Talk:Running up the score

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U.S.-centric?[edit]

Interesting article, but very US-centric; is this concept really entirely confined to the United States? I'm British, and find parts of the article quite hard to follow, as it rather assumes a knowledge of the rules of American football, baseball etc. For example, the phrase the standard practice of pulling out most of your starters, and--in football--either kneeling or running the ball up the middle is complete Greek to me. If "running up the score" really is overwhelmingly a US idea then this isn't so much of a problem. Incidentally, Phil Bennett links to a Welsh rugby player; perhaps not the person intended here! Loganberry (Talk) 01:40, 22 August 2005 (UTC)


Hmm. You raise some good, difficult points. First off, though the concept isn't tied to the US, it IS generally tied to a specific sport, American football (and to a lesser extent the other US sports mentioned), and therefore it almost exclusively occurs in the US. Also, it doesn't seem to be offensive in other countries. For instance (being British, you should remember this), a week or so ago Denmark beat England 4-1 (almost 4-0) in a friendly association football match. Four goals seems kind of excessive (especially for a friendly!), but I didn't hear of a word of complaint from the Brits about it.
Back to the article... I guess that it would be extremely difficult to follow if you don't know the rules and concepts of American football. I could expand the article to make it clear to non-fans of the sport... but I'm unsure if it's worth it. Checking out a few articles on American Football, American football strategy, etc. should make it clearer. If you still can't figure this out, I'll take it as a sign that I need to re-do some of the article. (Oh, and thanks for the info on Phil Bennett.) --Matt Yeager 04:45, August 22, 2005 (UTC)
It does sound as though it's a mostly US phenomenon, in which case as I said there's much less of a problem. (For example, Google gives only 50 hits on .uk sites for the phrase, which allowing for those sites that are simply mirrors of US ones or are about American football is as near zero as makes no difference.) I think it might have something to do with the fact that in general there's simply no equivalent of US-style high-profile college sport in Britain: in football (soccer) for example, there are about 100 professional clubs, but I don't think any university side would ever get crowds even in four figures.
The England-Denmark result isn't a great example, actually: 4-1 isn't a particularly uncommon score in such a match, and in general you have to get up to a five- or six-goal margin before a game is really considered completely one-sided. Cricket perhaps provides a better example: at the moment the Zimbabwean cricket team is extremely weak, and is regularly being thrashed by huge margins by just about every other top-line side. There is a growing feeling in world cricket that these utterly predictable games do nothing for the sport, but there's not really any feeling that the superior side should "go easy" on Zimbabwe once superiority is established (eg being 2-0 up in a three-game series). If anything it's the reverse: if Zim continue to be crushed, the International Cricket Council might actually do something about it, such as demoting Zimbabwe from top-level competition to allow them games against better-matched sides and thereby in the long term help their young cricketers. Loganberry (Talk) 15:18, 22 August 2005 (UTC)
I've added a brief spiel about how this doesn't ever crop up in soccer, I hope it makes sense! This just fascinates me. This whole concept, as far as I can see, simply doesn't translate to European sports or European sports fans in general as far as I can see; in the UK, the main team sports we learn at school (i.e. soccer, rugby and cricket) are all taught as being based around the ideal of racking up as many points as you possibly can, and if you end up humiliating the other side then so be it. The very idea of a team complaining because the other lot scored too many points against them is, to a British sports fan, just bizarre. If you get battered, then so long as it was fair and square, you got battered, end of story; as I mentioned in the article, a soccer team easing off in the late stages of the game or resting star players for a game they thought they'd easily win would be seen as unforgivably arrogant, and often as a tactical mistake too (if teams *do* try and ease up against "lesser" opposition, the insult combined with the easing-off itself quite often leads to the team in question conceding embarrassing and unnecessary goals). Presumably American kids are taught in school games to play with the "don't run up the score" idea of sportsmanship in mind, and it's also presumably hard to get out of the one mindset and into the other (I still automatically do it when playing Madden or NCAA Football, and wildly imbalanced scores are not uncommon in the British American football and basketball leagues) so I'd be really interested to know if the US national soccer team has ever shown its influence (i.e. not racking up big leads on purpose, or complaining after being battered)? 81.110.86.44 04:04, 7 January 2006 (UTC)


Let's see if I can explain this. I'm assuming first that you have a basic knowledge of American football--the idea of "running up the score" is uncommon in pretty much any other sport, though every once in a blue moon you do see complaints in baseball.

Here's the thing. Suppose that your team is playing mine. You're leading by 1 point, and you have the ball, 1st down, with 20 seconds left on the clock (and the clock is stopped). I don't have any timeouts. If you have the quarterback simply take a knee (running out the clock), then that's it--you've won. Period. But if you don't...

Suppose you instead tried to pass the football (a clear indicator of an attempt to run up the score). That actually introduces the possibility that my team might intercept a pass, and return it for a touchdown to win the game! In addition, there's virtually nothing to gain by increasing the score. There are some small benefits (listed in the article), but the downside (though unlikely) of losing the game would be far greater. So, logically, you ought to just take a knee and run out the clock to end and win the game.

Basically the best soccer metaphor I can come up with is this... Say that Team A and Team B are Premiership teams playing each other, and A is winning 3-0. (Oh, and say it's the middle of the season, so it's not as if A knows that it needs to score X number of goals to finish in Y place or anything.) In the 88th minute, team A brings out its goalie in an attempt to score another goal. I assume that a maneuver like that wouldn't exactly go over very well with the fans of either team.

Basically, that's what an American football team does when it doesn't just run out the clock. They're "bringing out the goalie"--trying to score more points, even at the (totally unnecessary!) risk of allowing some, and maybe even losing the game because of it!

That's basically why it's not a great thing to do. It still does happen in America, but it annoys the "victim". And, finally, as an answer to your question--no, that doesn't happen in American soccer, ever (as far as I can tell), simply because there's absolutely nothing that a soccer team can do to try and end the game quicker. The game's going to last 90 minutes, plus 6-ish more for injury time. Period. In American football, a team can speed up or slow down the end of a game. It's the only sport I know of that's like that (except basketball, but as the article said, it's generally the losing team that determines how quickly the game will end). Oh, and by the way, running up the score never can be considered to occur until "it's all over but the shouting"--i.e., the game is out of reach for the losing team, barring an truly unbelievable turn of events.

Hope that helps. If you think any of this information ought to go into the article in order to clarify things for non-U.S. readers, feel free to bring it in. Matt Yeager 07:55, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

Thanks, that's very informative. I still contend that this whole concept would be anathema for many outside the US, and that it's one of the things about American football which truly baffles many non-US viewers and Madden players. When researching my changes, I found a couple of things which just made my mind boggle - an article about a high school basketball game where one team went almost 100 points up with 6 minutes left in the 4th, and still left most of its starting 5 on the court, at which point the losing team's coach simply called his players off the court, incensed at the "lack of class" his opponent was displaying. The article also contained a letter from an upset parent of one of the recently-shellacked kids stating "in my mind, he finished that game the winner". Now, in Britain, certainly, that would simply get a round of derisive laughter. Because the concept of running up the score doesn't exist here, if you are losing by a hundred points (which *does* happen with reasonable frequency here in rugby union cup games, for instance), it simply means you are not good enough to be playing against the other team, and any coach, player or fan trying to imply that the other team was at fault for this would be laughed out of town. The other was a memo for a Massachussetts youth soccer league outlawing teams from racking up scores greater than 6-0! Genuinely astounding.
Anyway, your example about bringing the goalie up when leading 3-0 is a good one, thank you. Manchester City and England goalkeeper David James, who's also appeared as an outfield player (and, in a nice link, who took part in a training session with the Miami Dolphins a couple of years ago), is famous for committing howlers like this - running out of goal and giving the ball away at the other end of the field even when Man City are leading. As regards knowing how many goals you need to score for league ranking purposes - it's simply taken as read that you try to score as many as you possibly can, precisely *because* you never know when it might be important, and it's a lot easier to find yourself at season's end needing one goal to go up a place than needing twelve. It's just a hard habit to get out of, and I was wondering if it's just something to do with education - I've followed American football for about 20 years, but certainly when playing Madden or NCAA, while I can obviously see your point about not calling risky pass plays when already nine points up late in the 4th, it's always *too* tempting to try for another field goal, or risk pointless injuries in the pursuit of glory by going for it on 4th and inches - and this happens in real life in British American football leagues too... Fascinates me. 81.110.86.44 19:04, 7 January 2006 (UTC)


