Saturday, January 16, 2010

A lot of non-excitement?

How much actual game action is there in normal NFL game? 

The Wall Street Journal has an article about how the average NFL game (on TV it's really noticeable) has 11 minutes of actual gameplay action.

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.

Wired apparently did a story about this last year, where in watching a game, figured that:
  • The second quarter contained two minutes, 58 seconds when the ball was in play
  • The third quarter was the most scintillating with three minutes, 25 seconds of action
  • The fourth quarter, which included a lot of kneeling to run out the time in the final two minutes, had showcased two minutes and 35 seconds of play
Perhaps Soccer is indeed "more exciting" than NFL football?  Naaah.

(Thanks to Deadspin for steering me toward this.)