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du Garbandier

Football: eleven minutes of action

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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.

In other words, if you tally up everything that happens between the time the ball is snapped and the play is whistled dead by the officials, there's barely enough time to prepare a hard-boiled egg. In fact, the average telecast devotes 56% more time to showing replays.

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.

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"Eleven minutes of action. Hours of organized loitering." Wow... that's the best capsule review of Police, Adjective I've read yet. I may steal it.

Edited by Overstreet

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My favorite line on football is still this one by George Will: "Football combines the two worst things about America: it is violence punctuated by committee meetings."

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It is worse today than it has to be. Two of those details are related. There is arbitrary stoppage on the field for the "TV timeout". Often the players just stand around. Also, this explains why attending a game can be so boring. And why hip-hop mixes specially created for the occasion with silly dancing on the jumbotron have ruined the live attendance for me. but it fills the time.

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Tyler   

I usually read in between plays when I'm watching a football game. Same thing with baseball; once I figured out that you only have to watch about 4 out of every 30 seconds of a baseball game to see all the action. It doesn't work quite so well with basketball, though.

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"Eleven minutes of action. Hours of organized loitering." Wow... that's the best capsule review of Police, Adjective I've read yet. I may steal it.

But even the 11 minutes of action are three guys sitting around reading from the dictionary.

I really don't mind the lack of time that isn't "action" in either baseball or football. It is when you get to think about what's happening and what each team should do next. The TV broadcasts, of course ruin this by having experts who are supposed to do your thinking for you - but usually do so poorly. Think what something like "Police, Adjective" would be with even somebody as good as Jeffrey giving commentary while you're watching it.

Rich is right about how boring attending a game can be. TV time outs suck the life out of a stadium.

Edited by Darrel Manson

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CBS has acquired a Thursday-night NFL package covering the first half of the next NFL season. As someone who watches only over-the-air TV and who long ago decided against spending his Sunday afternoons watching the NFL, this comes as great news. I still like watching football other times of the week, but Monday Night Football was taken away from me several years ago (replaced by Sunday Night Football, which I do often watch), while Thursday Night Football has always been a cable-only affair until now.

Edited by Christian

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