Keith Avallone recognized this in the basic rules for Second Season Football by providing for 30 time "strokes" per quarter. Plays that "stop the clock" consume one-half stroke, all others a full stroke.
Fans of Second Season adapted this to make each "stroke" 30 seconds, and have offered timing alternatives to track minutes and seconds remaining on the clock.
But as long as the total number of plays in the game is realistic, and there is a method to allow for team "time-outs," timing to the second is not necessary.
Here's a system that simply defines each quarter as a number of plays, where a "play" is defined as an a run or pass from scrimmage, or a kick return. Kicks not returned do not count as a play.
Each half is defined as a number of plays (combined total of both teams).
- College: 72 plays
- NFL: 60 plays
- X-League (running clock): 48 plays
The effect of time-outs is to add extra plays to the game. Teams are allowed three time-outs per half, each of which adds one play to the length of the half in which it is called.
With this method there is no need to be concerned about which plays "stop the clock" and by how much. No micro-managing seconds at the end of the game. Also no need to concern yourself about the end of the 1st and 3rd quarters, which in real life are just opportunities for a slew of commericals. Just play each half straight through.