If a ball carrier falls to the ground, and the other team wishes to run the clock because they are leading, how many seconds will the umps allow the clock to run?

  • Until the team snaps it or until that team, or the other team calls a timeout
    – Ginge
    Jan 6, 2019 at 17:08

4 Answers 4


If a ball carrier falls to the ground, how many seconds will the umps allow the clock to run?

The referees will let the play run until they determine that the ball carrier is making no immediate effort to advance. At this point, the play is blown dead, and the clock will continue to run until an event that stops the clock takes place (eg, timeout, delay of game, the result of the following play stops the clock).

Rule 7, Section 2, Article 1-d-1 states:

An official shall declare the ball dead and the down ended:

when a runner declares himself down by:

falling to the ground, or kneeling, and clearly making no immediate effort to advance.


It all depends on the situation. If the play goes down out of bounds the clock will stop, if he falls to the ground, let's say in the middle of the field, then the clock will keep on running till somebody calls a timeout or if somebody went out of bounds.


Up to 40 seconds.

NFL Rule 4, Section 6, Article 1 states:

It is a delay of the game if the ball is not put in play by a snap within 40 seconds after the start of the play clock.

  • Thank you. I thought that the ref would declare his forward progress was clearly stopped, declared the ball dead, and the play was over.
    – Ken Henkel
    Jan 6, 2019 at 15:17
  • The question reads as a ball carrier during play falling, not a pre-snap delay of game. This doesn't answer the question as it is currently written.
    – Nij
    Jan 6, 2019 at 21:18
  • Let me flesh this out. The score is 20-18 with 01:35 on the clock. The ball carrier's team has 18 facing a first and ten.
    – Ken Henkel
    Jan 7, 2019 at 19:08
  • @KenHenkel That doesn't flesh anything out. Has the play stopped (ie, a dead ball) or is the play in progress (ie, a live ball)? If the play has stopped, the refs will allow the clock to run until the ball carrier's team snaps the ball, calls a timeout, or incurs a delay of game (after 40 seconds, the duration of the play clock, as this answer interprets). If the play is in progress, the refs will allow the play to continue (while the clock runs) given the ball carrier is making an effort to continue the play.
    – user16112
    Jan 8, 2019 at 13:53
  • If the fallen ball carrier is making no move to declare the ball dead, he may have a concussion. I think the refs would not allow the clock to run 40 seconds.
    – Ken Henkel
    Jan 14, 2019 at 19:47

once the play is over the refs will stop the clock asap if there is a reason to such as a timeout or an incomplete pass (if they don't do so on time they will likely ask for the clock to be reset to the correct position), otherwise the clock won't stop at all they just keep going (and the offense has 40 seconds to start the next play).

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