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NFL to keep the clock rolling on QB sacks in 2014



2014 rule changes

For years, the referee has signaled a quarterback sack with a whistle blast and a signal to stop the clock; however beginning with the 2014 season, the NFL will mandate that the clock keep running after a sack.

Up through the 2013 season, the referee would stop the clock on a quarterback sack.  The reasoning behind the rule was to give the receivers time to jog back to their huddle after running their pass pattern.  It would also give the quarterback a few seconds to collect his wits (and maybe scream at his offensive line) after getting dumped for a loss. Once all offensive players returned to their huddle, the referee would signal the clock to restart.  Once the clock was under two-minutes in a half, the rule changed and the clock didn’t stop on a sack — thus punishing the offense running the hurry-up.

Starting this fall, the clock will not stop on a quarterback sack.  This will bring the NFL into line with college and high school rules (which have always mandated the clock to run on a QB sack).  This will put extra pressure on the offense to keep moving and not dawdle back to the huddle after a sack – and it will also help speed up the game.

While not a major rule change, it will be interesting to see what, if any, impact this change will have starting this fall.  

Mark Schultz is a high school football official, freelance writer and journalist. He first became interested in officiating when he was six years old, was watching a NFL game with his father and asked the fateful question, "Dad, what are those guys in the striped shirts doing?"