National Football League, or the NFL, is increasing its popularity every day, and there are a million spectators all over the world. But, on the other hand, we enjoy the game, and we can’t even notice how long the games are.
If I ask you the question, “How long are football games?” Are you able to remember and tell the right answer? If No, this article is for you. And if you answer that the games are scheduled to end in one hour. Then this article is also for you because some games can take three hours or more to complete.
Let’s find out every factor behind the length of football games.
How Long Are Football Games?
Here we will talk mostly about NFL game lengths. A normal football game is divided into four quarters. And each quarter is 15 minutes long. There is a 12-minute gap between each quarter. So, how long should it take to end? Around 1 hour 30 minutes to two hours, right? But an average NFL game takes 3 hours and 12 minutes to complete.
American Football is scheduled to end in 60 minutes, and if additional time is required, then there will be 15 minutes extra in each half. But this rule is only applicable to the NFL, but when it comes to how long are highschool football games, then there are no additional minutes added.
Though the game should be ended in 60 minutes, there are interruptions from penalties, the time between two innings, and assessment. There are also two halves of each game. And both halves consist of two 15-minute quarters. Most of the time, an American football game lasts for two or three hours.
The timing also depends on the overtime. There are also media downtime and injuries that make the games longer than the scheduled time. Recently, a study showed that an average NFL game takes more than three hours to finish. So, I think you just get the answer of “how long are football games” or “how long is a football game?”
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Football Games: Quarters And Minutes
First, you need to understand the basic format of the game. So that you will understand the timings.
Every NFL game has four 15 minutes quarters. And a break has been given between the second and third quarter. After a game is completed, and if the score is tied after the final whistle. There will be overtime that consists of sudden death. The team which can score first in overtime will win the game.
Now coming to the quarter, every half consists of two quarters. After the first quarter, there is a 3-minute stoppage time. And after that, the second quarter starts. So, the first round or quarter takes a total of 33 minutes to complete.
Normally the second round starts after 13 minutes and 30 seconds, the record was broken in the 2017 NFL. So, how long is the halftime break? Usually, a halftime break consists of 12 minutes. But if you are watching the NFL Super Bowl, then halftime will take longer time than other games. There are so many celebrities who follow Superbowl, so you can expect that a halftime will last for more than 30 minutes.
After halftime, the third round starts. The round takes 15 minutes to end, but there are exceptional cases, so which the time extends most of the time. So, there will be a 3-minute break after the third round. And then the fourth quarter starts and also consists of 15 minutes. So, if you calculate, you will get that each half takes 33 minutes and a 30-minute halftime break. So, the game should end in an hour and 36 minutes or 96 minutes.
After finishing the final round, if the scores are equal, then there will be a sudden overtime death. The official time was 15 minutes. But in 2017, the rule was changed and reduced to only 10 minutes. After starting the overtime, the team who scores first within 10 minutes will be the winner. I guess now you have a clear answer about how long do football games last.
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So, How Long Does A Football Game Last?
A recent study showed that an average NFL game takes 3 hours and 12 minutes to finish. The game is not like basketball or hockey. Rather, the clock doesn’t stop during an American football match. In sports like basketball and hockey, the clock runs even when the ball is not in play. So, there are a lot of times when there is no playing at all.
A couple of years ago, there was a report by the Wall Street Journal. There has been written that a football game has only 11 minutes of action. And when we have been shown replays, it only takes 17 minutes to finish. So most of the time, coaches, referees, and players loiter around the pitch, and that consists of 75 minutes in total.
An NFL Game Takes So Long
You can have a query about why NFL games take so long to finish. The main reason behind it is clock management. Whenever there is an ownership change, the clock stops. Also, side changes include a clock stop too. Commercial breaks mark each stoppage time. And these commercials are the sources of the NFL’s income.
Each game has 12 assets per team, and in these times, there are TV commercials. These are the actors that make an NFL game long.
- Three Timeouts (Teams can stop the clock)
- Controversial Calls
- Break Times
- Commercial Ads
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NFL Games And Overtime
As I already said, the average time is 3 hours and 12 minutes. But the time can vary. For example, in 2008, there was a record that an NFL game ended within 2 hours and 33 minutes. The game was played between Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans. There are several factors that make a game slow down or speed up.
Teams have the right to stop the clock three times. And if a ball carrier goes out or there is any incomplete pass, the clock will run longer than 60 minutes. So, as long as there is an NFL game, there will be overtime too. And this makes a football game longer than usual.
So, I hope this article has given you the answer to how long are football games. When it comes to college football games, the game lasts around two hours. But Super Bowl games last a maximum of 3 hours to 4 hours. And the average time is 3 hours and 12 minutes. The main reason is that NFL games have advertisements.
If you have any further queries, feel free to ask in the comment section below.