Field goals and timeouts in the NFL and NCAA

The teams are lined up for an end-of-half or end-of-game field goal. Maybe it will tie the game. Perhaps it will put the kicking team in front.

The kick is up and it’s good! But wait, one referee is running around waving his arms because the defense’s head coach apparently called time one nano-second before the center snapped the ball. The play doesn’t count and we’ll do it over.

What was served by waiting so long to call the timeout? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. The kicker would have been “iced” (or not) if the timeout was called five seconds sooner. Instead, a wasted play could have caused injuries with no purpose. And from here forward, fans will feel there’s more uncertainty as to whether the timeout will be called in time and not if the kick (the first one) will be good. Not very dramatic.

Obvious solution: If the offense is in a place-kicking set (holder kneeling and a kicker standing right behind him), our suggestion is the defense can not call time out once the center has grabbed hold of the ball. Simple enough. If you haven’t called your timeout by then, the play will count. Excitement will return and silliness will go away.

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