This is very interesting and enlightening to me, too. Let's see if I can't show you why Americans feel the way we do about this stuff. I think this might end up sounding a bit anti-British and pro-American, so be warned--I don't mean it ;).
Basically, what it boils down to is this. The players on a college football team are not getting paid to play. Some of them do receive scholarships to play, others do not. As there as far more college football teams than professional teams, the vast majority of college football players (even a majority of scholarship players) will never get rich off of the game as a professional. They are playing for one reason--the love of the game. The same principle applies to college basketball, Little League baseball, high school ice hockey, whatever. (It actually applies even more, because some college players might just be playing so that they can keep their scholarships; there's no such incentive at the high school level or below.)
Because the game is being played "for fun" (the players might object to that terminology, but basically, people play because of the inherent value in the game--teamwork, friendship, fun, competition, etc.), any time someone tries to take "the fun" out of a game, it gets criticized. If a high school football coach tried to make his players run fifteen miles every weekday in practice, he would probably not keep his job--the pain is not worth the gain. (For slightly more moderate things, such as running three miles a day, the coach might get criticized by the parents, but probably wouldn't get into much trouble.)
So... there's the general idea that the game is being played for the fun of the competitors. When your high school basketball team is playing a team that is just ridiculously good (which happens every now and then), and the game is out of reach, there's two options that the opponent can do. Option A: The starters of the winning team are pulled out, and other people get to play. The benefits? Not only does the losing team get to play some competitive basketball, the back-ups on the winning team get to play against real opponents. Both teams have some fun in a game where the competitive aspect is basically gone. Also, it doesn't rub it in the face of the losing team that they don't really belong on the same court as the winning team (a fact that--even if true--really has a way of taking the fun out of the game). Option B: The starters stay in. Maybe it's kind of fun for them, but I doubt it. The benched players get upset (because if they aren't playing even when there's nothing to lose, when are they ever going to play?). The losers get humiliated by losing by an even more ridiculous score, and it's no fun for anyone watching (especially if the losers are the home team). The only benefit is that the score looks a bit more impressive for the winning team, and so it boosts the coach's ego a bit. As an American, I think it's disgusting to take leave your starters in, and if I were coaching a high school game where my opponents had 100-point lead and didn't take out their starters, I'd consider doing what the coach in your example did. The woman you quoted was presumably not in her right mind, but that's understandable. It's not like it was the fault of the opposing kids--it's the coach's fault.
It's worth noting that if running up a 100-point lead ever happened in an NBA game, there would be little if any outcry (well, maybe an outcry over how bad the losing team would have to be to lose by 100, but not over the running up of the score). NBA players are getting substantial amounts of money to perform. They're not playing solely for the love of the game, so they can take an insult.
The soccer example you stated works the same way. Take a peek at mercy rule for how those things usually work. The idea is that substitutes can be used instead, since the whole point of the game is not' winning and losing, but having fun (and hopefully winning). Again, a rule like this would get laughed out of Major League Soccer, for example.
The idea of playing for fun is why no American in his right mind would avoid running up the score in Madden (at least when playing against the computer). The only reason he wouldn't run up the score would be because he was scared of losing the game because of it. If nobody's feelings are going to be hurt, running up the score is totally acceptable. If, however, I was playing Madden against a friend, and was killing him, I might just say, "do you want to start over, or play something else?" (In Madden you have the option, of course, of turning off the power and doing something else, which is an option that real-life competitive sports don't usually offer!) If I were playing in a Madden tournament (without a mercy rule), and somehow winning by a large margin, I might just run out the clock to get on with my life. (It only takes one loss because you were intercepted while running up the score to change your habits forever--something that unfortunatly happened to me against Florida State in NCAA football!)
I hope I've helped explain. A professional team would get virtually no sympathy when getting the score run up against them--only amateur teams have a right to complain, really. Hope I helped! Matt Yeager 21:27, 7 January 2006 (UTC)
Gosh, this is really interesting, thank you. In return, I will attempt to explain a British perspective on these thoughts, and likewise I hope my own comments in reply won't come across as anti-American! Your whole reply was very informative and of great interest, especially the link to the mercy rule article which I found fascinating (though still very alien to me), but the last paragraph was perhaps the most important one and should probably be incorporated into the article itself - I'd do it myself, but I fear the results might be a bit inelegant since I'm not sure where to put it or how to phrase it. I think that's the real root of the difference. In Britain (as has been mentioned already, I think) there's absolutely no tradition of "college sports" as an American would understand it; it's very, very rare (if not completely impossible) for a talented British-based athlete to obtain a scholarship to university on a purely athletic basis; some, like Michael Olowokandi or Ndudi Ebi, might decide to try their hand in America instead of staying here. There's no "draft" in operation anywhere (with the possible exception of Super League, which is a weird Americo-Anglo-Australian hybrid competiton), and most pro soccer players are simply signed by clubs straight out of high school to train in their academies and youth teams. School games themselves are always hard-fought, competitive affairs, and again if a team ended up losing 15-0 in soccer or 84-3 in rugby union or whatever, the losers and their fans and parents might well express vehement anger, but only with themselves, with the coach (for ineptitude) or the league which scheduled them with their opponents, not with the actual winning team who'd so comprehensively battered them. In school games of rugby union (especially those played by expensive/exclusive schools with rugby traditions going back over a hundred years), it's positively *encouraged* to play to uphold the honour of the school and try to inflict a massive defeat on the other lot. We do have schoolboy internationals, and then a whole raft of age levels for international competition (U16, U18, U19, U20, U21) which perhaps add a bit more pressure, something which is entirely missing from American sports in general as far as I can tell - I've been wondering what will happen when the US finally meets its match on the basketball court (i.e. when a full-strength, actually-taking-it-seriously US team full of NBA stars loses to a better Serbian or Argentinian team, for instance) to the extent that being picked for Team USA carries more prestige than being picked for the All Star game or making NBA 2nd team defensive or whatever.
It should also be pointed out that apart from a few higher-profile examples like the Varsity matches or the Boat Race, the vast majority of school and university sports matches, in any sport, will probably get about 30 spectators tops and be played in an open field or gymnasium - a British college or school having its own stadium is another completely alien concept. Watching a Seminoles game on NASN with a couple of friends here, they were utterly flabbergasted at the size of the crowds, and the fact that Doak was the home of the university team rather than some pro team they were renting it from. I appear to have drifted off the point, except to say that British and American sports are on different planets. With all this in mind, the only really relevant British pursuit is probably something like Sunday League football, which in turn is probably the equivalent of adult softball in the US. Do softball leagues often invoke a mercy rule? Sunday League or pub football games here would also laugh such a rule out of the park - apart from anything else, you're probably already aware that soccer and rugby have a much more "macho" reputation in Britain than American football (obviously incorrectly, but I think that many British and French rugby players could have had phenomenal NFL careers if they'd been born on the right continent), and adult amateur players asking for any kind of mercy rule would be seen as an implicit acknowledgement that they weren't up to the challenge and thus shouldn't bother playing. Anyway, I'm wittering on at great length, so I hope some of this has been of interest.
Oh yeah, I've had my fingers burnt dozens of times while showboating on NCAA Football (my owning a copy of this should prove I'm not anti-American, since it's not legally available here and I had to scour Ebay for someone willing to send it to me)... I never learn! Not unconnectedly, my favourite soccer team is Tottenham Hotspur, whose very ethos is to never under any circumstances settle for grinding out a boring, functional win (or worse, a goalless draw). That might explain a lot too. 81.110.86.44 04:57, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, your reply cleared up a lot of things. This has been very interesting. I think we've finally arrived at the reason why running up the score is considered a big deal in the United States, but not so much in Britain--Americans play (at the ameteur level) for the love of the game... Brits... don't? It still doesn't make a whole load of sense to me, but as the culture over there is so totally ruled by pro sports, it sounds fairly reasonable. (By contrast, of course, all major American sports besides baseball (where running up the score really doesn't apply anyway) were popular at the college level long before the professional level-- American football, basketball... even less popular sports, like [lacrosse]], that are seeing a rise in popularity started that rise at college.)
I think you're very, very right about rugby players who could have been great football players. If a person's a phenomenal athelete, they'll be successful no matter what. (If memory serves, the San Diego Chargers have an All-Pro tight end, Tony Gonzalez, who played for Kent State University as a basketball player immediately before joining the NFL--and he was a really good one, too.) On your question about softball league mercy rules--ehh. Some do, some don't; it depends on the competitiveness of the league. If it was a really informal league, the players might just be swapped around to make evenly skilled rosters!
Americans also do have many youth international competitions of the sort you mentioned--however, nobody really cares about them except for the participants. (And about the Team USA basketball team--well, that's already happened. Certainly, the players at the Olympics could have used more time to gel, but they were going at it full-strength in the elimination games. The Spain game (where we beat the #1 seed) was an example of this, as was the bronze-medal game (I watched the whole thing--trust me, they were taking it seriously, except maybe Tim Duncan. Allen Iverson looked like he was going to kill anyone who suggested that the Americans were coasting. When the USA lost to Argentina in the second round, that was full-strength versus full-strength, and the U.S. simply lost that one. Probably, we win that game 5-6 times or so out of ten, but certainly not 9-10 times. The roster was also more-or-less full of NBA stars. Maybe they weren't our best 12 players, but they certainly were from the top 50. That's why the American media was so outraged at the lack of a gold medal--because we really were sending really good players who really did try hard... and we still got bronze. Maybe more serious international competition would help, though I doubt the U-something international leagues are as competitive as major-conference college basketball in the United States.)
Wow, that went on longer than I had hoped it would. To sum up: I'd bet serious money that most decent American coaches would rather have the opposing coach flip them off than have them run up the score. It really is a serious thing (probably moreso than giving "the bird", though the latter is probably more likely to bring about a dismissal). Thanks so much for your perspectives. Matt Yeager 01:30, 10 January 2006 (UTC)
There are actually two great tight ends in the NFL who played exclusively college basketball: Antonio Gates is the Charger who went to Kent State, and Tony Gonzalez is a Kansas City Chief who went to California. (ESkog)(Talk) 16:50, 10 January 2006 (UTC)
Crap. Memory did not serve. What a shame. =p Oh well. Matt Yeager 23:22, 10 January 2006 (UTC)


This discussion was fascinating (but it was also so bloody polite!) although the conclusion that Brits don't play for enjoyment is exactly the opposite of the one which I would have drawn from the same data. If you are playing for enjoyment then it should be possible to lose heavily and still find the experience to be worthwhile.

You said "If nobody's feelings are going to be hurt, running up the score is totally acceptable." This is the key point. An Englishman who could have his feelings hurt by losing at sport would be someone who obviously took sports VERY seriously indeed. What would, definitely, hurt our feelings is if we thought the opponent was going easy on us. We really don't mind losing by a large number of points, sure we'd rather lose by less (because losing by less means we played a bit better than a team that lost by a lot), but we'd be pretty peeved if our opponant went soft on us. The one exception would be giving your second string players a go.


NOW yes, it would be nice to give the second team players a go, to make it more competitive, more fun for everyone. If the captain/maneger did this it would be mainly done for the benefit of his own second team players. But if the second team players came on to find that they were still able to outscore their opponents then they would continue to "run up the score". The losing team might be a bit embarrassed, but in the bar afterwards they'd giggle a bit and admit that they were outclassed. Meanwhile if my school beat the nearby school by a hundred points in a rugby match, we'd remember that for a while, and remind the other school about it frequently, but the other school would not mind very much, and the fact that we bothered to make a big deal of it would be a mark of respect between our two schools/universities.

