What you are really watching when you tune into an NFL game.

Just The Facts

  1. For 17 Sundays of the year you can sit and watch a variety of NFL games, pregame shows and postgame shows that span about 15 hours of the day.
  2. Out of these 15 hours you probably watch about 30 minutes of actual football being played.

Watching NFL Games on TV

As proof of our shortening attention spans, the NFL is the highest rated and most popular sports league in America. The goal of a televised NFL football game is to surround the actual action with an overload of presentation and analysis in the hopes that the viewer won't notice that they are actually only watching 10 minutes of football. Since the television broadcast has this inherent down time, they have had to come up with a variety of, sometimes helpful and usually bizarre, ways to keep the viewers entertained. A few examples of this in-game entertainment:

The Good

Bringing in hot female analysts and sideline reporters which provide the dual entertainment of giving the viewers something pretty to look at, while also providing us the joy of being able to laugh at the middle-aged announcers' lame attempts at flirting with them on air.

"Thanks for the gameday weather forecast Jillian. Although it looks like there is a lot more hotness on that map than you were predicting. Especially around your breasts. Back to you, Howie."

The Bad

Being subjected to blowhard announcers' rambling comments and stories because they are forced to fill approximately 120 minutes of time between plays and commercial breaks.

"Hey, the offensive linemen are the biggest guys on the field, they're bigger than everybody else, and that's what makes them the biggest guys on the field." -actual quote from John Madden.

The Incomprehensible

Aerial shots from the blimp, announcers drawing on the screen with electronic pens, having viewers text their votes for something meaningless and countless other bizarre attempts at time-filling entertainment. As strange as many of these attempts have been, there is a special place reserved in the In-Fucking-Comprehensible Hall of Fame for the Fox Sports NFL Robot.

The Fox Sports NFL Robot... attracting the elusive Stoned-Power-Ranger-Fan demographic.

Watching NFL Games in Person

As unusual as much of the television coverage is, the improvement in this coverage is one of the main reasons for the rise in the NFL's popularity over the past 30 years. Some reasons many fans prefer watching games at home instead of in person include better camera angles, replays, DVR and Tivo, updates and stats, and that it is much easier to masturbate at halftime should the mood strike. Not to mention the fact that at least on TV they try to entertain you during the down time between plays. While the at-home viewers are being treated to funny beer commercials, cutaways to other games and hot sideline reporters, the fans at the game must settle for the jumbotron and actually starting a conversation with another person for their entertainment. And that is assuming that you can even see the jumbotron or even a majority of the field from your seat.

By placing little TV's above your section, even the people that run the stadium are admitting that you are better off watching this one on TV than from where you are seated.

The Future of Watching NFL Games

Every year there seems to be some form of new technology and entertainment that is intended to liven up the game itself and provide amusement between plays and during breaks. So we have to wonder what the future of watching NFL games has in store for us. Holograms? More robots? Larger breasted sideline reporters? Like most innovations we have to believe that the evolution of NFL in-game entertainment will involve some combination of the things that already work now.