Millions of people across the globe will be tuning in to watch Super Bowl 58 between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night. The annual football spectacle is a date saved in the calendar, and parties will be happening across the world.
For many, the whole day is devoted to the big game, with hours and days of buildup to the main event. But how long does the actual Super Bowl game go on for?
How Long Does the Super Bowl Last?
A football game is played over 60 minutes and is split into four 15-minute quarters. However, a game lasts much longer than the hour set aside for the action itself, with games lasting between three and four hours on average.
That’s because the NFL rules mandate stoppages in the game clock, whether that be for the action on the field or commercial breaks.
The clock only continues to run when the ball is in play, for a run or a completed catch. Whereas, in some instances, such as if the ball goes out of bounds or there is an incompletion, the clock will stop.
The average time to complete a down is four seconds, and a 2010 report by the Wall Street Journal found that the average amount of live action in an NFL game is just 11 minutes.
Average Super Bowl Game Length
While the time does vary, the average length of the Super Bowl is three hours and 44 minutes. A study by The Verge, in 2017, took the Super Bowls between 2010 and 2016 and averaged how long they lasted. In contrast, the average length of a regular-season NFL game is three hours and 12 minutes.
Therefore, the average time correlates. When considering the halftime show and extended commercial breaks, an extra 30 minutes or so is to be expected.
Halftime shows usually extend the break to between 20-30 minutes, with the average performance lasting 13 minutes. However, there are rumors that Usher’s halftime show during Super Bowl 58 will be closer to 15 minutes.
Commercials also have to be factored into how long the Super Bowl lasts. A report by Vivvix, an advertising intelligence media partner, found that the average commercial time on a Super Bowl broadcast between 2010 and 2019 was 49 minutes and 27 seconds.
The report also estimates that the Super Bowl contains an average of seven more minutes of advertising than a typical NFL game.
Furthermore, a New York Times study found that there is an average of 20 commercial breaks during a regular-season NFL game, consisting of over 100 ads. More are expected during the Super Bowl.
Around four hours are generally put aside for the Super Bowl game. That’s because the longest-ever game was Super Bowl XLVII between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.
That Super Bowl lasted for four hours and 14 minutes! However, that game went down in history due to a power outage at the Superdome in New Orleans, which meant the game had to be paused for an additional 34 minutes.
Even the only Super Bowl to go to overtime — in 2017 between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots — only lasted three hours and 47 minutes.
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