Richard Sandomir has an interesting piece, “By the Numbers, the College Game Has Less Action” in the NYT. Sandomir laments the lack of, well, content, to football games:

The Sugar Bowl, won by Louisiana State over Oklahoma Sunday night, contained the following: 111 replays, 163 informational graphics, 262 changes in the corner score box (down and yardage, statistics), 86 crowd or marching band shots, 120 cuts to the coaches, 28 shots of cheerleaders and 20 sideline reports.

Oh, and 16 minutes 28 seconds of live action generated by 161 plays, or 8.1 seconds per rush, pass, punt, extra point, field goal or kickoff.

Through the prism of obsessive stopwatch analysis, that means that only 7.3 percent of the 3-hour-43-minute game contained real-life movement. It’s not a lot, but any more might require on-field triage.

Throughout the game and during halftime, ABC and its local stations left the Louisiana Superdome 25 times to show 79 commercials (can we ever shake the memory of Snoop Dogg in a series of Nokia commmercials?) and took 35 other diversions to promote its or ESPN’s programming 48 times (have you heard enough about “According to Jim,” the new “Celebrity Mole” and “I’m With Her”?).

Heh. There’s a lot of junk in football telecasts, to be sure. And I wish all sideline reporters would be summarily fired–we just don’t need more chitchat, especially when it often comes during the action.

Of course, as all football fans know, the real problem with the sport is that there just isn’t enough of it. While Major League baseball has 162 games from late March/early April through late September and then three rounds of playoff series lasting into November, and basketball and hockey seem to have three cumulative days off between seasons, football fans truly know what it means to “wait ’til next year” once their team is out of it. The regular season ends in December and it’s not until September that new games come our way.

(Hat tip: Volohker David Post)

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Rodney Dill says:

    My NFL season lasts at least until this weekend.

    GO PACK 🙂

  2. Paul says:

    heh- I hit pause on the Tivo and went to the store to get the wife some milk. I caught up to real time in about 5 plays.

    I noticed the junk too but was not obsessive enough to quantify it! LOL

  3. James Joyner says:

    I do the TiVo thing myself unless it’s a game I’m *really* interested in. Works pretty well.