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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Start times and commercial breaks made the national championship hard to watch

Watching the national championship game made me realize a few things.

One, I don’t think a team has ever made me realize that football fields are too short like LSU’s offense did all season.

Two, these games start way too late and go on for way too long.

Among all of the tweets questioning whether Joe Burrow is a human being and the endless “I’m taking the Tigers” predictions that made me roll my eyes and die a little on the inside were a barrage of just how endlessly long this football game was.

Legend has it that you could have fit Andre Debose’s entire career at Florida within the first 1.5 quarters of Monday’s game.

It clocked in at roughly four hours long, which is equivalent to watching the entirety of “Gone With the Wind” or playing “1917” and “Joker” back to back.

It certainly didn’t help that the game didn’t kick off until 8:18 on a Monday night. That already makes it difficult for most people to watch it in the first place.

The biggest culprit of college football’s ever-increasing game length has to be the number of commercial breaks. Was anyone actually excited to watch what was happening in Fansville rather than the next drive?

I didn’t think so.

No matter if it’s the SEC on CBS or ESPN showing a big game, it just feels like these commercial breaks take up way too much time. We’re at the point where the SEC and the Pac-12 have introduced countdown clocks at games during commercial breaks, like we’re just waiting on some Hot Pockets to finish cooking in the microwave.

Broadcast networks and the NCAA should take inspiration from hockey and soccer broadcasts (the only time I will ever recommend that someone take pointers from the NHL on NBC). The more fluid nature of both sports make an exact parallel difficult, but watching both sports makes me realize just how much football screws this up.

With hockey, it’s simple: three commercial breaks a period with two intermissions. It’s perfect, and it shows that it’s possible to get a sport with 60 minutes of actual action down to under three hours.

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Soccer is even more radical and continues to prove that it is quite possibly the most un-American sport possible. No commercial breaks during both halves with ads being shown at halftime. Even for big matches, I can count on an English Premier League game ending in under two hours.

For anyone who wasn’t an LSU or Clemson fan, it was awfully tempting to just turn the game off at halftime and get some sleep before work or class the next day. Even putting the game on a Saturday night like almost any other big college football game would make it easier.

Meanwhile, I, a guy who regularly watches hockey games that start at 10 p.m., found it difficult to make it through college football’s biggest event of the year.

And that’s a shame.

Follow Brendan on Twitter @Bfarrell727 and contact him at

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