It is my rule on the best clock management practices for maximizing your team’s win probability at all times.
My book also quotes the NFL, NCAA, and NFHSA rules that apply to clock management.
Being in the take-a-knee period means your team has the lead and the remaining time and remaining timeouts held by the opponent are such that your team need only take a knee up to four times and the game will end.
The broader rule in my book is when you are in the take-a-knee period, take a knee. And I have actual case histories where teams violated that rule and lost the game as a result: The Miracle at the Meadowlands, a Baylor game. MI lost a game to NW when their running back reached the line to gain for a first down but kept running to try to pad his own personal stats with a TD. NW swatted the ball out of his hand then won the game two or thee plays later.
To put it another way, if your quarterback would be taking a knee if your offense had the ball, but you are on defense, you also need to take a knee. It also happens if you need just one more first down and you get it. Do not keep running. Slide. This is what is done now BECAUSE of my book—except by Dre Greenlaw. And I believe he will never do that again.
Football Clock Management book

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