Actually the idea of not "running up the score" seems quite arrogant to the average Brit. If you are playing us, we'd like you to show us how good you are, show us what it's like to play a much better team. If your batsman is able to hit every ball in my over for six then he should do it, and then I'll learn how to bowl better (i.e. the balls which he dosn't manage to hit for six). If he starts to go easy on me then how am I supposed to know whether his only scoring 10 of the over (rather than 18 off the previous over) was because he was only able to score 12 or because he was simply adhering to some weird imported Yankee version of politeness. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.31.227.113 (talk) 13:48, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

Oh and lest anyone think that, really, it's about giving the second team a chance here is an article where lots of people complained about "running up the score" when the second choice quarterback was playing. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1439141-is-there-any-excuse-for-pete-carroll-running-up-the-score-on-cardinals — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.31.227.113 (talk) 20:29, 7 September 2013 (UTC)


Really a fascinating discussion here (I added some stuff about the 1985 Bucs-Jets game last night after being surprised to find this article existed when I typed "running up the score" into the search field). Some interesting points that have come up, not really been addressed here in depth and could be in the article:

  • Relegation. If a European soccer team is getting beat by lopsided scores on a regular basis, it's probably, as was suggested re the Zimbabwean cricket team, going to get relegated out of that league or division next season. So blowout losses don't matter as much in the long term ... they just mean the team's competing at a level above their current capabilities. Whereas in the U.S., that concept is completely unknown. If your team plays Patsy State or Powerhouse Tech every year, you're stuck with them until you change conferences. If you want to. In that environment it makes sense to avoid humiliating the weaker team.
  • Statball. One other common objection to running up scores is that it's sometimes done to pump up star players' stats, which here in North America are supposed to be reflective of honest efforts to win games and suspect if gratuitously earned against weak opposition. Wasn't there an NFL game a couple of seasons back where some running back (I think) was on the verge of breaking the single-game rushing record then held by Walter Payton, but it was a game where his team was blowing the other team out, and his coach pulled him because Payton had set the record in a 10-7 game and he didn't think it honorable to break the record in a cakewalk?
  • Injuries. Left unsaid in this discussion of the increased likelihood starters have of getting injured by staying in blowout games is what the text of the article seems to suggest: that players from the team getting humiliated will often retaliate by trying to deliberately injure star players on the opposing team. This does happen, sometimes with the concurrence of coaches and even disapproving officials.
  • A better soccer example. Imagine that Team A is blowing Team B out 9-1. Team B has had one, maybe two players, red-carded so they're down. In the last ten minutes, Team A earns a corner kick. Team A's goalkeeper comes running down to take part (a play normally seen only in tight endgame situations á la pulling the goalie in ice hockey). Would that not seem like wasteful and ridiculous excess to fans and reporters?
  • College football culture. First, college football in the U.S. is a bit more like British soccer culturally than its pro counterpart because of the way regional identities are built around teams, and the fierce rivalries. Michigan fans want to see Ohio State get pounded by their team every year, and vice versa (and likewise with all the other big rivalries). And remember the role football supposedly plays in securing huge alumni donations. These people love seeing the old rival get slaughtered mercilessly.
  • Relativism. If the team getting the score run up on it is really good, they're not supposed to complain. Burying a weakling is less acceptable.
  • Inherent strangeness of concept when globally applied. All the same, the idea that winning too convincingly is unsportsmanlike seems to be limited to team sports. Imagine how we'd react if a foot or auto racer in the lead held back to avoid lapping the end of the field. No one would buy the excuse that it was about being sporting.

Looking forward to doing some more work on this. Daniel Case 06:19, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Another point to make: simply racking up a high score isn't always a problem, it's when the high score comes purely from offensive play that people give you dirty looks. There have been some games with mulitple defensive touchdowns padding the lead ... no one accuses those coaches of running it up. Daniel Case 18:04, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Right--it's only considered "running up the score" when it's a conscious decision by the coach to put up points just for the sake of doing so. No one would begrudge a coach for having his third-string running back run it up the middle with 6 minutes left in a 42-6 football game... and if the kid happened to break a huge run, who's going to be upset at the coach? Nobody. Defensive touchdowns work the same way, I think.
(By the way, your improvements to the article are much appreciated.) Matt Yeager (Talk?) 00:58, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
The best way I can add to this, although it's been long over with, is that this concept of "running up the score" can only really apply in football, where there is no constant clock, as in soccer. So basically, it just drags the game out unnecessarily long. Example: my college team (Clemson) was playing North Carolina last week, and they were doing the opposite. We were ahead 52-7 (we put in third string, which would mean not the main players, not the backups, but the backups of the backups) and we still scored on them. Usually, that's not considered "running up the score" because you're putting in less-talented players to ease up on a team. Plus, we weren't trying to throw the ball for a TD every time, we just ran it (as is usual good sportsmanship).

Basically, the reason you don't run up the score is more along the lines that, at our school at least, so that you don't hurt your starting players pointlessly. It should be an opportunity for younger players to get experience in a real game situation instead. Plus, sportsmanship is also a key, whereas I know some places will burn stuff over soccer games, generally it's a 'clean match' where the two teams can shake hands and everyone can get along without the trash talking. At least we try to make it like that. Back to North Carolina, they had no chance of winning and they tried to score, called timeouts to stop the clock (when you should only do when you're down and need to score to win), and just dragged the game out - a sort of reversed "running up the score", in a ways. Zchris87v 05:39, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Sorry to move the conversation from the specific to the intangible, but this attempt to find the cause of American preoccupation with "running up the score" would be imcomplete without a discussion of "respect" in an American sporting context. I'm an Australian who has lived in the US for a long time, so I think I have a reasonable perspective on it. I would say that, rather than looking for whether Americans play for the love of the game, whereas Britons have a more diffuse set of motivations, that there is a premodern code of honour and conspicuous deference amongst american male atheletes, both amateur and pro. WHereas an AUstralian or a Briton would say; "a team that loses by 100 points is disrespecting itself" an American athelete would say "I don't mind being beaten, but being beaten by a large margin impugns my manliness and right to play." —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.33.242.92 (talk) 15:08, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
I do think that part of this is about promotion and relegation; British sports leagues work hard to ensure that teams play competition of comparable ability to their own. The kinds of massive structural superiorities that exist in college football (e.g. every time an SEC team plays an 1-AA/FCS team) result in promotions or relegations to prevent mismatches. If you want a sense of the reaction to a team that gets blown out regularly, imagine your reaction to a boxer who gets knocked out in the first round of title fights repeatedly, but there is some rule by which he keeps getting those fights; you'd complain about the mismatch, not ask the champion to go easy on him. Certainly as a soccer fan, my reaction to a big win is to expect the loser to get relegated (and the winner promoted if possible). It does occasionally happen that a lot of money is put into a lower level team who then start winning every game by a big margin and waltz into the next division - and you might resent the rich boys swanning through town - but they'll be off to a higher level next year and you'll never see them again. From my perspective, for example, I keep wondering why Vanderbilt haven't been dumped out of the SEC and replaced by a better team (I'm sure the SEC could get the Seminoles or the Hurricanes). It's not just that the Commodores are awful, it's that they haven't been good for a long time, and there's no sign of them ever turning it around. At the other end, Boise State are too good for the WAC. There should be a way for them to get promoted to the MWC or the Pac-10. I think the fact that some conferences have one or two perennial champions and others have one or two perennial doormats is part of why running up the score is bad - no-one wants to lose by 50 points every week. Richard Gadsden (talk) 15:16, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
If you want to use a boxing analogy, running up the score is the equivalent of beating your opponent with a baseball bat over and over after you have knocked him down. Boxing does have the TKO, which is the equivalent of avoiding running up the score. It's not so much that teams object to losing badly (no one likes it, of course), but that running up the score is seen as disrespectful. Football games where one team scored over 100 points are very rare, but there have been many games where a team could easily have scored 100 or more if they wished to do so. Now, one may say that a team that gives up 100+ points doesn't deserve any respect, I suppose. But it's generally seen as low class to run up the score - if a team were to score 100+ points in a football games, opponents would be gunning to run the score up on then when they get the opportunity.--RLent (talk) 15:55, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

Except hitting him with a baseball bat is against the rules. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.31.227.113 (talk) 20:33, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

Examples[edit]

Alright, the opening paragraph(s) say that the worst offenders include Oklahoma, Florida, and Auburn. Oklahoma, I'll grant you, deserves mention, but Florida I thought left its running-up-the-score nonsense behind once Spurrier left. Auburn... I can't remember Auburn ever running up the score, although I'm not saying they never did--I just can't think up any examples. Bama seems to be a better SEC example--didn't they just lose a key guy to injuries well after a game was decided? (Against Florida, no?) The worst offender (besides MAYBE Oklahoma) is Texas Tech, but as they're already mentioned, I think we'd best leave them be. Any thoughts? Matt Yeager 06:04, 13 October 2005 (UTC) (removed them.)

The section on pro football I think should be changed a little bit. Saying that the last "embarassment" at the pro level occured in 1940 is just wrong. Look at all of the Super Bowls during the 80s and 90s. Not to mention some playoff games including Buffalo over Los Angeles in 1990 51-3.

Hey, feel free to be bold and change it yourself. Matt Yeager 23:18, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

Running up the examples?[edit]

Are all the college football examples really necessary to help readers get the point? Couldn't that section be spun off?

