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Pick of the day: Inaction in the NFL

I have always tried arguing with friends about why I think football is insanely boring and certainly less interesting than college basketball. But every time I make the attempt -- all the stopping, the starts and fits, the boring car commercials -- I am quickly shot down. Now, thanks to a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal, I have some data to back me up.

According to the Journal's David Biderman, there is an average of eleven minutes during each game when the ball is in play. A football game -- yes, even that one from Sunday night -- features hardly any football being played.

From the article:

According to a Wall Street Journal study of four recent broadcasts, and similar estimates by researchers, the average amount of time the ball is in play on the field during an NFL game is about 11 minutes. In other words, if you tally up everything that happens between the time the ball is snapped and the play is whistled dead by the officials, there's barely enough time to prepare a hard-boiled egg. In fact, the average telecast devotes 56% more time to showing replays.

So what else goes on? Biderman explains: Commercials take up an hour. Another 75 minutes is spent on players hanging out by the scrimmage line, huddling, or doing whatever else that does not involve tackling, throwing, or running.

I don't want to say much more because you must click through to the story. And for those of you who didn't want to sit through the entire telecast of the 2010 Super Bowl but are still upset that you missed the commercials? The New York Times's Stuart Elliott live-blogged the commercials, which created a useful online sanctuary for those of us merely interested in an easy-to-click rundown of all the funny and not-so-funny ads.

By Ian Shapira  | February 9, 2010; 7:14 AM ET
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