How long does an NFL game usually last? On average, an NFL game lasts about three hours.
An NFL game consists of four quarters, each of which is 15 minutes long. The clock is stopped after certain plays, so the game usually lasts around three hours.
The Length of an NFL Game
The average NFL game last about three hours, but there are a lot of factors that play into how long the game will last. The time of day the game is played, weather conditions, overtime, and penalties can all make the game last longer or shorter. Let’s take a more in-depth look at each of these factors.
The Length of an NFL Game by Quarter
The length of an NFL game is divided into four quarters, each quarter lasting 15 minutes. The game clock is stopped after certain plays, and this may extend the length of a quarter. For example, if a team scores a touchdown, the extra point attempt takes about 20 seconds, and the clock does not start again until the ball is kicked off to the other team. There are also two-minute warnings at the end of each quarter. These warnings stop the clock if it is running, and there is a one-minute intermission between each quarter. If the game is tied at the end of four quarters, overtime periods may be played.
In the NFL regular season, if a game is tied at the end of four quarters, overtime periods are played. Each overtime period lasts for 10 minutes. The game ends when one team scores during an overtime period. If neither team scores during an overtime period, another 10-minute overtime period is played. This process continues until one team scores during an overtime period.
The Length of an NFL Game by Half
The game is divided into four quarters, each of which lasts 15 minutes. There is a 12-minute break between the first and second quarters and a two-minute break between the other quarters. There is also a half-time break that lasts about 20 minutes.
The Length of an NFL Game by Overtime
The length of an NFL game depends on several factors, the most important being whether or not the game goes into overtime. If the game is tied at the end of regulation, each team gets one possession to score from the twenty-five yard line. If one team scores a touchdown and the other team doesn’t, then that team wins the game. If both teams score touchdowns, or if both teams fail to score, then the game goes into sudden death overtime. In sudden death overtime, the first team to score wins, regardless of whether it’s a touchdown or field goal.
The average NFL game lasts three hours and twelve minutes, but games that go into overtime can last much longer. The longest NFL game ever played was a contest between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets that lasted seven hours and eight minutes, including four quarters of regulation play and two overtime periods.
The Length of an NFL Game by Season
The average NFL game lasts around three hours, but there can be significant variation by season. In the regular season, games generally last between two and four hours. Pre-season and post-season games tend to be shorter, lasting around two and a half hours.
The Length of an NFL Game by Preseason
During the preseason, each game is four quarters long, with each quarter being 15 minutes long. During the regular season, and up until Week 11, each game is four quarters long as well, but each quarter is now 12 minutes long. In Week 12 of the regular season and onwards, each game is still four quarters long, but each quarter is now 10 minutes long.
The Length of an NFL Game by Regular Season
The average length of an NFL game has varied somewhat over the years, but has generally increased since the 1980s.
According to data from the NFL, the average length of a regular season NFL game was 3 hours and 7 minutes in 2019. This is up from 2 hours and 59 minutes in 1981.
The increase in game length can be attributed to a number of factors, including longer commercials and more penalties. The average NFL game now has over 100 plays, which also contributes to the increased length.
Despite the increase in game time, the length of an NFL season has remained relatively constant. The regular season is typically 17 weeks long, with each team playing 16 games. This leaves one week for bye weeks and final postseason preparations.
playoff games are typically even longer than regular season games, due to the increased importance of each contest. In 2019, the average playoff game was 3 hours and 21 minutes long. The Super Bowl is usually the longest game of the year, with an average runtime of 3 hours and 44 minutes over the last decade.
The Length of an NFL Game by Postseason
When it comes to game time, the NFL postseason is a whole different ballgame. We compiled data from the past 10 Super Bowls to see how long the average NFL game lasts.
Here’s what we found:
Super Bowls have averaged just over 3 hours in length, with the longest game clocking in at 4 hours and 8 minutes (Super Bowl XLVII between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers).
The shortest game was Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos, which clocked in at a mere 2 hours and 33 minutes.
So while the average NFL game during the regular season is about 3 hours long, you can expect games to be about 30 minutes shorter during the playoffs.
Even though the average NFL game lasts about 3 hours, there is a lot of time that goes into playing an NFL game. From the time the teams Warm-Up to when the game is over and the teams are shaking hands, it is usually about 3 hours and 15 minutes. If you want to include halftime, then it is closer to 3 hours and 30 minutes. So, if you are planning on going to an NFL game, make sure you have plenty of time set aside!
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