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Today's Tidbit... Things You Don't See Anymore
In the 1930s, stadiums began positioning timekeepers along the sidelines to synch the scoreboard clock with the officials’ timepiece. After a few years, the sideline timekeepers became the official timekeepers for games, and expressions such as “running out the clock” and “ran out the clock” entered football parlance in the early 1940s.
In addition to handling the clock, timekeepers fired a starter’s pistol at quarter’s end to ensure the referee knew when the clock hit 0:00, allowing the referee to rule on whether a play started before the clock ran out.
Neither the timekeeper’s desk nor the pistol is seen much in stadiums anymore.
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