Sunday, September 23, 2007

NFL GameClock Analysis

iPod nano commercial -- 2:00

For this analysis, we kept time during the Steelers-49ers game on Sunday.
We wanted to find out how much time of a 60-minute football game is actually spent doing something athletic.

For example, two running plays that take 4 seconds long will give us 8 seconds of action while 1 minute or more has run off the gameclock.

13:08 of gameplay.
2:41 of that on special teams.

If you don't trust these statistics, please do this yourself.
Or just do yourself.


According to the statistics, the Steelers' offense was actually doing something athletic on the field for 5:01 during the entire game.

( Steelers on right. )
According to these stats, the Steelers ran 53 plays from scrimmage:
20 passes, 33 runs.

When he's not passing, Ben is handing off -- something your mailman does every day.
Unless your mailman is Jim Thorpe, there's nothing athletic about that.

We're nice guys, so we'll help Ben with our next step in the analysis and give him 10 extra plays.
For ease of math, we'll give the Steelers 60 plays from scrimmage -- 30 rush, 30 pass.

Dividing the 5:01 from the above graph (rounded to 5:00 for math) by 2 gives us 2:30 for running plays, 2:30 for pass plays.

Roethlisberger is being athletic for 2:30 a game.
We could be dicks and say that his actual time is 1:15, because half of that 2:30 is spent watching his receivers catch and run with the balls, but whatev.

Take that 2:30, multiply it by 16 games,
and it gives us 40 minutes of Ben athleticism during the course of a season.
( We aren't factoring in when he chases people who intercept him. )

Ben's 2007 base salary -- [ ]
Crosby's 2007-2008 base salary -- [ ]

We deflated Crosby's numbers. He actually had an average icetime of 20:45 per game in 06-07.
Roethlisberger, in actuality, played less than 2:30 because we inflated his number of pass plays.

Your local garbage man, who makes sure you don't live in your own filth, earns 33¢ per minute.


Brendan said...

Well analyzed. My friends and I make these exact same comments and arguments to all the moronic nfl fans out there. im glad you guys actually did a breakdown that i can link to even though we both know that steeler fans still wont understand because they are not willing to accept that the nfl has turned football into a retarded sport. it's like their brains shut down at the very mention of anything negative being said to football. Whereas us hockey fans are used to people bashing our sport so we are actually versed enough to make intelligent arguments for our case.

seth said...

wow, insane stats

Tiffany said...

Ditto, Seth. Those results are enough to make one speechless.

And no worries, AC. Just don't let it happen again or else Mr. Roberts will hunt you down. ;-)

wilsmith said...

make sure this gets on the best of pensblog book that's coming out next spring.

or at least dedicate page to this post

Christina said...

fucking brilliant. you should try Bing's current salary in your payment per minute calculation...i don't think the 8.7 million kicks in until next season

still, fucking brilliant.

The Hebrew Hammer said...

Guys, there is no way you like the Steelers. You seem hellbent on discrediting and making fun of both the NFL and the Steelers. I know you'll say it's just jobbing, but deep down you guys really don't like the Steelers.

Hooks Orpik said...

I'm sure I know one website (MondesisJob) that disagrees about this terrible disespect to the Stillers (and especially the Big Jew) and does not appreciate this!

Next you'll try to tell me hockey is a faster paced sport and that the athletes are more fan-friendly and down to earth....Didn't you see Troy Polamulu and Willie Parker delivering season tickets to the Yinzers. Oh yeah, guess you didn't.

Lets go Pens!

Staff said...

thanks christina.
it's fixed.

that's why commentorblog is a big deal.


Hooks Orpik said...

If your want to get technical, I believe Crosby is making about $3.4 million this season, after the rookie bonuses. His base salary is $850,000 but he has easily attainable bonuses that will bump himp up a little.

Still, he's not on his big $$ contract this year and that is a good call, Ms. Christina.

Staff said...

Hammer, we like the steelers.
it's just fun jobbing them.

We just hate having the NFL rammed down our throats every time we turn around.

We can go toe-to-toe with anyone on Steelers history during the past 15 years.

We wouldn't pay more than $20 to go watch 13 minutes of action.

Your opinion on this is definitely what the majority of people probably get when they read it, that we hate the Steelers because they get more recognition than the Penguins.

We just hate the NFL.
But we're there, watching the game every week.

Go Pens.


Jason said...

excellent job. those numbers are insane. somewhere, chris berman is weeping. you should do the same thing for a monday night game. i'm willing to bet the gameplay to commercial ratio gets even more lopsided in primetime.

another interesting thing to look at might be gameplay to replay time. i'm so sick of seeing a 5 second play and then watching it over and over again while some assholes analyze it for the next 5 minutes.

