The USFL is changing a rule in an effort to make games shorter.
Effective immediately, the clock will continue to run after incomplete passes in the first and third quarters of all games. The clock will still stop on incomplete passes in the second and fourth quarters.
“We’re pleased with the total number of plays in our game, but to maximize fan enjoyment, we’re also striving to keep games under three hours,” USFL head of officiating Mike Pereira said. “So starting in Week Four, we’re moving to a running clock after an incomplete pass, but only in the first and third quarters. We believe this change will achieve the desired game length, while still providing the number of plays you’ve come to expect in a professional football game.”
It’s not surprising that the USFL is making this change, as the TV channels that air USFL games (NBC, Fox, USA and FS1) want to know that games will finish in the three hours they’ve allocated. What’s surprising is that the USFL didn’t anticipate games running long, and has to make a mid-season change.