(Or is that sort of demonstrating the concept?) Daniel Case 17:35, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Recent Edits[edit]

I really like how this page is shaping up. 204.8.38.73, you have my infinite gratitude. Matt Yeager 02:04, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

West Coast[edit]

I'm not convinced that there is less running up of the score on the west coast, seems POV. Nick Dillinger 04:13, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

You can check out ESPN.com to find the scores of several Pac-10 teams, and note the occurances of "running up the score" (all the games' scores and stats are archived, so you can see if late-game touchdowns were scored by starters or fourth-stringers). It looked to me like the Pac-10 and the Mountain West really don't run up the score much at all, while teams like, say, Texas decide to score 70 points against Colorado before pulling out their starters. Matt Yeager 22:39, 26 December 2005 (UTC)
I removed this, as it doesn't really make sense in light of (1) the Washington/Oregon example given further down the page, and (2) USC's total domination of the Pac-10 and other opponents (such as Arkansas) this year. (ESkog)(Talk) 16:52, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

Bob Stoops[edit]

In the past few years (these are just the highlights):

  • ISU at OU; OU wins 53-7; 24 points scored in the last 18:18 of the game (21 in the last 12:18, including the clicher--with just over a minute left, a 5-yard run to score a TD providing that vital 46-point margin). (One caveat--7 of OU's final points were on a kickoff return for a touchdown, which I'm certainly not going to hold against them.)
  • OU 65, UT 13; Oklahoma scores four TD's in the second half--one 2 minutes in (no problem); one with 2 minutes left in the third quarter (iffy); one 7 seconds into the fourth quarter to make the margin 45 points (uhh...); and the beautiful clincher--the last one coming with 2:06 left in the game. Certainly, Stoops is a man opposed to running up the score (as this laugher of an article suggests).
  • Another beauty, this time vs. Oklahoma State. With OU leading 38-9 and 9 minutes left in the game... the play is... a 66-yard pass from Jason White (the starter). Oh, and add on another touchdown three minutes later for a final score of 52-9.
  • The infamous Texas A&M game, where Oklahoma decided in turn during the second half that 49-0, 56-0, and even 63-0 were not impressive enough margins of victory, before finally pulling out the starters (and adding a fumble return for a TD) to win 77-0.
  • OU at TTU... because when you're leading by "just" 24, and you're on your own 23 yard line with 3:11 left, a 77-yard pass play from your starting quarterback is totally justified.

Fortunately, Stoops got paid back by KSU and LSU shortly following the TTU game... next season, anyone?

  • Oklahoma 63, Houston 13--highlight: Adrian Peterson's run in for a score with less than 9 minutes left. Not so bad, but just one more mark against Stoops. We're not done yet!
  • Oklahoma 31, Oregon 7. The score isn't so bad... but still, with a 17-point lead, and just 3:13 left on the clock, Adrian Peterson pulls off a 17-yard TD run. Another example, and a more telling one--see below.
  • OU 42, OSU 14 (2005). The only 2005 example--simply because OU wasn't good enough this year to run up the score on any even semi-decent team. (Oklahoma State did not qualify as a semi-decent squad this season. Not even close.) Anyways, up by 21 with 6:41 left in the game, starting QB Bomar hurls a 55-yard TD pass. Nice.

That's a murderer's row, now isn't it?

Okay, so why were the Oregon and (even moreso) the Kansas games so bad? Because, as you might recall, during the 2004 season, Oklahoma was fending off a hot Auburn team (that, by the by, did NOT run up the score against opponents) in the polls. Bob Stoops ran up these scores to impress voters--it's worth noting that the most flagrant example of any running-up of the score occured in a game not broadcast on national television--most voters would see little other than the final score. Stoops realized this (the man's pretty sharp) and ran up the score accordingly, with less care for the integrity of the game than he had ever shown before.

And, by the by, as Stoops is included as the example of coaches that run up the score to impress voters, that's why it's so important. The Kansas game alone, actually, justifies his placement in the article. He's going back in. Matt Yeager 01:13, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

  • I'll concede this round, but still disagree with his inclusion. No matter how much we argue, he will remain. The question is, will you try to run up the score against me by continuing this argument? Nick Dillinger 03:28, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
    • No, as a West Coast native, I believe in not running up the score (see above). ;) I'm taking a knee. Thanks, though, for not pressing your side, and for humoring me by letting him stay in. Matt Yeager 04:48, 13 January 2006 (UTC)


Like Bobby Bowden once said, Stoops can't coach both teams.

Honestly, this whole article is nothing but a hit piece. Mostly against Oklahoma. If the teams that Stoops supposedly ran the score upon are so upset, might I suggest they play a little defense? Gravypan (talk) 05:27, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Agreed 100% Gravypan. Those who complain about RUTS and OU's alleged use of it are just looking for ways to conceal their own defensive ineptitude, such that now, it is OU's problem all of a sudden. What a joke. --rock8591 01:02, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

Great article[edit]

Just wanted to say this is a very well-written article. I'd suggest it for FA, but they'd probably muck it all up getting it to match FA guidelines. Nice work, people. -- Jake 20:15, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, ditto, and I found a lot of interesting information in you folks' exchanges on this talk page. I made a few recent edits about the Canadian hockey team and Epiphanny Prince. I also find it interesting that women's teams are now being held to the same competitive standards as men, even on a negative issue like this. (And yeah, Bob Stoops = score-monger supreme.)--Mike Selinker 08:29, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
As a sometime (though currently active) participant at WP:FAC, I can assure you this has a way to go (references? footnotes?). But it's getting pretty interesting. See below. Daniel Case 05:35, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Image?[edit]

Maybe it's time to illustrate this. Are there any images out there of a scoreboard showing a lopsided score that we could use? Daniel Case 05:35, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

2006 Olympic ice hockey[edit]

I was the person (accidentally signed out at the time) who changed the description of the US and Canada from the "two best teams" to the "two favorite teams", since the Americans lost to Sweden in the semis. But there's a more relevant point about Canada in the Olympics that I'll mention now.

Over here in Britain, nobody could understand the fuss about the Canadian women's team scoring so many goals. The Olympics may have an amateur background, but they're not an informal park game, and as mentioned in the discussion above, easing off and cruising would have been seen as considerably more disrespectful to their opponents than going all-out and winning by double-figure margins as they did.

However, the men's team were a different story. Early on, their coach gave an interview in which he said: "When we play the eighth game in 12 nights in the gold-medal game, that'll be a lot of hockey." Many people in Britain would consider that "when" to be far more arrogant and disrespectful than any amount of running up the score, and would have been pleased when Canada were knocked out in the quarter-finals. Loganberry (Talk) 16:22, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

So essentailly you british are bitching about a tired coach (of British decent) using the wrong tense in a minor interview, about a important issue (the games really were tightly scheduled, plus hockey players work much harder than any soccer or cricket athelete, and play way more games than any soccer jogger does.) For Britsh viewer's to feel satisfied when their commonwealth cousin loses due to factors unrelated to the verb tense used in some jackel's interview is disrespectful. --Nick Dillinger 03:57, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
This is Nick Dillinger's sockpuppet speaking here. In the last comment, Nick was upset about someone bashing his country's hockey team, and was offended by a foreigner laughing at him for having his team lose in Canada's important national tournament, yet have someone complain about something extremely minor. Nick did not believe that that comment was arrogant, as the coach did not really mean that Canada would neccessarily make the finals, but that any team that did would have to play 8 in 12 days, even in the middle of the NHL season.--NDsockpuppet 08:53, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
Also, Canada will not advance in the World Baseball Classic due to run total. Canada will get screwed because of the format, since Mexico scored more runs against South Africa. In a 3 way tie, run count is the tie-breaker, and even though Canada BEAT the USA, and finished with the same record, they will not advance! This is a practicle example of running up the score being beneficial. Also, the women's gold medal hockey team was correct in playing hard in their blowout wins. It keept them committed in their pursuit of the gold, and they came through and won. By the way, lossing to the best hockey playing country in the world 16-0 is not that bad. They opponents can't possible feel that bad. --Nick Dillinger 09:02, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

