30Q-2-KICKOFF (No. 16): Have mercy

We begin the second half of our journey to the beginning of the season. Over the next few days, you’ll see a few posts from Ben Enos that he’s written up and scheduled to post. I say scheduled because while we’re hammering away on football previews and kids are busting their butts in two-a-days, Ben is sitting on a beach in Hawaii!! Unbelievable! I kid, have a good time Ben. Continuing on, we’re going to look at a new rule across the CIF that will certainly affect some games you see this season. Yes, football is mandating a mercy rule.

Here’s the official wording.


At the conclusion of the third quarter or any point thereafter, if there is a point differential of 35 or more points, a running clock shall be instituted for the remainder of the game regardless of the score. The game clock shall stop only for a score, a free kick following a fair catch or awarded fair catch, a charged team timeout, a coach-referee conference or an officials’ timeout. This bylaw applies to all levels of play. (Approved May 2011 Federated Council)

That’s a biggie. It affects just about every team out there, be it the teams that dominate or the teams that get dominated. There’s not a ton for me to talk about on this subject, but I want to open it up to the comments section to see what you guys think. Is this something football needs?

This isn’t a completely new concept. The mercy rule have been used by some leagues and some sections. But it hasn’t been a blanket rule. In some cases, it was used if both coaches agreed to it before the game. But now, it’s a blanket rule across the CIF, approved by the CIF Federated Council. What affect will it have? Well, amazingly enough, the CIF Open Division Bowl Game would’ve used the running clock last year during De La Salle’s all-out blitz against Servite. That tells you how dominant DLS was. But we’re sure to see it quite a bit in the regular season.

The people most impacted are going to be the backup players that see a good chunk of their playing time in blowout games. Those games will wrap up a little quicker and there will be less playing time for them. From a sports writer’s perspective, I have to say I like this rule because it’ll help the games finish quicker and allow us time to make deadline on our stories. But I’m sure none of you care about that much (nor would I expect you to). So have at it. What do you all think of this new rule?

Jimmy Durkin

Jimmy Durkin is a sports writer for the Bay Area News Group.