Timing the Game – Touchbacks

As we all have read the following excerpt from Section I. Basic Instructions, paragraph H.2. “Extra point attempts do not count at all in timing the game. The following are timed as half-plays: incomplete passes, touchdowns, field goals, safeties, and all plays on which the ball changes team possession or goes out of bounds, or which involve penalties or injuries.  ALL OTHER PLAYS ARE FULL PLAYS.” 

Well, what about touchbacks?  There are several different types of touchbacks ranging from punts, blocked punt goes back into the end zone and the defensive team intentionally bats or kicks the ball out the back of the end zone, fumble goes out of bounds in opponents end zone, defensive player intercepts a pass in own end zone or on kickoffs.  I specifically want to clarify how to treat a touchback resulting from a kick off. 

Pre-2002 season. Prior to the 2002 season, the clock started on the kickoff unless it was within the last two minutes of the half.  If touchback occurred outside of the “Two-Minute” warning, the touchback will be recorded as a half-play.  If touchback occured inside the “Two-Minute” warning, do not record as half play (ignore) because the clock only starts when the ball was put into play by the receiving team.

Post-2002. Starting in 2002 the clock only starts when put into play by the receiving team and the two minute rule was eliminated. All touchbacks will not be recorded as a half-play.

“Put into play” is defined as: When a member of the receiving team touches the ball, or, if the member of the receiving team touches the ball in their end zone, carries the ball out of the end zone. The clock is stopped when that player is tackled or goes out of bounds. The clock never starts if the receiving team downs the ball in their own end zone for a touchback.

6 thoughts on “Timing the Game – Touchbacks

  1. I don’t think you are the only one who has played it that way, I have been doing it since I started playing. To be honest I am not sure I am going to change either, I will have to mull this one over for awhile.

  2. I’ve ended up changing timing within a game, going back and forth between the concept that we’re timing “APBA actions” vs. 30-second (full) and 15-second (half) plays. Another change I’d recommend for the new basic-game rules is that all out-of-bounds plays count as a half play, not just those in the last five plays before the end of each half.

      • Greg,

        That’s not how the new game rules read. They read exactly like the APBA Football Club post suggests they do – OB are full plays (new release of the basic game in it’s rules), unless OB occurs during the last five plays of each half.

        I’ll say one other thing about the 1/2 play issue, and it’s nitpick, but…. that every penalty is a 1/2 play is a bit ridiculous. A 45 yard completion that is called back for holding is a 1/2 play, but a one yard gain is a full play? You could make the same argument for a long TD as well. I play it as a 1/2 play like the rules state, but it doesn’t make logical sense to me.

        Hope all is well for you out there. We’re still on Cloud 9 out here in Seattle with the Hawks first Super Bowl; enjoying it all we can until the reality of the Mariners hits us!

  3. Here are the ‘Medium Pass Boards’ that I have.  I am pretty sure I got them prior to the Master Game came out.  Very interested of your thoughts.  Feel free to post them on your site/blog.   Ron

  4. Mark,

    Thanks for letting me know, I only use the Master game and the rules associated with that state half-plays for ob plays. I’m wondering how bad that will throw off a team’s total amount of plays, if that is off, everything else suffers.

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