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Today’s fact: the average football game consists of just 11 minutes of action

TV Sports Football

Regardless of whether you’re a sports fan or not, chances are that you’ll be watching at least a portion of the Super Bowl game on Super Bowl Sunday, whether it be during a SUPER BOWL PARTY, at a bar, or just sitting home and watching it on TiVo with your family.

And the Super Bowl is a 4+ hour long extravaganza of commercial excess.  This led the WALL STREET JOURNAL to sit down and figure out exactly HOW MUCH ACTION ACTUALLY TAKES PLACE DURING AN AVERAGE TELEVISED FOOTBALL GAME.

And the WSJ came to the conclusion that during the 60 minutes worth of time on the official NFL game clock, there was approximately just 11 minutes of actual playing.  So what fills up the rest of those 3 or 4 hours worth of television?Sure, Web Watch knows that the obvious answer is going to be “the commercials”.

But even when you take the commercials out of the equation, that still leaves a ton of filler material that the networks have to compile and put into the broadcast.  Here’s the breakdown in descending order:

  • Shots of players just standing around:  58.5%
  • Replays:  14.5%
  • Playing time:  9.4%
  • Shots of coaches: 4.9%
  • Shots of players on the sidelines:  3.4%
  • Referee-related stuff: 2.4%
  • Injuries: 1.4%
  • Celebrating players: 1.4%
  • Miscellaneous highlights: 0.9%
  • Crowd shots: 0.9%
  • Highlights from other games:  0.7%
  • Shots of the announcers: 0.5%
  • In-game football promotions: 0.4%
  • Shot of the owner in their booth: 0.3%
  • Booth coach shot: 0.2%
  • Kicker warming up: 0.2%
  • Cheerleaders (definitely Dallas, not so much for the Jets): 0.1%
  • Sideline reporting: 0.1%
  • Overhead blimp shots: 0.1%

This really should come as no surprise.  Similar timing studies have been done for baseball as well, with sports reporters calculating that baseball games, with their 3+ hour times, also have a limited amount of actual playing action (with timing estimates ranging from 9 minutes to 12 minutes).