Football Timeouts

Football Timeouts

Timeouts are used to stop the game clock from ticking. After a timeout is called, the play clock still ticks and lasts 25 seconds. A coach is responsible for calling timeouts.

Football Timeouts

NFL Timeouts

Each team is given three timeouts during a half. Timeouts don't carry over to the second half. It is in the team's best interest to use their timeouts before the half ends.

Calling Timeouts

No team can call two timeouts in a row on the same scrimmage down.

Football Timeout Strategy

A team will use a timeout:

  1. To conserve time
  2. To change the play design
  3. To prevent a Delay of Game penalty
  4. To ice the kicker

Conserving Time

Calling a timeout can conserve time for a team by buying them a few extra seconds to plan out their next moves. Timeouts are opportunities to regroup and save the last few minutes (or even seconds) for play execution.

Changing Play Design

Timeouts can also be called when a coach wants to change the play or formation in a specific moment. This could be a result of the other team changing formations or new players entering the field. If a team is trailing by a few points at the end of the game, the coach might call a timeout to show the team a new play that might change the course of the game. Other times, coaches call timeouts when his team is struggling and they need to try out other strategies.

Delay of Game Penalty

A delay of game penalty is called when a team takes too long to start a new play. This is called because it is deemed as unnecessary time wasted from the game that could be crucial when it comes to the winner of the game. A coach will call a timeout to prevent this penalty from occurring.

Icing the Kicker

Icing the kicker can be frustrating for the kicker, which is one of the main reasons why coaches or quarterbacks call timeouts. It rattles the other team's kicker right before performing a kick in the hope that he performs poorly when he actually kicks. Although this kick seems unfair, it is legal to use in Football games.


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