Tuesday, February 8, 2011

11 Minutes

In honor of the weekend Super Bowl celebration: did you know the actual football is only played for an average of 11 minutes during a seasonal NFL game?

“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.”
Written in an article of the Wall Street Journal by David Biderman.

Meaning, when you tally up the time it takes for the football to be snapped to when the referees call the play dead is only adds up to 11 minutes.
If there is only an average of 11 minutes action in a football game, then how do broadcasters fill the other 174 minutes of airtime for an average football game?

Keep in mind that an NFL game is typically scheduled between 21/2 to 3 hours of TV airtime and that does not include pre-game and post-game commentary.

Based on my research, the following times are estimates of what TV stations will cover during an NFL broadcast:

Players standing around/ huddling = 75 min
Commercials/ Half time= 60 min
Replays = 17 min
Play Action = 11 min
Shots of head coaches and referees = 
7 min
Injured players = 2 min
Player Celebration (during the game) = 1.7 min
Cheerleaders = 3 seconds
Side fact: that broadcasters will show the Dallas Cheerleaders more frequently then any other cheer team.  This makes sense since they were voted number one in the Beer Store’s Chill magazine.
Some TV networks will fill in extra airtime with fan coverage; different networks concentrate on different elements.

I know as a football fan watching all the extras makes the Sunday football experience. Sitting around with friends, having a few beers, and munching on snacks is part of why I enjoy the game. Still it was surprising to discover that I am only watching 11 minutes of play action. Especially considering it can take up to a whole day to prepare for a Super Bowl party, if not longer. 

This started to make me think about how much play action there is in other sports?
If you know, please share.