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Run down the clock

Posted by Bob on December 19, 2006

In Reply to: Run down the clock posted by RRC on December 16, 2006

: : : : : : : what is the meaning of 'Milk the clock' ?

: : : : : : In American football and basketball, there are numerous rules about when the referees can stop and start play. If you know these rules (and every coach knows them) you can run a stalling defense, as when you want to protect your lead in points by keeping the opponent from running a complete play. You milk the clock for minutes, even seconds, that keep the game from going anywhere except for the whistle that ends the half or whatever time period rules.
: : : : : : The expression is also used for employees who milk the time-clock for extra minutes of pay, or fewer minutes of work.
: : : : : : Ss

: : : : : Another phrase used to describe a stalling defense is "tie up the ball (or puck)." This will also work in sports lacking all the regulated starts and stops of basketball and football, such as hockey and English football. With a few minutes of play left in the quarter (or half or game), sometimes you can, if you're ahead, just stooge around midfield with the ball or puck until the clock runs out.
: : : : : SS

: : : : In (proper) football, whilst the referee has wide discretion as to added time to be played, there are techniques which are within the rules of the game which can be used to 'run down the clock' - the most irritating to watch is for a team to 'play the ball in the corner' - two or more players tippy-tap the ball around within a yard of the opponents' corner flag. the opponents get frustrated and try to tackle, but that usually draws a foul from the ball-less players or the ball goes out for a corner or throw.
: : : : the other sure-fire way to waste time is to make meaningless substitutions which require players to amble from the far side of the pitch to swap places with the team-mate on the bench. refs usually add 30 seconds per substitution, but players can make it take rather longer than that.
: : : : feigning injury and requiring treatment is so hackneyed that it rarely works these days.

: : : : all to 'run down the clock'

: : : : L

: : : Need we mention that all of the above strategies are designed to squeeze every bit of value out of the time remaining? Thus the connection to "milking."

: : The technique is also called "running out the clock" in American football and other sports.

: IMO, running down the clock is arranging things so the clock keeps running while as little as possible happens - usually when you're ahead to prevent the other team from having any time when (or if) they get the ball. If you are doing things to stop the clock as much as possible, it's milking the clock - usually when you are behind and there is very little time left and you don't want the clock running between plays.

I stand corrected. RRC's posting (above) is a better explanation, at least for American usage.