Whether you’re watching a football game on TV or sitting in the stands you may be wondering how long a football game is.
The short answer to this question is that a professional football game consists of four fifteen minutes quarters. Though as we all know the game lasts a lot longer due to commercial breaks, intermissions and injuries.
NFL Game Length – 3 Hours 12 minutes average
College Game Length – 3 Hours 24 minutes average
High School Game Length – 2 Hours to 2 and a half hours
How Long Is An NFL Football Game?
An NFL football game is made up of four fifteen-minute quarters but the average game lasts three hours to three hours fifteen minutes.
This means 1:00 Pm NFL games end from 4:00 – 4:15
4:05 PM NFL games will end from – 7:05 – 7:20 PM
8:20 PM NFL Games will end from 11:20 – 12:00 PM
On some occasions, the night games/ prime time games will run a little longer due to a slight increase in the number of commercials.
The main reason the games take so long is the television timeouts that they are required to take for commercial purposes. Each half there is a set number of commercial breaks that must be taken.
This is why you will find that NFL games are almost always going to last right around three hours. That is of course unless you go to overtime.
How Long Is A College Football Game?
Believe it or not, College Football is home to the longest-lasting sports event out of all the big four major sports leagues. College football games are longer than, basketball, hockey, baseball, and NFL games.
The average length of a college football game in the 2017 season was three hours and twenty four minutes.
This puts college football games just a few minutes longer than your average NFL game. The reason that college football games go longer can largely be attributed to halftime.
In the NFL halftime is twelve minutes long, giving players a chance to rest and recover from the first half. In NCAA football the halftime break is twenty minutes long.
A major reason for the extended half-time break is due to the college band. The band often comes onto the field during halftime to perform. This is a huge part of college football culture which means it likely isn’t changing anytime soon.
That being said the eight-minute difference in halftime is likely responsible for the majority of the gap between NFL and college football games.
How Long Is A High School Football Game?
High school football games have a little more variety in terms of how long their games last but luckily the vast majority of these games don’t have commercial breaks!
The average high school football game is going to last between two hours to two and a half hours.
High school football games are broken down into four quarters with each quarter lasting twelve minutes.
This difference in game-time is one reason that high school football games are going to be shorter than college and NFL games.
Additionally, the lack of commercial breaks throughout the game makes a large difference in the length of the game. Instead of having to fit in several commercial breaks in each half the game will simply start or stop based on what’s happening on the field.
High school football games also tend to lack replays which take away some of the time spent reviewing calls made by the officials.
All these differing factors between these leagues result in high school football games being the shortest in length.
How long is the Superbowl?
The Superbowl is going to be slightly longer than most football games. The main reason that the Superbowl is going to last longer than a regular NFL game is due to the pageantry involved.
The main factors increasing the length of the game are the halftime show and the “opening ceremonies” to start the game.
The anthem as well as other speeches before the kickoff will extend the length of the game as they occur right around the time the game is set to start.
The halftime show is also going to make the game longer. In the regular season and playoffs halftime in the NFL is only going to last for twelve minutes.
During the Superbowl, the halftime is going to be anywhere from 20-30 minutes. The halftime show only lasts for roughly fifteen minutes but the setup and clearing of the field take some time as well.
What makes football games take so long?
Now that you know how long a football game is you may be wondering why these games take so long compared to other sports.
The main reason that football takes so long is due to the breaks between all the action. In a three-hour twelve-minute NFL game there is only eleven minutes of action according to the Wall Street Journal.
This means if an NFL game only lasted for an hour or two you will see something like 5-7 minutes of action per game.
In order to allow a fair amount of plays to take place in football the games have to be quite long.
The stoppages between football are part of the game and will always take up a large portion of the game.
This means the only way to see a decent amount of action football games need to be fairly long.