Not sure when exactly, but it has been around for a long time. It is simply a reminder to the coaching staff how much time is left in a game. Used primarily for strategy. In the Canadian Football League it is a three minute warning, and in minor football there is a minute flag held up at one minute before the half and the end of the game. Way back when. In the early days of pro football, many stadia didn't have a clock. Therefore, the timekeeper informed the referees, who informed the coaching staff that 2 minutes remained in the half. And a time-out was taken. This allowed the teams to set up to play the last two minutes and they'd have a pretty good idea as to what they had to do. Of course, in this day and age, it provides a swell opportune time-out for another slew of TV commercials! The official time in NFL games was kept on the field, not on the scoreboard, until the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. Seems to me that the timekeeper used to tell the coaches when two minutes was left, so the coach could put in his unused players. If the coach put you in every time the warning was given, you accumulated enough minutes over the course of the season to earn your football "letter" and the "letter" jacket. I don�t exactly know when it became a rule, but it must have been around the 1950s...anyway around this time the last two minutes gained importance in the game...I think it was Shaughnessy, coach of the LA Rams who noticed that all the teams didn�t use the last two minutes of one half to its full extent. for most teams the game was already over, so Shaughnessy developed a couple of plays to score as many times as possible in the last two minutes... after his theory was proven successfull, other coaches took over his strategy... sometime later, i guess, this warning was implemented ANSWER it became a rule in the 1930s
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