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Day 82: The Cost of Following Football (in hours)

October 28, 2010

One of the first thoughts that crossed my mind when Year Without Football began: “What am I gonna do with all the free time?”

I haven’t really found a surefire “replacement” for football during this time.

I haven’t watched nearly as much live Premier League games as I thought I would.  The season started strong, but Chelsea is pulling away from the pack while Arsenal struggles to break out of the second tier with both Manchester clubs.  It’s a bit of a bummer watching one team dominate in a league with no post-season.  A championship is a climax and if you already know the ending of a book, you’re unlikely to read it all the way through.  I don’t think I possess much of a morbid curiosity to see if Liverpool’s disaster season stretches long enough to guarantee relegation (despite the fact that I am very pleased to see the Red Sox ownership team take control of the club; it’s a perfect fit).  I’m not making enough of an effort to seek out weekend daytime NHL games and I only caught a handful of baseball’s stretch run and playoff day games.  Aussie rules didn’t conflict at all since most of the main matches took place around 9-11pm out here in California.

There’s a possibility I may have overestimated how much time I put forward watching football.  It occurs to me I never actually formulated how much time I spent watching football during the season.

In the past, I’d watch a game if one was on and my weekend time was free.  Once you’re locked in, football ceases to be a “convenience sport” where you only need to watch one game a week.  Saturdays and Sundays are pretty much awash with games.  Saturday marathons would usually involve about 2-3 games + 30 minutes for daily recaps.  NFL Sundays are 3 games: 1pm, 4pm and 8pm.  (My biggest initial adjustment upon moving to the West Coast: no longer having 3 hours before the games began to prepare and/or accomplish routine maintenance tasks around the household.  Total culture shock.)  The average NFL game last season lasted 3 hours and 5 minutes (only 11 of which involved the ball in play). College football goes even longer.  Division III teams average 2 hours 50 minutes without television timeouts.

The average college football Saturday of 13 weeks took up approximately 110 hours over the course of a season with Bowl games (maybe I’d watch 14 in a year?) adding about another 49 hours.  That’s 159 hours a year, or just under a full week every calendar year.  Just with the college game.

Now let’s add the NFL, which runs 18 regular season weeks PLUS about 4 weeks of pre-season (I’d watch one pre-season game a week) and every playoff game plus the 7 hours of Super Bowl gameday broadcasts.  NFL rounds down to 3 hours per game.  3 games per Sunday = 9 hours.  9 hours x 18 Sundays = 162 hours.  I’d usually only watch the 2nd half  of the Monday Night game, so I’ll round to an hour and 20 minutes.  There’s only about 14 Monday Night games a year, so 14 x 1:20 = about an additional 19 hours.  Throw in the two Thanksgiving games for another 6 hours. The Wild Card, Divisional, and Championship rounds involve ten games for another 30 hours, then Super Bowl Sunday programming clocking in at about 7 hours total.  For good measure, an additional 5 hours for miscellaneous events such as the Pro Bowl and the NFL Draft.

162 +  19 + 6 + 30 + 7 + 5 =…

229 hours.

I’ll combine that with the 159 hours from college football…

388 hours.

Over 16 and a half days.  Per year.  That doesn’t include the blast of media hype, interviews, analysis or other forms of the sport’s blanket coverage.

Most people don’t accrue those kinds of hours at work for vacation time.

What could you do with an extra two weeks per year?  I started that pace when I was about 10 years old…if I live to be 85 and go back after this project, I’d have spent 3.4 years of my life watching football.

Upon further review…this was an intervention.

DR

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