As far as baseball goes, Canada is out because Mexico lost by 2, the U.S. lost by 2, and Canada lost by 8. Someone has to get thrown out, and there's no other logical way of doing it. I can't see what the complaint is from Canada. South Africa has nothing to do with it. Neither does running up the score, as far as I can tell. Remember that "running up the score" doesn't really apply to baseball, because no win is ever assured before the game is over... so of course every team should try and increase its score as much as possible. Matt Yeager (Talk?) 01:13, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Well... it's got nothing to do with the specific identity of the team. I have in the past been pleased when the England rugby union team has lost, because of their arrogance in assuming victories. Actually, most of the time I like to see Canada do well as I have connections there and like the country. And I really don't have the slightest interest in getting into an argument about which sportspeople work harder than others; that's so subjective as to be impossible.
But there's also the "superpower syndrome". I know that many Canadians are quietly satisfied when they feel the Americans have "got their come-uppance" in something (not only sport), because in most things the US can throw its weight around. In ice hockey, Canada is the big bad superpower, so the less successful nations (and you can't get much less successful than the UK in ice hockey!) are going to find it funny when they lose unexpectedly.
England are in the same group as Canada in the 2007 cricket World Cup, and on paper that's a mismatch. Should Canada beat us, we'll be a laughing stock. So what? Carry on: we'll deserve it. Like ice hockey, it may be important to its fans, but it's still only a sport. I was just pointing out, as have others, that of the two examples I gave, in Britain the second - albeit a pretty minor thing - would be thought worse. Whether or not that's right is POV, but that's the mindset here. Loganberry (Talk) 23:14, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, it's really *that* sort of thing that I was sort of getting at above. (Hello! I'm the unsigned IP formerly known as 81.110.86.44 who was talking a lot at the top of the page. I am also User:Fosse8). I'm not American, and so I have no idea if this is just wild conjecture or racism or whatever, but I do get the feeling that things are just seen 'differently' in North America than in Europe. This hockey thing is a prime example. To a British audience, the reaction to a complete shellacking, even if it's schoolchildren, or even if it's schoolchildren raising money for orphans with diseases, is very, very unlikely to be "what disgusting behaviour by the winners"; it's more likely to be "well, that was bloody embarrassing, they should be playing at a different level". If it was at a *really* amateur level, the losing - losing, mark you - coach might forfeit the game once it got completely out of hand. If the *winning* coach came over to the team they were beating 15-0 and offered to not bother playing the remaining 20 minutes, I think that coach's "sporting gesture" might earn them a punch in the face for being smug and condescending. It's about different perceptions of what counts as arrogance, I guess. I just don't think that losing by a ridiculous margin, to a clearly better opponent, would ever be seen to reflect badly on the winners here.
Conversely (and note that although I love most North American sports, I know nothing at all about ice hockey), while the Canadian fan above didn't even really pick up on it, the business about "when we play in the gold medal game" would have British fans going postal. I guess in North America it's the sort of comment their next opponents might stick on the locker room noticeboard to motivate the team, but if a Premier League soccer team made that sort of quip, it'd mean them coming out onto the field under a hail of spittle and coins, and every single other team in the competition willing them to lose. If it was just the equipment manager's PA's babysitter's cousin phrasing things badly in an offhand comment to local radio and it somehow got picked up by the national media, there would at the very least have to be a press conference about it, and at worst that person would be out of a job. Basically, the running up of the score means nothing to me, but the "when we play in the final" comment smacks of unforgivable arrogance.
Further, although relegation is a big factor, nobody's really mentioned the flipside, i.e. promotion - if you're a lower division team, there is considerable merit in battering the opposition 8-0 every week. Not just in order to get promoted - if you're good enough, you'll go up anyway without having to underline it by running up the score - but beyond that. Promoted teams who've come up from a lower level are usually regarded as the patsies in their new divisions. If you won a lot of games at the lower level very convincingly, and left no victim unclear as to the extent of your superiority, then once you've been promoted, the reputation you've earned will stop you being regarded as a patsy, give your team a bit of belief that they really do belong swimming with the big fish, help encourage good new players to come to you, as well as getting plenty more paying customers through the turnstiles. I don't know what the US equivalent of this would be, or how the fans and players would react if an analogous situation could be found anyway? Imagine a hypothetical universe where the worst team in MLB had to spend the next season playing AAA ball, while the best AAA farm team became an independent MLB franchise every year? Or if the worst team in the NFL had to trade places with the Montreal Alouettes or something?
Anyway, it's not about "the love of the game", I think everyone plays sports for the love of the game; it's about how that love is expressed, I guess. The American viewpoints seem to suggest running up a huge score is unsporting, and spoils the game, whereas the British view would be that knowing the other lot eased off would leave a much more sour taste. Let's see if I've got this right: your average American down by six scores would prefer to have the opponents give them the finger than pile on yet more completely unnecessary points, but would be quite pleased if the opponents switched out their entire team to give the bench a chance, or offered to call it quits and go for a beer. Whereas your average Brit down by six scores would prefer to have the opponents give them the finger than see them switch out their entire team to give the bench a chance, or offer to just call it quits and go for a beer, but would be quite pleased if they carried on playing and racked up yet more completely unecessary points. I wonder if anyone will ever read this? 90.201.136.137 (talk) 20:58, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

(Un-indent) Well, I read this... and it's very interesting. First off, I believe that your last paragraph there is very true, at least from the American point of view.

I think with regard to being viewed as impressive... we are coming to the crux of the problem and the differences between the British and American mentalities. The Brits are concerned with being viewed as strong, worthy competitors. Americans love the underdog role. We love being underestimated and proving our doubters wrong. It goes all the way back to our Revolutionary War, when a ragtag bunch of farmers, brewers, and runaway slaves using French weaponry took out the strongest army the world had ever seen. Nobody believed the Americans would pull it off, but they did. I'm telling you, it is impossible to overstate the degree to which the "nobody believed in us!" mentality permeates American locker rooms across the country even today. (If you're a history buff: the difference between the two ideas is later seen in the War of 1812, a war which basically didn't ever need to happen. The Brits were making us mad by stealing our ships and sailors because they didn't respect us, so we as confident underdogs declared war. The Brits came on over and basically kicked our tails from New York to Washington D.C., eventually torching our capital--talk about running up the score! Finally the Brits came to fight one last battle at Baltimore, and as heavy underdogs, the United States managed to not lose the battle--which was a huge turning point and led the the U.S. eventually earning a tie in the war. We're big on the underdog role.) Perception perhaps doesn't matter as much to Americans as to Brits. (You saw that again in the build-up to the War in Iraq... we took other countries' doubts more as challenges than anything. We had to prove the "haters" wrong.) Canada shares that perspective to some degree; who cares if some other people think they're overconfident? Coaches and players are normally careful about not giving the other teams motivation, but upsetting the other teams' fans? What, do you expect a coach to say "yeah, we pretty much suck, we're going to lose" or even "When the final is played, whoever that is, they'll ... "? Everyone expects to win, and everyone expects everyone else to expect to win. That's North American sporting mentality for you.

The other major factor, I think, has to deal with the quintessential American sport: baseball. There's a lot of truth to that old saying, "Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball, the rules and realities of the game." As far as I know, baseball is just about the only sport in which the game's end coincides exactly with the certainty that one team has earned the victory. In all sports this occasionally happens: a buzzer-beating gamewinning shot in basketball that either scores or misses, or a shootout in soccer that ends instantly when one team has clinched the victory. But for both those sports and others, in the vast majority of games, there is some point where it is impossible for the losing squad to gain the victory. For instance, a soccer team that trailed 15-0 going into injury time would not just think they were hopelessly lost, they would be hopelessly lost. But the game does not end at the point that the losers no longer have any chance at victory. It marches on inexorably and pointlessly until its merciful conclusion.

But baseball, that great American sport, is different. At the precise moment when one team cannot come back, the game ends. And until that moment, the losers still have every chance in the world to make it up. It could be the ninth inning, and my team could be down by sixty (a sum about as likely to come forth in baseball as in soccer). It doesn't matter. My team still can win. We may think we are hopelessly lost... but we are not. We still have a chance and the game will not end until that chance passes us by, BUT... at the instant when that chance passes us by, the game ends. In baseball (I hope you know the rules!), the ninth inning is the last one, unless both teams are tied. The visitors play in the first (or "top") half, and the home team plays in the second (or "bottom"). When the visitors are leading after the top half of the ninth, or the score is tied, the bottom of the ninth is played with the home team having their chance to tie or take the lead. But when the visitors finish the top half of the inning and still trail, the game ends then and there and the bottom of the ninth simply is not played. Even in the case when the home team has to play in the bottom of the ninth, as soon as they take the lead, the game ends.

I think that has enormous influence over the American mentality of running up the score. Because it's impossible by baseball's rules (which I think anyone would agree make sense), it's one of those things that's simply not done. Because it's not done in baseball, it's "not done" in other sports, as well. Not intentionally, I'm sure; no American football coach would claim that he brings out the second team when winning by fifty because of baseball's cultural influence... but I think that influence is a big part of why he does it.

I'm curious to read your thoughts on this. Matt Yeager (Talk?) 02:04, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Alabama[edit]

Both referneces regarding Alabama are bad examples of 'running up the score'. In the first situation (2004, Alabama v. Western Carolina), the starting QB, Brodie Croyle, was injured at the start of the 3rd quarter. While Alabama did have a significant lead at that point, the purpose of Croyle's presence in the game cannot be attributed to boosting the score because it was too early in the game. Quarterbacks very rarely are taken out of the game after halftime. Additionally, the criticism Coach Shula received, warranted or not, was for leaving an injury prone QB in the game, thus risking the possibility of injury. Furthermore, football experts indicated that it was important for Croyle to get as many game-time repetitions with his young receivers, and that was reason enough for him to be in the Western Carolina game at that point. The criticism was not directed toward 'running up the score.'

The 2005 Alabama-Florida game is also not a good example. Alabama was attempting to run the clock down during the drive in which Tyrone Prothro was injured. It should be noted that the drive began with approximately 14 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. In football, 14 minutes is plenty of time for a team like Florida to score 28 points (see reference below to Choke at the Doak). The play call on which Prothro was hurt was a busted play, meaning the defense was able to break up the primary passing routes. Croyle had attemtepted to throw a short pass to wideout Keith Brown for the first down, but he was covered, as were the other receivers on the right side of the field. As the Florida defensive line breeched the Alabama offensive line, Croyle was forced to chuck the ball to his only open receiver...Tyrone Prothro...Who happened to be streching the CB's out to the endzone in an attempt to open up room for Keith Brown to catch the short pass for the first down to move the chains and give Alabama a new set of downs with which to run down the clock. So 'running up the score' was not the motive. Therefore, it is out of place in this article.

Also, the famous "Choke at the Doak" game in 1994 should be noted in understanding the play calling in the aforementiones Alabama-Florida game. In a game similar to the 2005 Ala/Fla game, Florida State University was losing by a score of 31-3 to Florida going into the 4th quarter. FSU scored 28 points in the fourth quarter alone to come back and tie Florida 31-31. This game highlights the importance of the leading team to run down the clock in the 4th quarter. Since a team needs to get 1st downs in order to effectively run down the clock, it's necessary to have the experienced starters in to accomplish this task.

