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NFL football - 11 of the most exciting minutes on TV

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Weekends in the fall and winter mean one thing - football. NFL football.

By season's end, we're blessed with up to four days a week of hard-core football action, served up in three-hour bursts of smashmouth glory.

Or, at least it's three hours at a clip for the armchair quarterbacks. But according to the Wall Street Journal, your average NFL game doesn't even offer up a quarter hour of actual action - only 11 minutes of game play when all is said and done.

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.

So while you're gorging on NFL playoffs - and lots of heart-healthy snacks, of course - keep in mind that you really do have to hurry through your bathroom breaks so you don't miss a moment of action. There are so few moments to miss, it turns out.

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This page contains a single entry by Craig Newman published on January 16, 2010 12:18 PM.

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