Author Topic: Good gosh almighty...this is a playoff game!  (Read 462 times)

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Online ElvisLives

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Good gosh almighty...this is a playoff game!
« on: November 21, 2020, 09:19:27 AM »
How does this happen?
Second round playoff game. Not a scrimmage. Not the first game of the season. Twelfth game of the season.
Playoff game at a neutral site. If you are a neutral site and you offer your facility to host a playoff game, then have all the resources needed to conduct a game properly.
So what did we get? We got a play clock operator that HAD NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE. I suppose he tried his best, but it was a mess. Thankfully - THANKFULLY - it was a total blowout of a game, so none of the numerous errors had an impact on the game. But, had it been a one score game, it could got really messy.

When I was told - by the game clock operator - that the PCO was a ‘new guy’ that had never done it before, and that he didn’t even know, I was mortified. You gotta be crappin’ me! This is a 6A host school, that is in mid-season of their schedule? Where is their regular play clock operator? OK, so they are on an ‘off’ week, and maybe he took the opportunity to take a vacation or something. There are a bunch of schools in the area that ain’t playin’ any more this season. Pick up the dang phone and call around and find an experienced guy that can help. Heck, even tell the involved schools that you don’t have a regular play clock operator available, and ask if they want to bring along their operator(s). I know for a fact that one of those schools has an exceptional PCO. Let him run it, for gosh sakes. And guess what? In the playoffs, and with a lot of COVID related cancellations, there are a lot of veteran football officials sittin’ at home that at least know the rules related to the play clock, if not the physical mechanics of operating the clock. Pick up the phone and call the assigner, and request a PCO. Heck, I’ll give him half my game fee.

When we talked to this first time guy, he was a nice guy, and we were polite with him, knowing it wasn’t his fault that this was happening. He knew that he didn’t know play clock rules. All he knew was that sometimes the play clock is 25 seconds, sometimes 40 seconds. So we went through it with him as best we could. Gave him an instruction sheet. Please - pay attention to us and we’ll correct you when needed (which was quite a bit).

How does this happen?

Offline Clear Lake ref

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Re: Good gosh almighty...this is a playoff game!
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2020, 09:57:57 AM »
Truly awful. Hopefully an incident report was filed.

I had a 5a game between 2 winless teams, in a stadium where half the lights didn’t come on.

We had a member on the play clock, which was broken so turned off. He did the game clock instead and was superb.

Offline AlUpstateNY

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Re: Good gosh almighty...this is a playoff game!
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2020, 10:03:53 AM »
Can understand your frustration, especially in the circumstances you describe and the failure (for whatever reason) of the host venue not to have secured a competent replacement.  However, you didn't mention whether the problems you experienced, not having the availability of a properly managed play clock had any material effect on the game you were working? 

Presumably you likely adjusted and reacted to correct/avoid any material problems, and/or supervised the actual timing situations with your crew. Did the lack of a visible play clock being operated correctly, actually make any significant difference in the game, or the competition?  Sort of begs the question, does all the operational changes, and cost of providing visible play clocks at nationwide HS stadiums make a meaningful difference, than could have been provided by requiring additional focus and serious effort to tighten the management and control of "play time" supervision by on field officials?   

Offline Etref

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Re: Good gosh almighty...this is a playoff game!
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2020, 11:16:07 AM »
It is truly amazing how such a simple thing as a game clock operator that either doesn’t or won’t do a good job can screw up a good football game.

I think I may have had them turn it off and keep it on the field.

Had a JV game once where I fired the clock operator in the first quarter. Turns out he was the AD! He just wasn’t paying attention!
" I don't make the rules coach!"

Offline JasonTX

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Re: Good gosh almighty...this is a playoff game!
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2020, 11:52:54 AM »
I tell our clock operators and ball boys / girls that they are the most important people in the stadium.  They can both cause disruptions that ruin the pace of the game if they are fully alert and capable.