Well, the first thing is, I guarantee nobody on the Florida team thought "no way FSU can come back" at the start of the fourth quarter. No way--FSU was better than that. There's a difference between being up four scores on a major-college opponent in their home stadium in a heated rivarly game... versus being up five scores on a I-AA opponent at home in a guarantee game. Secondly, as I recall, ESPN.com and Sports Illustrated both referred to both of those incidents (UA-WCU and UA-UF) as "running up the score". So... I think the information ought to stay in. It's a great example of the consequences of running up the score. Matt Yeager (Talk?) 03:44, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
The Choke at the Doak game was brought up in reference to the Ala/Fla game, not the Ala/WCU game. So your criticism there is misplaced. I guarantee you that no one on Alabama's team thought "no way Florida can come back" at the start of the fourth quarter. That's why they decided to run out as much clock as possible on the drive in question, anf that's EXACTLY why I brought it up in this discussion. ESPN and SI are not the final authority. Much of what's stated on ESPN.com and in SI is opinion. And I recall there was plenty of counter opinion to your beliefs of these two games. Actually, most of the criticism (which most find to be unwarranted) regarding both incidents was regarding the coach's decision to keep the starters in the game, not for running up the score. Since you obviously don't pay close enough attention to Alabama football, you certainly are not the final authority either. I've explained in detail why neither situation involved 'running up the score'. So, neither injuries are 'consequences' of running up the score, as running up the score was not the objective. If anything, these incidents should be included in an article titled "bad luck".
Quote from Mike Shula following the 2005 Bama-Florida game: "You watch the game Monday night (between LSU and Tennessee where Tennessee came back in the 4th quarter to win), you never know what will happen," Shula told reporters after the game. "We're playing a fast-break offense, sweating it out and trying to keep their offense off the field." It's clear the motive was not to run up the score; rather the strategy was to keep Florida's offense off the field -- see running out the clock.
First, on Western Carolina--other than "he needed the practice" (oh really? Based on the preceding games, I think he was doing just fine), you haven't said a thing on why it's not running up the score, and for good reason--it's an awful hard case to defend. So, that has to stay in, period.
Now, about Florida--come on. ESPN's game summary suggests that the fateful pass occured with about 9 minutes left in a 31-3 game. At the Florida 27-yard line. On fourth down. (You don't typically throw it into the end zone on fourth down in order to "run the clock out", by the by.)
Didn't Alabama have one of the best kickers in the country last year? And yet, they didn't trust him to pretty much ice the deal from the 27-yd line? (Yeah, like UF is going to score four touchdowns, making at least 3 2PC's, in under 9 minutes.) Even if he'd missed, it'd still be pretty much impossible for them to have lost--Florida had had an absolutely horrible day, it was on the road... absolutely no way. This is about as clear-cut a case of running up the score as you can get. Sorry, but just because Shula himself says it wasn't running up the score (what, like he's going to say "yep, we just really wanted to humiliate the Gators after the comments Meyer made last year, too bad it ended up biting me in the butt and ruining a fine young man's season"?) doesn't mean much. Matt Yeager (Talk?) 00:20, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
No, Alabama didn't have one of the best kickers. Bama had one of the most inconsistent kickers in college football in 2005. As was explained, the play that was called was designed to get a first down so that Bama could have a fresh set of downs to run the clock down some more. The play was broken up, so Croyle threw it to the endzone to his only open receiver. You seem to have a personal vendetta against Shula, Coyle, Alabama, or all three. You have trouble diputing the facts; therefore, your point of view is not neutral. If you continue to place these ALabama examples in this article, I will continue to remove them based on lack of NPOV. You might also want to consider adding in some Washington State Univ. football games in recent history as examples. I can remember several times in the past 5 years where the Cougars ran up the score.


Furthermore, you are supplanting your own theory of what happened with what Shula actually said happenned (along with what various other current and former coaches said when coming to Shula's defense when uniformed pundits questioned Shula). Without offering any citations, you claim that Urban Meyer criticized Shula for keeping Brodie Croyle in the game at the start of the 3rd quarter in the 2004 Western Carolina game, even though Meyer had done the same thing by starting Alex Smith when Utah had a 41-0 lead at halftime over Utah State and a 31-0 lead over SMU at the half (only Alex Smith didn't get injured). Next, you believe that Shula got wind of Meyer's comment and decided to pay him back. So, Shula managed to get a big lead on a Meyer's then top 5 ranked team and then it was payback time for some comment that you cannot cite. You conveniently brush off the 'running down the clock' theory, because what damage can a top 5 ranked team with a high-octane offense really do in 14 or even 9 minutes? It doesn't add up. The fact that these "examples" of "running up the score" have remained in the article is not a factor. Your non-neutral POV is obviously misinforming people. It is contrary to the goal of Wikipedia. Please cease your campaign of misinformation.

68.221.193.76

Umm, about Bama's kicking game... As you can see, in 2005 Christensen missed one extra point and made 14/21 FG's (11/14 under 40 yards, roughly the length of the field goal Shula decided not to have him take).

The comment about Meyer and it being "payback"... dang, I remember that from somewhere, but I can't place it. I'll take it out for now, since as you said, it's a rather serious claim to make without sourcing it. That said, that was still running up the score. Since what is and isn't RUTS is a judgement call, I can only appeal to the fact that of the thousands of people viewing this article (for some time the #1 result for "running up the score" on Google) over the past several months, and the tens of editors we've had make changes, I'm pretty sure that not a single one besides you has had any problem with the Alabama bit. Not one looked at the definition of running up the score, then the examples, and said "you know what, something doesn't fit here." Not one... except for you, an admitted Alabama die-hard. Do you think it may be possible that it is you who holds the bias and the POV? (Oh, and in your edit summary on the main article, you said something that was a little mean. Remember WP:NPA, please.) Cheers. Matt Yeager (Talk?) 06:07, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

There's a problem with that reasoning. I'm not an Alabama die hard. I said I follow Alabama football closely as I do Auburn, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia (my team). The fact that this remained in the article for so long just shows how you are misinforming people. Looking at the history of the revisions, I noticed that SEVERAL people tried to remove these Alabama examples. You keep putting them back in. You fail to offer any evidence as to how these examples are cases of running up the score. You just assume that two star players were hurt while Alabama had a big lead...so it must be running up the score. That logic doesn't work. I will revert again.
By the way, go take a look at all the examples in the Brodie Croyle discussion of recent games where teams have kept their starters in well into the second half with big leads (WSU is among them). This disproves your theory.

My 2 cents (I'm an Auburn fan). I was the one who posted the Shula quote above. 1. Every coach sends in starters following halftime. Shula is no different. It has nothing to do with scoring more points. What happened to Brodie was a tragic accident. 2. Alabama was not trying to run up the score against Florida. I think the other guy explained it well. Alabama was trying to run down as much time as possible. It was actually smart coaching. While it's unlilkely that Florida would have scored 28 points in 9 minutes, in football it's always better to be safe. Mike Shula is a conservative coach and he made the right call. They were going for the first down and the play broke down. I've wathched the play itself several times on youtube.com. Nasty break. Anyway, Shula's exlpanation should carry a lot more weight than Matt is giving it. He's the coach. He's the one who made the decision. I'd take his explanation over someone at ESPN who wasn't even watching the game. Lastly, neither of these Alabama examples should be in this article. They just aren't good examples. Maybe we can help you find some others. Spurrier has no shame. Let's check out some of his games.

Ah, my bad. It'd been three long, beautiful months without having to worry about a content dispute on this page and I had forgotten. However, IP addresses aren't really a great way to differentiate between commentators/editors. I mean (and this is just hypothetical, I'm not accusing you of anything) but you could make an edit at home, go to school, make a supporting edit, go to the library, make an edit... I mean, it's just hard to keep track.
In any regard, you two raise very, very good points. I would greatly appreciate having a few more examples--as the Alabama one appears controversial (I'd still personally call both of the RUTS, but both are far from perfect examples for the reasons you referenced), and as there must be scads of other, better examples throughout college football, I think your suggestion of putting a different one in may be appropriate. (Maybe much later we could have a section on "disputed runnings up of the score", but I don't know if that's a good idea at all... oh well, just thinking out loud.) I'm not planning on reverting again; you've shown reasonable civility, so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. (This benefit should have been extended a long time ago by me, by the way, and you have my apologies.) See if you can't bring in a couple more examples... I'd love to have more in here. Cheers. Matt Yeager (Talk?) 23:25, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

Heisman & Georgia Tech?[edit]

Seems like John Heisman's 1916 222-0 victory as head coach of Georgia Tech over Cumberland University should be listed, as it's the best example of "running up the score" on any team in history, also the most one-sided game recorded. Zchris87v 13:06, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, you'd think... they had a point, though--they wanted to prove how meaningless box scores are. We'll see. I don't want to just crap something out and put it on, though--it ought to be well-written. In fact, that might merit an article in and of itself. Matt Yeager (Talk?) 04:25, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
It is an article: 1916 Cumberland vs. Georgia Tech football game. It should be mentioned in this article somewhere, IMO. —Disavian (talk/contribs) 18:59, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

The Jack Pardee/UH tradition on this matter[edit]

Source #1

1988: 60-0 over Louisiana Tech, 82-28 over Tulsa, 66-15 over Texas

1989: 69-0 over UNLV, 65-7 over Temple, 66-10 over Baylor, 95-21 over SMU, 55-10 over TCU, 64-0 over Rice

Source #2

1990: 84-21 over Eastern Washington

1991: 73-3 over Louisiana Tech

1991 also included Miami beating Houston 40-10. 1992 included a 61-7 win by Michigan over Houston.

Honorary mentions to the 1980 BYU Cougars and the 1998 Kansas State Wildcats. K-State though 4 games had put up 249 points and allowed 21 points. That was the year before the 66-0 victory over Missouri.

Oh yeah, Jerry Glanville ran up the score on Pardee's Oilers in response to the SMU/UH game.

--RobbieFal 17:29, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

College football examples[edit]

A lot of the college football examples finish with slightly snide-sounding "but they got a taste of their own medicine in the end"-type comments that use words and phrases ("comeuppance", "paid the price for its crimes", "in Stoops's defense") that are pretty heavily non-neutral in their assumption that RUTS actually is a wrong thing to do. A lot of them are also, I think, of questionable relevance or with only a tenuous logical connection to their example—does anyone seriously think that Michigan only beat Ohio State in 1969 because they were motivated by wanted revenge for the score the previous year, and not because, you know, it's the Ohio State-Michigan game? (In other words, does anyone think the Michigan players would have played any less hard if the previous year had seen a close Ohio State win, or a Michigan win?) Or there's the Florida example, in which Spurrier pointing out that most of his supposed "running up the score" comes after he's already put his third string in is immediately followed by "But the tables were turned on Spurrier in the Fiesta Bowl", which reads strongly to me like it's saying that Florida putting in its backups should just be disregarded as untrue and they still deserve to be "punished" for being that much better than so many of their opponents. I'd say that, unless the counter-example being used is itself an example of RUTS or unless we have a quote from a coach or player saying, "Yeah, we really wanted this win in revenge for them RUTS against us last year," most of them need to go.

