22 September 2012

A football game has only 11 minutes of action

From a 2010 article in the WSJ (the numbers might have changed a bit since then):
According to a Wall Street Journal study of four recent broadcasts, and similar estimates by researchers, the average amount of time the ball is in play on the field during an NFL game is about 11 minutes...

So what do the networks do with the other 174 minutes in a typical broadcast? Not surprisingly, commercials take up about an hour. As many as 75 minutes, or about 60% of the total air time, excluding commercials, is spent on shots of players huddling, standing at the line of scrimmage or just generally milling about between snaps. In the four broadcasts The Journal studied, injured players got six more seconds of camera time than celebrating players. While the network announcers showed up on screen for just 30 seconds, shots of the head coaches and referees took up about 7% of the average show...
This is why the only way I watch football nowadays is by using a DVR and speeding through the game (and past the commercials).


  1. And people wonder why I say that watching a football game is like watching paint dry!

  2. No wonder the TV commentators are completely perplexed by no-huddle offences. The 11 minutes of action are coming all at once!

  3. You Americans ought to consider taking up our Aussie football (or AFL, as it is sometimes referred to). It is a great game and has been played here for many decades, since 1859 in fact. The oval ball is in play from the very start of the game to the very end, some four 20 minute quarters later. Many skills are involved and the ball is handpassed, bounced while running with it, kicked long and high, and caught or "marked", if possible, after kicking, by players who run around most of the time. Wikipedia has an extensive page about the rules, etc.

    The aim is to kick the ball between high posts at either end of the large oval-shaped ground. Both teams have 18 players who wear shorts and t-shirt or singlets, with special boots. Find something of it in youtube and you'll see what I mean. I never did see the appeal to your American Code of football, with your bulky uniform, and now I find the ball is in play for an average of only 11 minutes? Crazy! You pay for tickets to see that?

  4. That's why I watch NFL Redzone. Of course you miss the build up and flow of the game and it costs extra to avoid all the game breaks and commercials, but you get to watch the best action from every game in the league as it happens.

  5. No wonder i have never been into American football, I have tried my best to watch it as a sports lover, and understand most of the rules, but i just can't seem to get into it. I will stick to rugby, soccer, Australian football, and everything else.


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