"You need the ball to score” is an old football adage. If one team controls the time of possession, that means less time for the other team to go on offense (and score). Teams with leads often try to run the ball and control the clock, preventing the other team from getting the ball back. It’s true that the defense can also score (on a turnover, such as a fumble or an interception on the offense), but generally, a team needs to have the ball on offense to score points.
“You need the ball to score and as long as you are holding the pigskin the other team cannot score” was cited in print in 1956.
Fundamentals of the “T” Formation
By Jim Bonder
Dubuque, IA: W.C. Brown
You need the ball to score and as long as you are holding the pigskin the other team cannot score.
Third and Goal
By William R. Cox
New York, NY: Dodd, Mead
“We need the ball to score. We’ve got to get it back.”
8 November 1982, State Times (Baton Rouge, LA), “Tigers calm rough Alabama Tide on 12th try” by Sam King, pg. 3-E, col. 1:
You need the ball to score. Alabama didn’t run a play from scrimmage the final seven minutes of the first half and had the ball only 3:12 of the second quarter.
16 October 1985, Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, “Wharton hoping Temple has to pass” by John O’Connor, pg. D1, col. 4:
But the Indians are not above one of football’s most basic corollaries—normally, you need the ball to score.
John Carroll University Athletics
Over 40 Minutes Of Possession Leads To 43-16 Win For No. 10 Football
By Ryan Willis, Staff Writer
9/20/2014 5:13:00 PM
The golden rule of football is you need the ball to score, and John Carroll played its best game of keep-away against Heidelberg Saturday in a battle of nationally ranked teams.
Hucknall Dispatch (UK)
Jones blow as Cox asks chairman for more help with injury crisis
Published 18/10/2014 18:30
“It’s an old adage in football (soccer—ed.), but you need the ball to score and we tried to make sure they didn’t have it.”