And if anyone wants to dig it up, I seem to remember Spurrier making a comment after the Gators beat Georgia in Athens (in 1995?) that they'd set their target at fifty points because they knew no one had ever scored that many against the Bulldogs at home. Might be something to include. Binabik80 17:12, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

I've re-added the counter arguments that Jake Wartenberg took out. Considering they are factual in nature, I have no clue as to how anyone could regard these arguments as 'vandalism'.Gravypan (talk) 05:24, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Opinion or fact?[edit]

This article is nearly devoid of citations and reads almost entirely like an opinion piece. For example:

  • "Running up the score is considered poor sportsmanship by many fans, players, and coaches..." This statement is based on what? A poll by a reputable source? Locker room chit chat? Internet message board postings? The contributor's person feelings?
  • "Many voters (coaches are particularly notorious for this) simply look at box scores before punching in their votes..." Again, based on what? Is there an article where coaches admit that this is how they vote? Is it based on one coach's offhanded remark? Is it pure fiction?
  • "Other fans, coaches, etc., believe that vastly superior teams should be allowed to make a point to grossly weaker opponents about their superiority" Really? Says who? And, what is "etc." in this case?

Those are just from one section. I'm not saying these things aren't true but the article doesn't point to anything to say they are true. (Of course, words like "many" are tough to base facts on since opinions vary on what number equals many.) --Wordbuilder 02:26, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Okay, here goes. #2 and #3 would be amazingly difficult to cite (and I don't even think #3 has any place in an encyclopedia article). So they're gone (well, 2 was considerably rewritten.) The edit summary I used, "misuse of language", referred to nothing but the idea of sentence #1 saying "Running up the score may be considered poor sportsmanship by some fans, players, and coaches"... which is a sentence that isn't really saying anything. That's like saying "Rubber chickens may be considered by some to be elephants"... well, yeah, some theoretically may consider rubber chickens to be elephants, but that has absolutely zero factual implications for the article. There are something like four links running through the article, and they all address running up the score as being a problem. I could get more (just by googling it up) but there's nowhere to fit most of them (we don't need ten links at the beginning of the article screaming, "Hey, look! This exists! People get insulted by it!" ... Do we? Or do we? I'm not sure. But I hope the recently revised article suits you. This page was one of the first I ever wrote, but it's just such a haven for POV-pushers (Coach so-and-so is unsportsmanlike!)... it gets out of hand sometimes. The wake-up call is appreciated. Matt Yeager (Talk?) 21:23, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Matt, for your work in improving the article. You are right, the sentence I wrote didn't say anything and should have been removed. I felt (and still feel) that what was written in the article is POV and I was trying to soften it. Whereas, "Rubber chickens may be considered by some to be elephants" is bad, "Rubber chickens are elephants" is worse unless it can be proven and said proof is cited in the article. I think that is what is happening here, especially with the sentence about "poor sportsmanship." If that's the case (and it may be), a link to a Sports Illustrated article (or somesuch) showing a poll along those lines would be a great help.
The citation links don't need to be at the beginning of the article. They need to follow whatever the claim is.
I think the article is better but still contains POV and unsourced claims. In addition to the one mentioned above:
  • "Certain coaches—for example, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops—are notorious for running up the score in order to impress coaches and sportswriters who vote in the Coaches Poll or AP Poll." -- Does he somewhere admit this?
  • "Conventional wisdom holds that there are some coaches simply look at box scores before punching in their votes." -- I'm a college football fan and am not even sure about how many voters this applies to. It would be far from conventional wisdom for non-sports fans.
  • Additionally, some coaches advocate running up the score to make another point, such as showing disapproval of comments made by opposing players, coaches, etc., in the media." -- This is likely true so shouldn't be too hard to find a citation for.
  • Every single one in the examples section should be easy to find citations for.
  • Things in the other sections follow the same course as the "Justifications for running up the score" section. Items like the quote from Billy Tubbs are especially important to source.
If you don't think the article is POV, I can nom it for a review of neutrality and we can get some additional input on how to improve it (if it does still need improving). --Wordbuilder 22:01, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Hmm. Should we link to some examples of teams, coaches, etc. saying "they ran up the score an we were insulted"? I can't think of any better way to cite that "poor sportsmanship" sentence, except for some ESPN or SI guy saying explicitly that it is in some online article. Do you think a couple examples would be enough?
Okay, conventional wisdom is bad. I think that's a statement that we can word theoretically and still have it make sense. I think you're right and we should be able to cite the rest eventually. I'll get to it someday Smiley.png. I'd kind of like the two templates to be combined as {{cleanup}} (and for us to hold off on a nuetrality discussion) until this cleanup gets done, but that's your call. This is looking productive. Matt Yeager (Talk?) 06:55, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
I changed out the tag for the time being. Citing sources saying that running up the score is "bad" or "insulting" or "classless" is the way to go. If you are unable to source statements like "Running up the score is considered poor sportsmanship by many fans, players, and coaches...," then such statements must be deleted since, without backup, they are POV. --Wordbuilder 16:25, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

As you predicted, it wasn't hard to find sources for most of these things. How do you like the way it is now? (Still a work in progress, but I'll try to get it done before the the deadline). The references are sloppily put together, but it's a start. Matt Yeager (Talk?) 22:33, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Looking better. Still has a ways to go. I changed the format of your references to <ref>link</ref> and added a "Note and references" section. --Wordbuilder 00:10, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Examples[edit]

The examples need some help. Just because someone whines about it on a message board or a team scores 70+ points doesn't make it a RUTS. Last weekend when Oklahoma hung 79 on Baylor, they did nothing but rush in the second half and they pulled their starters for the fourth quarter. With 9 minutes left in the game, sitting at the UNT 22, they ran the ball straight up the gut on 4th + 12 to intentionally turn it over instead of kicking the field goal. That's not running up the score. Any example listed here needs to involve actually trying to score, not just scoring because your opponent can't stop your bench warmers. It needs to be agreed upon by the media that it is a RUTS, not just people whining on message boards.

RUTSing doesn't necessarily have to involve 70 points. For example, in the 2000 UF-MissSU game, a Florida equipment manager was trampled in the celebration. Spurrier promised him that they would get revenge by scoring a touchdown for him. With under 2 minutes left in the game, UF threw a touchdown pass to make the game 52-0.[1]

That is running up the score. Scoring 70 points because the opposition can't stop your bench warmer tailback from running it up the gut isn't. --B 01:04, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

mercy rule in soccer?[edit]

I have never heard of such a thing in soccer - amateur or otherwise, how is that supposed to work? Maybe something like that exists in the US, does anyone have a reference for that?

And btw. as mentioned in the article, it really is interesting that good sportsmanship is interpreted 180° differently in Europe than in the US in regards to "running up the score"

84.114.130.170 12:02, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

I can't speak for the collegiate level, but here in Iowa, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and Iowa High School Athletic Association both have rules which call for a contest to be halted if the margin is 10 or more goals after halftime (i.e., a game would be halted with 25 minutes left in the second half if the score became 10-0; a 13-0 game before halftime would continue until the half is ended). The rules may vary based on level and the organization. [[Briguy52748 (talk) 21:29, 8 January 2008 (UTC)]]
Weird. I can't imagine a mercy rule as a rule in amateur soccer here in England. What I can imagine, because I've seen it on a number of occasions, is that a team is a lot up at half-time, and the two managers (in a youth game) or captains (in an adult game) get together and agree to shake hands on a win - usually reporting the game to the league as double the half-time score (so if you were winning 12-0, you'd report it as 24-0) and then the two teams would be pooled together and the two captains would pick players for the second half to set up reasonably equally talented sides. That makes the second half fun for all concerned. Richard Gadsden (talk) 14:50, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

New England Patriots[edit]

Recently, an editor has been adding in statements about the New England Patriots continuing to have their starting lineup play and perform fan-pleasing, big plays against weak opponents in the very latter stages of a one-sided game. I realize that the Patriots, their strategies, etc., have very emotional consequences for various fans, but to put such statements in an article without sourcing it against Wikipedia policy. It is another thing to say something to the effect of, "Many fans, coaches and sportswriters accused the Patriots of running up the score" if it were to come from a reliable sports article (e.g., a well-respected columnist in a newspaper such as the USA Today), but such a statement must be sourced to be included. If this editor can find a reliable article saying that the Patriots run up the score, then put it in and source it properly; otherwise, the statement could be challenged and removed. Hope you can understand my point. [[Briguy52748 (talk) 21:35, 8 January 2008 (UTC)]]

NPOV Tag[edit]

I'm doing NPOV Tag cleanup. This topic seems to have many editors who care about it a lot, and I'm not going to mess with it. It seems to me upon reading here that the topic looks pretty good, and I'd hazard to say that the reasons for the POV tag have been addressed. If you all feel the same, I'd suggest someone take it upon themselves to delete the tag. Jjdon (talk) 20:38, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Bobby Bowden[edit]

Removed the information about Bobby Bowden. This article is about running up the score, not about Mr. Bowden. —Preceding unsigned comment added by FreddyPickle (talkcontribs) 04:35, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

Suggested improvements[edit]

As requested by a user, here is why I believe this page merits {{Originalresearch}} and {{Examplefarm}}. It should be obvious that I am not knowledgeable about U.S. sports.

Originalresearch:

  • The "Reasons for running up the score" section reads like someone sucked their pencil and jotted down a few thoughts. It also duplicates the "Justifications for running up the score" section.
  • Bob Stoops: the external links prove that his teams won games by a lot; this doesn't even prove they were ROTS games, never mind that this was to benefit in polls, still less that he is notorious for this. The paragraph also duplicates the later "Oklahoma" section.
  • Who decided which examples to include? Are they canonical/famous/notorious? Are they picked to illustrate a particular aspect of ROTS? They seem currently to be just a random assortment of lopsided games.
  • Originalresearch overlaps with {{improverefs}}. Most of the article has no refs; some of the refs are deadlinks; some link to pages that don't support the contentions made in the article.

