The quarterback must learn to play at all times in relation to the score and the time. He must be allowed to do this on the practice field as much as possible. There are just three major rules to remember and all the others are ramifications. The three major rules are:
1. Your quarterback should play conservatively when ahead. He should keep the ball as long as he can without kicking.
2. Your quarterback should take chances only when he is behind.
3. Your quarterback should play it safely when the score is tied, taking a few “sound” chances.
YOUR TEAM 0-OPPONENTS 0
Whenever the score is tied, whether your team was expected to win, play it safely, take some chances to win, but make them “sound” chances. A golden rule to remember is: “Don’t gamble when the odds are great against you and if you fail, it could mean the game.” Some quarterbacks play as if they are behind when the score is tied. After all, a tie is better than a loss.
YOUR TEAM 7-OPPONENTS 0
Whenever your team is ahead by seven points, do not hurry the play. Above all, play it safe. Try to keep the ball as long as you safely can without kicking. Put the pressure on your opponents and let them take chances and you capitalize on their mistakes. Be careful in the use of your passing game. If your team is ahead by six points, you should be thinking in terms of a touchdown or a field goal. You need a score to insure victory. You may take some reasonable chances, but always keep in mind that you are ahead. If it is late in the game and you are ahead by six points play it safe.
YOUR TEAM 14-OPPONENTS 0
If your team is ahead by 14 points, do not hurry the play. Play it safe and try to keep possession of the ball. If you can score a third touchdown before your opponents score, it should mean victory. Go after that third score and don’t be content with a 14-point lead. If you have only a 12-point lead, you definitely need another score. If you pass, use safe passes.
Many times a quarterback becomes too conservative with a two touchdown lead, and it results in defeat for his team. He cannot regain the offensive advantage he once had while the defensive team is gaining momentum. Stay with all your standard kicking rules. If the defensive alignment indicates a weakness to the pass, use your best pass. If you are ahead by 12 points, or more, late in the game, play it absolutely safe.