One of the unofficial rules of football (and maybe other sports as well) is that it is classless to run up the score. Once you’re winning to the point that it’s all but impossible to lose, you are supposed to take a step back and start running out the clock. You keep the ball on the ground (which makes the clock run faster because it’s not stopping as frequently), start substituting players (to keep them healthy), and if all else fails start kneeling down.
My alma mater’s football team, the Southern Tech Wolf Pack, has a reputation of “classlessness” because of our historic tendency not to stay aggressive right down to the wire. Back in the team’s heyday, they would rack up upwards of 80+ points a game sometimes. Some members of the conference still have a chip on their shoulder about that and when the team starts falling behind these days, not a single one of them calls off the dogs under any circumstances.
I can’t say that I blame them.
To be honest, though, I don’t think that running up the score should have the stigma that it does. There are some aspects of it that make sense from a tactical standpoint. You keep the ball on the ground to run out the clock faster. The put in your reserves to keep your starters healthy and give the future starters (at the college level) some playing time. When it gets to the point that you’re taking a knee or intentionally running out of bounds at the one yard-line, that’s actually more disrespectful than continuing to score.
I get annoyed when the teams go to their backup quarterback and then use him only to kneel the ball or keep running up the center just to punt. These are guys that don’t often get to play and it bugs me that the one chance they get out on the field, they aren’t given the opportunity to actually do anything.
I think that the best way to handle a blow-out is to take out your starters to give the other kids a chance to play, but then play as aggressively as you always do. There’s really nothing more boring than a game where only one team is playing, regardless of the score.