Congratulations to those fans of the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles who are awaiting with eager anticipation the ultimate NFL confrontation this Sunday in Super Bowl 52. Even those without a rooting interest in the two teams, and in many cases folks who don’t watch much NFL football at all, will take the time to tune into the much-hyped game, which is projected to attract over 100 million American viewers.
Some of these fans are hoping for an action-packed showdown; others maintain curiosity about the entertainment value of the TV commercials, and many will join in for the social experiences surrounding the game. Millions will be wagered on the game’s outcome and related betting chances to gamble one’s money away. I have no idea if a betting line is available on this one, but here’s a hot tip — for real game action — take the under.
To satisfy my own curiosity, I viewed the AFC’s championship game between the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars with a stopwatch in one hand and pen in the other to record just exactly how much action actually takes place in an NFL game. It has long been said and smartly marketed that the NFL is an action-packed product that frenzied fans flock to because of its fast pace and excitement. The results of my Sunday afternoon ‘research’ astoundingly rebuke that assumption.
Taking a look at the numbers for that January 21 game reveals the following:
• The game kicked off at 3:05 p.m. and ended at 6:07 p.m. — a total of 3 hours and 2 minutes.
• There was a total commercial time of 48 minutes.
• Halftime consisted of 15 minutes
• Game ‘action’ totaled 13 minutes and 54 seconds*
• Total ‘non-action time’ was 1 hour and 44 minutes and 6 seconds**
*Game action was calculated as the time commencing with the snap of the ball to the official ending of the play either as the result of a tackle, incomplete pass or runner going out-of-bounds.
**Non-action time consisted of the time taken between snaps of the ball, injury timeouts (where they didn’t go to a commercial) and instant replay time.
By team, the Jaguars had the ball for 83 plays with a ‘total action’ time of 7:30.9. The Patriots snapped 70 plays consuming 6:23.1. The game’s 153 total plays took an average of 5.4 seconds to complete. The longest time play to complete was a fourth-quarter Jacksonville kickoff return that took 10.9 seconds.
All totaled that 60 minutes NFL game took three hours and two minutes to complete with ‘action’ only taking place for 13 minutes and 54 seconds. Without any ‘research’ to fall back on it would seem reasonable to conclude that basketball, hockey, soccer, tennis and even the much-maligned slower pace of baseball games contain more ‘action’ than do NFL games. The NFL is still a most popular product to watch even if the ‘action-packed’ can be questioned.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has recently proposed a series of rule changes aimed at reducing the time of a Major League game. Included in their proposals are a :20 pitch clock, player meetings at the pitching mound, and visits to the mound by a manger or pitching coach. Last season the average length of a MLB game was just over three hours, similar to the length of an NFL game.
My question is — do fans that pay the ticket price to see a professional game really care about how long the game takes? Based upon available 2016 ticket prices the average cost per ticket per sport were: NFL $92.98, NHL $62.18, NBA $55.88 and MLB $31.00. If, as a ticket-buying sports fan, you’d like to weigh in on the topic we’d love to hear your opinion. You can respond to either http://www.facebook.com/webbweekly or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
As for Sunday’s Super Bowl 52 in frigid Minneapolis, commercials are going at a rate of $5-million for each :30 spot. Although a few more could be added by game time twelve sponsors have opened their checkbooks to get in on the viewer action. Those sponsors include Avocados from Mexico, Bud Light, Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Doritos, Hyundai, M&M’s, Michelob Ultra, Pepsi, Pringles, Stella Artois and Turbo Tax.
Enjoy the game, root for your favorite team and if you are consuming a few beverages let someone else drive you home!