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When it comes to the sporting world the term “garbage time” refers to the end of a game which for all intents and purposes, the outcome has already been decided. In addition, it allows coaches to get a look at players who normally ride the bench as well as allowing them to rest their starters and prevent injuries.

Usually during “garbage time” the level of play drops significantly and the number of penalties called rises substantially.

Most sports have a set of unwritten rules of what should happen during garbage time. The team that leads by a wide margin will usually take pains in not running up the score.

Football unwritten rules

The team with the lead will usually revert to more conservative play calling and try to keep the clock moving. Going deep or calling time outs is considered “bad form” and a sign of disrespect towards their opponents. Look out for cheap shots if they try that strategy. Taking a knee or a bunch of knees as time winds down is always a good idea.

Basketball unwritten rules

Empty the bench and let the 24 second clock wind down before attempting a shot. No three pointers

Baseball unwritten rules

Don’t steal bases or bunt to get on base when you’re way ahead. This will only result in the opposing pitcher getting pissed off and possibly throwing the next pitch at somebody’s head.

Soccer unwritten rules

Play keep away with the ball and don’t attempt any more shots on goal.

Hockey unwritten rules

See Soccer but with one exception. Since Hockey is generally ok with fighting, if a team tries to score while they’re way ahead expect some sticks to fly and some punches to be thrown.

Should any of these unwritten rules be violated the winning team can expect some kind of retribution down the road. As we all know, payback is a bitch.

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