Thursday, October 14, 2010

Definitive Proof That The NFL Is Boring As All Get-Out.

I've got one foot on the Redskins bandwagon, but I'm probably about 2 weeks away from tuning the NFL out altogether now that basketball season is nearly underway. As if you couldn't already tell, I never played football growing up and have no particular fondness for the football. It's a plodding, possession-oriented sport whose cultural relevance is exaggerated by the fact that teams only play 16 games per season. To me, it exists purely for watercooler convo, and to break the monotony between the end of the NBA summer league and the start of NBA preseason.

I've waxed poetic repeatedly here about why I think the NBA is the best sport, period. A recent study proved why MLB really sucked, and reminded me of a prior study that proved how much of a snoozefest the typical NFL game actually is.
Here's something even dedicated students of the game may not fully appreciate: There's very little actual football in a football game.

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.

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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.

Football—at least the American version—is the rare sport where it's common for the clock to run for long periods of time while nothing is happening. After a routine play is whistled dead, the clock will continue to run, even as the players are peeling themselves off the turf and limping back to their huddles. The team on offense has a maximum of 40 seconds after one play ends to snap the ball again. A regulation NFL game consists of four quarters of 15 minutes each, but because the typical play only lasts about four seconds, the ratio of inaction to action is approximately 10 to 1.
The recent study I referenced above noted that the typical major league baseball game only has about 14 minutes of actual baseball. The NBA, well, it's gotta have at least 48 minutes of actual basketball because the clock stops during fouls or when the ball is dead. I'm sure these eggheads will find a way to insist that time spent dribbling up the court doesn't count, but that would be shortsighted. To be fair, you'd also have to count free throws as actual "basketball", even though the clock is stopped while they're attempted, so I'm willing to bet this number is closer to 60 minutes per NBA game. Which again, just goes to prove how much better a sport the NBA is by comparison.

Because seriously, in what other sport are you gonna see a 7-2 guy pull off something like this?

Javale McGee, by all accounts, is an average NBA player. He's barely even starting for his team, but even he can create a play-of-the-week candidate.

Before the resident NFL purists step in and says something about one-handed catches or perfect spirals, please. Hold the comments. You seen one, you seen em' all. How many NFL games are decided in the final seconds by anything other than a lousy field goal? Very few. How many NBA games are decided in the final moments? Most of em'.

Okay, I promised I wouldn't go knee deep in comparisons, so I'll step off now.

Question: Are you shocked to find out how little action exists in an NFL game? Knowing this, isn't the NBA 20 times more exciting by comparison?

11 Minutes of Action [WSJ]

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