Y’know how – when you were in school – the five minutes before lunch would drag on and on? You’d play little games with yourself, waiting to check the clock … and then you’d be like, Thirty seconds!?! It’s only been thirty seconds?!?
But then the 30 minutes for lunch would zoom past, riddled with Cheetos and drama and before you knew it, you’d be rushed off into clock-watching again.
Time is relative, Rookies: a construct. And we are riding it’s swirling vortex toward oblivion.
Let’s talk about football!
When I first started watching, I seriously thought it took ALL DAY.
Games are really only about three hours, but I think I was experiencing High School Syndrome (above).
Also, Johnny may have been tricking me by watching successive games.
The Time Layout
A note here – I’m going to focus on NFL rules. That is, the pros. High school and college have slightly different rules. Ask below in comments!
Each game has four quarters (but you knew that), of 15 minutes.
After there’s a break for halftime, aka commentary, cheerleaders, or old man band, or pee break, or more guacamole.
This makes football a one-hour game.
But you said football is a three-hour game!
It does take an average of three hours for a game. That’s because the 15-minute timer for each quarter, called the game clock, pauses every time one of these things happen:
The ball goes out of bounds
An incomplete pass
A timeout (duh)
Anybody challenges anything
The officials have to measure something
The two-minute warning (that’s when only two minutes are left in the period)
By the way,
Two quarters makes a half. A half is also called a period. No one ever tells you that but it’s one of those things that PNZU‘s roll their eyes at you about, if you don’t know. But I’m like, pick a word! Is it half or period! Are you gonna call the middle of the game period-time!?!
We should totally call the middle of the game period-time.
But I digress.
The other clock
We talked about the Game Clock above, which tracks the over-all time of the game. There’s also another clock, called a Play Clock, which can be thought of like a stopwatch. It makes sure action moves on time.
Teams have 40 seconds to make a play.
Or, if something crazy has happened, they might only have 25 seconds.
If they don’t, they get a 5-yard penalty called “delay of game.”
There’s always that one guy …
who loves to spout off some statistic about actual playing time in football. That if you remove timeouts and penalties and huddles and commercials and … what? strategy? You’ll get 11 minutes of actual field time. You’ll also get your guacamole taken away because you’re the worst football guest ever.
You will not be this guy, Rookie.
You know that these things are important and make the game. And when you’re into it, and understand it – even a little – it will make the time fly.
It’s the week between the games that will drag on!
Hugs and loves!