Garbage Time

What does Garbage Time mean in Sports?

Period in a one-sided game when game plans shift

Garbage time is a phrase often used in sports, specifically when a game has reached a point where victory is nearly certain for one team. At this stage, the strategies for both teams usually change.

Typically, the leading team may opt to replace their starting players with substitutes to give them a rest, or they may allow them to stay on the field to improve their stats against a less aggressive defense. This less aggressive defense is usually presented by the trailing team as they try to run out the clock to end the game.

This term is notably common in fantasy football. The reason being, during garbage time, players can score extra points which benefits their team owners. This is because the game’s outcome is already decided, and the leading team is often more lenient in their defense, allowing for more yardage and scores to run out the clock.

It’s important to note that garbage time can distort the perception of a player’s ability. A player’s stats may seem impressive, but they could have been bolstered by playing against a weaker defense during garbage time when their team was losing by a significant margin.

Example for using ‘Garbage Time’ in a conversation

Hey, did you watch the basketball game last night?

Yeah, I caught the highlights. It was a blowout!

Definitely! It was total garbage time in the fourth quarter.

Haha, I know! The starters were benched, and the substitutes got some playing time.