Examplefarm:

  • The games should be integrated with the preceding "Justifications for running up the score" section, where the examples can directly illustrate the relevant justification. Otherwise the list looks akin to List of 100 point games in NCAA college football.
  • What's needed for each game is:
    • why was the result considered ROTS
    • what reason was given or suggested for the team choosing to do so
    • did anyone deny that it was ROTS
    • were there consequences, e.g. disciplinary hearings, revenge/grudge rematches later, enduring notoriety for the coach, star player injured late on, ...?
    • cited source, not just for the result, but for all the preceding
  • Individual games:
    • Georgia Tech: the main 1916 Cumberland vs. Georgia Tech football game article (not very well cited) suggests the score was revenge for a previous baseball blowout. That's the kind of illustrative detail that belongs in this article.
    • Houston: they scored much more in the second half than the first in 1968. Is this rare?
    • Miami:
      • was it considered extra unsporting to ROTS in the Notre Dame coach's last game?
      • ""Nobody apologized to me when Oklahoma did it"--was this offered as a cause? Does this coach advocate ROTS generally?
      • "Miami was rewarded in the AP poll as it passed idle Iowa to reach No. 3" was there a lot of complaint about this as being unfair? I guess in Iowa; what about more generally?
      • "Miami paid the price when Tennessee drilled them, 35-7, in the 1986 Sugar Bowl." Presumably this means "lots of neutrals gloated" rather than implying their ROTS caused God to smite them in the Sugar Bowl.
    • Notre Dame: "The Eagles spent the entire year looking forward to playing Notre Dame again, and in 1993 ended up beating the Irish 41-39, which ended up costing the Irish a chance at a national championship." does this often happen, i.e. where the victim of a ROTS gets revenge later? I imagine that when it does happen, it generates good newscopy; but does it often happen? It seems likely that one team will rout another only when it is so much better that it is unlikely to lose any rematch in the near future. Is it considered "revenge" if it happens 10 years later after 9 further narrower losses?
    • Ohio State: "players have commented that there was some sort of confusion on the extra point kick, and Hayes was just covering for his players." this needs explaining. Is going for 2 points instead of 1 really considered running up the score, given that it's harder to accomplish? That could be given more prominence,
    • Oklahoma: 'Oklahoma garnered enough "style points" to leapfrog the Texas Longhorns' - is "style points" a technical term or someone's cynical appellation for something?
    • Penn State
      • "Penn State head coach Joe Paterno is known for doing everything he can to avoid running up the score" What does this mean? How does one go above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty in avoiding ROTS?
      • "I want to bury Pitt". why did he want to bury Pitt?

Other comments:

  • Is "running up the score" only used pejoratively; i.e. if there is an instance where one team's continued crushing pressure is considered justified, would one say "they were justified in running up the score" or "that doesn't count as running up the score" ?
  • "In amateur soccer, running up the score is usually limited by the presence of a mercy rule." This may be true in (parts of) the U.S.; elsewhere it's not. Since the whole concept of ROTS is NAm, I guess the whole soccer section could be refactored into separate "Soccer in the U.S." and "ROTS outside NAm" sections; the latter explaining that/how/why ROTS does not exist elsewhere would also replace the Australian Rules Football section.
  • Is it considered ROTS if the leading coach:
    • replaces all the first-string players and brings on the lowliest players, who then play as hard as they can to try to impress the coach and demonstrate fitness to move up the team's pecking-order?
    • calls a rarely-successful play which comes off and results in an unlikely score? I surmise it depends whether the score results from a fluke or from the fact that the opposition is so weak that the showboating move is less implausible than usual.
  • If it is true that ROTS is practised for rankings (either mathematically generated or voted by a poll) then there are several consequences worth addressing:
    • Are pollees truly willing to give extra points to high-margin wins even though these are widely considered unsporting? Is it just a conspiracy theory by disgruntled fans? Do any pollees deliberately vote down teams for ROTS? Why are pollees prepared to encourage a practice most fans dislike? Do they not realise they are encouraging it or do they not care?
    • Do people who dislike ROTS suggest ways of changing the rankings to remove the incentive for ROTS (as opposed to relying on coaches etc to behave honourably by ignoring the incentive)?
      • The article states the BCS calc was changed: has that had a noticeable impact?
    • How many people say "given that ROTS improve rankings, it is out-of-date to consider ROTS unacceptable, it's part of the modern game, just like the designated hitter rule".
  • what is a fake punt and why is it so reprehensible?

jnestorius(talk) 01:14, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Merging 100-0 Girls Basketball game into this article[edit]

I propose merging 100-0 Girls Basketball game into this article because it appears to be a one-time event that hasn't garnered much publicity beyond this week of the event, and this example would be better suited here. See WP:NOTNEWS and WP:News articles. RJaguar3 | u | t 08:01, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

I would not tend to agree. Other notable blowouts have their own articles, and this game did receive notable national attention, if not sustained national attention. MichaelProcton (talk) 19:44, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Original research[edit]

With no sources cited, the entire section "Reasons for running up the score" appears to merely be a synthesis of what editors guess to be the reasons for running up the score. All claims that remain uncited should be removed. →Wordbuilder (talk) 16:49, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

More original research[edit]

The talk page was actually more enlightening than the article, although that may be for lack of citations. To be honest, I cannot think of a Wikipedia-acceptable way to bring across into the article the points made in the talk page. Perhaps appropriate studies could be found in sports sociology or sports psychology journals? or maybe even anthropology journals?

On an objective level, the World Cup recently demonstrated to all of us some reasons why high scores over other teams might be necessary to advancement. For example, had Portugal-Brazil not ended in a tie in the Group of Death, the number of points scored over Korea DPR would have become highly relevant. This reason is loosely covered in the article (list), but I would suggest it is actually one of the least relevant points overall in the psychology of the thing.

What became strongly apparent in these discussion threads, in trying to explain cultural differences, was that in the United States and to a lesser extent Canada (especially in American football), it is considered dishonourable for a hugely dominant team to keep pushing hard, while in Britain/Europe/Australia (not enough opinions from elsewhere), it is considered dishonourable for *every* team not to push as hard as possible.

I notice that the question becomes most relevant in "national" sports - American football and basketball for the United States, Association football and cricket for Great Britain, hockey and curling for Canada. I bring in curling, because this has a built-in international mercy rule allowing concession if any team falls more than eight points behind, the absolute maximum that can be scored in a single end (and almost always never is). In both hockey and curling you are required to go all out, always, but only curling gives an 'out'. (Canadians, too, tend to become upset with teams that declare future certainties -- although much more so with non-Canadian teams. In the United States, not so much -- in many cases it is seen as simply a statement of fact, but it must be achieved "honourably".) American baseball, I would suggest, has different unspoken rules because, unlike American football, American baseball is financially designed to create long-lasting powerhouse dynasties.

The psychology of the thing does seem to be rooted in cheering for the underdog vs the assumption that if you lose, you deserve to lose and you need to get better (or get moved to a different conference). Much of the commentary re the British FIFA team was that if they did not advance, they had better not come home. In contrast, much of the commentary re the American FIFA team noted that United States teams tended to do best where they were rated the underdogs, but fell short against much less powerful teams.

Just as interesting to me is whose responsibility it is to keep the game "fair" and/or "fun", whatever the definition. In American football fixed divisions, United States commentators seem to place all the responsibility on the coach. European commentators, on the other hand, seem to place more responsibility for even matches on the association, per the Zimbabwe example above. (If they keep losing badly, the association will place them into a more appropriate level.) This frees the coach from all other responsibilities except to win.

(And this disparity, in turn, may well draw from much larger cultural assumptions about the appropriate role of government vs the role of the individual.)

All this comes from the discussion on this page only, in the context of various sports wins. Yet it cannot move onto the main article page, not in its current form. How does one cite tacit cultural assumptions and unspoken custom? - Tenebris

Australian Rules[edit]

Why is there an AFL section (as opposed to one on Rugby League, Rugby Union - teams in the RWC have lost 0-145, lawn bowls, floorball etc or any of the other hundreds of sports out there)??? There is no tradition of teams running up the score being controversial or frowned upon. Teams in the AFL (the Australian Rules equivalent of say the NFL) were hitting 200 points for the first time in decades in 2011. I see no justification for having a section on Aussie Rules just because some team once scored 600 points. Either we need a section on every sport with some sort of following or this needs to be edited out. As I understand it, "running up the score" is really only controversial in a North American sense. Whilst teams in Australia might take their foot of the pedal it is more because the game is won and there is no point trying too hard. But the general feeling is to 1) structure competitions to avoid it and/or 2) the emphasis is on the other team to get better. Unless someone can come up with a reasonable explanation for it being included I propose it be cut. Tigerman2005 (talk) 00:00, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Baseball's 'Gentleman's Agreement'[edit]

Stolen bases and sacrifice bunts are essentially one-run strategies that increase the chance of scoring one run but reduce the chance of scoring others because of the outright surrender of an out (on a sacrifice) or the risk of an out on an attempt to steal a base. A team ahead by a large margin finds them unattractive because the difference between being up 16-3 as opposed to 15-3 in a late inning has little consequence. A team similarly behind in the late innings fails to use them because one run means little in such a game.

Because statistics matter greatly to players who have contracts to negotiate, batters tend to take advantage of the weak second-line pitching in such games. Batters can be very selective on the pitches that they swing at, taking or fouling off pitches that might not be good for hits, and waiting for the 'batting-practice fastball' that can be hit far for padding batting average, home run, and RBI totals.

Of course, baserunners can try to steal bases when the opportunity arises if they seek to pad their glamorous stolen base totals.

Running up the score is an accident in a game whose events are largely random. Pbrower2a (talk) 21:03, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

Miami and Notre Dame[edit]

The entire section reads like it was a Notre Dame fan's dream, both in their justifications of Notre Dame's high scores and late fake punt, and in the fact that the ONLY section that claims that actual running up the score occurred is in the Miami section. Adding the comment that Notre Dame won the title three years later is just icing on the homer cake.

I won't fix it, because I am a homer myself, and don't need an edit war. But if some outsider could clean up both those sections, that would be better for the objectivity of this article. CodeCarpenter (talk) 15:46, 8 January 2013 (UTC)