Offline Official_21

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Re: Good gosh almighty...this is a playoff game!
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2020, 05:49:39 AM »
When we talked to this first time guy, he was a nice guy, and we were polite with him, knowing it wasn’t his fault that this was happening. He knew that he didn’t know play clock rules. All he knew was that sometimes the play clock is 25 seconds, sometimes 40 seconds. So we went through it with him as best we could. Gave him an instruction sheet. Please - pay attention to us and we’ll correct you when needed (which was quite a bit).
At least the PCO admitted he didn't know the play clock rules.
Would have been worse if he lied and got found out after the game had kicked off.

Offline bama_stripes

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Re: Good gosh almighty...this is a playoff game!
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2020, 07:50:58 AM »
Fortunately for us, all clock operators are required to be registered officials, and are assigned to games just like the on-field crew.  They are also issued O2O devices, so that any problems can be immediately corrected.

Can we still have problems?  Sure we can.  But the likelihood drops dramatically.

Offline copedaddy

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Re: Good gosh almighty...this is a playoff game!
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2020, 12:43:28 PM »
We had a similar experience last week also. 2nd round playoff, neutral site. The clock guy was a local employee that does clock work for several sports. But the play clock was a person who had never work a game. I am the B and I don't think we had a single play when the clock started when it should or was the correct 25/40. Good thing was both teams were quick out of the huddle and we never had an issue.
Have to agree with Robert, as a neutral host school you should have all this lined up. The chains came out of a local chapter, why didn't they call them for timers? I am sure they charged a fee for the use of facilities, not like it was a freebee. 

Offline Official_21

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Re: Good gosh almighty...this is a playoff game!
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2020, 05:08:30 PM »
We had a member on the play clock, which was broken so turned off. He did the game clock instead and was superb.
And that person was me  ;D

After the game Clearlake ref suggested to his R that I become their permanent clock operator on his crew.

Suffice it to say, I was very humbled and honored to have been asked  tiphat:

Online ElvisLives

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Re: Good gosh almighty...this is a playoff game!
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2020, 07:21:44 AM »
Already confirmed with host managements that our clock operators for our playoff games (both at 'neutral sites') this coming weekend are 'regulars.' That's a relief. Kinda sad that we should have to do that, but, by making the communication, they would at least have had time to secure some experienced folks from elsewhere, if their regulars had not been available. Thankfully, not necessary. Now we can re-focus on our work on the field.

Offline dammitbobby

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Re: Good gosh almighty...this is a playoff game!
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2020, 06:54:16 PM »
There was a game Saturday that could have ended in disaster.  Team A is up by 3, Team B has the ball, maybe their own 20-30, 7 seconds left in the 4th.  Ball is snapped, it's obvious it's going to be a pass play, so QB is ducking and weaving, running around the backfield, and then throws it incomplete to a receiver around midfield.  Team A erupts. 

But. 

The GCO was never started, and didn't run the entire play. Officials huddle together for a min or two, then the referee announces 2 seconds will be put back on the clock.

Team A erupts.  Again.  Instead of joy, it's unbridled rage.

Team B snaps the ball, heaves it to the end zone and it was batted away, to end the game.

I sure am glad I was not on that crew, and have to try to fix a screwup like that.  (In honesty, the play where the clock didn't run, it probably was 8-10 seconds; it seemed to take forever, but I am pretty sure it was at least 7, and definitely more than 5. I am positive they were grateful that it was batted away and the go ahead touchdown didn't happen.

This was at a D1 college facility and I believe with their GCO.

Offline AlUpstateNY

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Re: Good gosh almighty...this is a playoff game!
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2020, 07:10:14 AM »
The thing about stuff, "You don't really know (for sure)"...you don't really know.  One might also presume;
1. The Game clock malfunctioned, and the Clock Operator simply referred to his manual, back up stop watch that he runs simultaneously with the game clock, during the entire game, and it showed 2 seconds left.  Pretty much a STANDARD procedure to guard against unanticipated malfunctions.
2.  The Clock Operator suffered a medical emergency, or some other unusual emergency occurred, which took temporary precedence over the situation, leaving a judgment up to the exclusive decision to the Referee.   
« Last Edit: November 24, 2020, 07:13:26 AM by AlUpstateNY »