Time Out Questions

DinwiddieProud

VaPreps All Region
Gold Member
Dec 9, 2013
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Who on either the defense or the offense can call for a time out?

Is there a penalty for calling for a time out when you have none left?

Can the same team call back to back time outs without a play taking place in-between?

Are there any restrictions on where the players can go during a time out?

Are there any restrictions on how many coaches and/or water boys can go on the field during a time out?

Is there a restriction on how far coaches can go out on the field during a time out?

Are there any modifications to the rules when the officials call an injury time out?

Are there any provisions that permit the officials to award TV timeouts? Such as in a game covered by ESPN?
 
Last edited:

White hat

VaPreps Honorable Mention
Aug 17, 2001
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Who on either the defense or the offense can call for a time out?
Any player on the field or the head coach.

Is there a penalty for calling for a time out when you have none left?
No. The officials just do not grant the time out. If an official does a poor job of keeping track of time-outs (inexcusable, IMO) and stops the clock, it should be started again as soon as the error is discovered.

Can the same team call back to back time outs without a play taking place in-between?
Yes. They can take all three if they have them.

Are there any restrictions on where the players can go during a time out?
It's not spelled out, but obviously a player cannot go into the other team's huddle or walk around their sideline.

Are there any restrictions on how many coaches and/or water boys can go on the field during a time out?
From the numbers to the sideline, no. Between the hashmarks there is a limit to one coach and 11 players (and a couple waterboys is fine, too). Technically, the area between the numbers and the hash marks is an area where the huddle should not take place, but if there's no problem, then who cares? Most huddles are standing on the numbers.

Is there a restriction on how far coaches can go out on the field during a time out?
Yes and no. Nothing spells out a boundary for coaches, other than only one can go beyond the hash marks. But coaches have no reason to go anywhere other than where their players are. If they suddenly go someplace else, they can't suddenly start causing problems.

Are there any modifications to the rules when the officials call an injury time out?
Yes. First, we need a definition here: Authrized conference. An authorized conference is the huddle the team gets in to talk to coaches during a time out. There are two types, as mentioned above. 1 coach and 11 players in the middle of the field (between the hash marks) or anyone and everyone outside the numbers up to the sideline.

Now back to the question: An injury timeout is an officials' timeout, It is not charged to either team. Therefore there is no provision for an authorized conference during this time. This is one of the most misunderstood aspects of all time-outs. By rule, coaches cannot come onto the field to hold a conference during an officals time-out (3 exceptions listed later). Somewhere in the mists of time there was a rule that players could not come outside the numbers during an injury. I don't know when that was, but it's been gone for many years but it still lingers for some reason.

Here's the real deal. At any time between plays, players are free to go to the sideline and talk to coaches. Same is true during a time out for injury. By rule, they can stand next to the sideline and talk to the coaches all they want and the coaches can coach them up all they want, but on the other side of the white line.

The only times that authorized conferences are allowed during an officials' time out are during a TO for heat and humidity, a TV or radio time-out, the 1 minute period following a score or the 1 minute period between quarters.

And realistically, if there is an injury that's going to take longer than stretching a cramp or helping someone off the field, I am going to grant a full time out to allow for authorized conferences.

Are there any provisions that permit the officials to award TV timeouts? Such as in a game covered by ESPN?
If TV needs those, the producers will co-ordinate with officials to change a normal stoppage in play into a TV timeout.

Hope that helps.