The NFL’s 25 Minute Rule – (Review)

A normal NFL game is three hours long. Unfortunately, the real game is shorter–much shorter. If you subtract commercial breaks, instant replays, referee stoppages, players huddling, walking to the line, etc. If you subtract all the game that is not played, it equals to about 25 minutes. 

That’s right. 80% of a three-hour long game—or roughly two and a-half hours worth—is not played.

Watch the NFL Network. Every week they air what’s called NFL Shortcuts: every game that week cut to just the plays (kick-off, tackle. first play, tackle. second play, tackle, so on…)

 So, get the NFL Network. Get in, get out. Maybe time can be better spent elsewhere?

I mean, we pour over pounds of newspaper and magazine articles. We watch press conferences and interviews. We re-check our fantasy football line-ups twice a day and talk shop at work (“Did you see that game last night?”). (And with all the barbecuing on Sunday, meat companies should throw Fan Appreciation Days.)

Coaches spend their lives on it too–watching game tape, writing playbooks. Holding mini-camps and practices. Hours upon hours teaching, tutoring, mentoring. Assistant coaches–20 to 30 of them–helping out. (Reporters love it when a coach sleeps less than 3-to-4 hours a night. A bonus if he sleeps in his office).

Owners and General Managers watch from their box: reviewing salaries, negiotiating contracts. Keeping tabs on everybody from upcoming NFL free agents to junior college stand-outs. All with an army of scouts.

And players are wrung dry too–lifting weights, watching film, practicing. Memorizing a 700-page playbook.

And not just in the Fall. This sport’s year round.

In the off-season, coaches, scouts, owners and GM’s get ready for free agency and the draft in April–which demands a cartoon of game tape and fine-toothed combs. They hold mini-camps in May, July. In August, the players return for training camp–two practices a day for a month.

Then comes September. And finally a game. Just seems like a helluva a lot of work–and attention–for 25 minutes.


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