Are You Ready For 11 Minutes of Football?

As you get ready for the Super Bowl, here is an interesting report about football from the Wall Street Journal –  only 11 minutes of action during an average NFL game.

If over 100 million people will watch the big game, but this must mean we are more into the drama of the game, strategy of the coaches, high stakes of every play, and stories of players, more than we are the action of football.  (And for this game, the commercials.)

It is still the biggest sporting event in America, although not the biggest in the world. Soccer, tennis and Formula 1 racing are among the most popular draws beyond North America.

Here is the contrast from a CNN report, “the final for the 2008 European Championship, the world’s second-biggest soccer contest, boasted 166 million viewers (57 percent higher than the 2009 Super Bowl’s). About 287 million people caught at least part of the game, compared with 162 million for the Super Bowl.”

The report from the WSJ will help you prepare your snack breaks during the 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.

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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