You could be a die-hard NFL fan or you could have never even watched one game in your life. Either way, you probably want to know how long a typical NFL game lasts.
Brief History of NFL Game Length
The National Football League (NFL) was founded in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association. The NFL currently has 32 teams, with each team playing 16 games during the regular season. The playoffs then follow, with the top four teams playing in a single-elimination tournament. In recent years, the NFL has experimented with altering game length to see if that would improve ratings or attendance. So far, there have been no definitive conclusions reached.
In 2007, the NFL shortened its regular season from 14 games to 12 games. The reasoning behind this was twofold: to increase fan participation and to reduce injuries. However, after only two seasons of this shorter format, the NFL reverted back to its original 14-game schedule.
In 2011, the NFL experimented with an 8-game preseason schedule followed by a 10-game regular season. This format was intended to reduce injury and fatigue on both players and coaches while also giving fans more opportunities to see their favorite teams play. However, after just two seasons of this experimental format, the NFL once again reverted back to its original 14-game regular season.
NFL games are typically played over three hours with a first and second half. The game clock is started at the beginning of the first quarter, and is stopped when the final whistle blows. When there is a stoppage in play (a punt, kickoff, interception return, etc.), the game clock is restarted from the spot of the previous stoppage.
Reasons for a Long Game
One of the reasons NFL games last on average three hours is because they are a full-contact sport. In order to make it fair for both teams, players are allowed to hit each other as hard as they can. This means that the games can take a long time to finish.
Another reason for a long game is that there are stoppages for commercials and halftime. During these breaks, the players can rest and get refreshments. This also gives the coaches a chance to make adjustments to their game plan.
Finally, the officials have to keep track of all of the plays and make sure that everything is fair. If one team is getting an unfair advantage, the officials may need to call a penalty in order to level the playing field. This can lead to a longer game.
As a football fan, it is important to know how long an NFL game lasts. This information can be crucial in making smart choices about when and where you watch your favorite team play. In the United States, most NFL games last around three hours, but there are occasional exceptions.