Lloyd said...

out of curiosity... how much of was minutes between plays where we have to listen to the usually inane announcers fellate the last play vs. commercials?

or did i miss something?

Staff said...

All the salary numbers are fixed.
thanks, guys.


Steve said...

That shit blows my mind. I have always been a football first kind of fan, not that I haven't been loyal to the Pens, but football was my fathers sport, his fathers sport, and all my aunts uncles and so on. And if I had to guess why, I'd say that it was because of its legacy of being more tough, violent, and dirty. Now I have always enjoyed watching hockey games, be it on t.v. or at the arena, far more than football. And this is mainly due to the nonstop, tough, fast, action of a hockey game. And reading something like this, even more, makes me wonder why the past generations of my family, weren't hockey fans first. If they were looking for skilled hard nosed athletes, they should of just looked to the igloo.

Go Pens.
2007-2008 will be like 1979 for the city of Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh "City of Champions"
Pittsburgh Penguins and Pittsburgh Steelers.


Jonny V said...

Pretty impressive stuff, I've wondered this before, and thanks for taking the time to do this. But I think the most annoying thing anymore is the whole Team A scores a touchdown, commercial break, they kick off, commercial break, action starts again. And holy shit if that happens near the end of a quarter.

And brendan, does liking the NFL make you a moron? I love when people lump all other people as one in mindset. Neither me nor any of my friends are blind followers of all things NFL. There are flaws in the game, be it with presentation, player and coach behavior, or whatever else is going on out there. But I guess all the mullet-sporting-tight-blue-jean-and-two-sizes-too-small-hockey-sweater-showing-off-their-enormous-spare-tire hockey fans are way better than football fans. Oh, wait, i just generalized an entire sport's fan base. Drats...

I read Gregg Easterbrook's column TMQ on every week, and just last week he wrote that all of the little scandals in the NFL could bring about its' downfall, pointing out that people were saying the NBA used to have the golden touch, but look how far that league has fallen. I'm thrilled to pieces that the Pens did that campaign with the season ticket holders. And I also have no doubt that hockey and the NHL in general will slowly creep back into this nations' conscienceness. It's a fast-paced, fucking awesome game to watch, and unlike other sports, it's even better in person. I'm just tired of some of the people posting on here talking shit on fans of the Steelers and NFL. Boneheaded fans exist in every sport, as evidenced by kenny boy's ungraceful exit. I laugh at some of the stuff TPB staff says on here about the Steelers, fuck even Scott Paulsen does some funny shit concerning the Steelers and the fans. But to all you whiny numb-nuts, bite my bunion.

Jonny V said...

Steve, just replace Pops and Bradshaw with Sid and Ben on this picture

Staff said...

Well said Jonny v...

On a side note, the Steelers are playing balls out right now.

You talking playoffs?

Staff said...

And just to follow up we know the NHL will never be as popular as the NFL.

Its just worth pointing out how big of a joke the NFL is, and yet it is only growing in viewers.

Even Howard Baldwin couldn't screw it up.

Seth said...

This boggles my mind and also gives me more of a reason to not watch the steelers. Not because I don't like them, but just because almost every minute of every Pittsburgh news channel has the Steelers as the top story. I swear it won't be long until we have a recorded record of what Big Ben had for breakfast, lunch and dinner and what time he used the john.

It gets really old having the Steelers rammed down your throat.

October 5th cannot get here fast enough.


Staff said...

lloyd, that announcer thing would be interesting.
We were thinking of doing that.

the gametime thing during a Monday Night game would be crazy.

it was making me chuckle today doing this when they would do the extra point, commercial, kickoff, commercial, 2-minute warning, commercial.

I loved it 'cause the totals kept racking up.


Tawm said...


Tawm said...


Anonymous said...

I think using the QB as the focus of how much athletic ability occurs during a football game was a bad choice. How about using the receivers or secondary who have to constantly be running down field and back during the game. And what about the lineman who have to ram headfirst into each other ever play. And implying that Crosby is doing something athletic every second of his 20 minute ice time is just plain dumb. Although I will admit I can't argue with your statement about how much of the 60 minutes is spent playing the game in each sport.

The Hebrew Hammer said...

I just don't understand why you guys pit football against hockey. They're definitely two entirely different sports and they both are exciting in their own ways. It's like comparing apples and oranges. Whatev, I am and will always be a Penguin and Steeler fan and I wish more Pittsburghers were like that instead of pitting the two against another. Another reason why Pittsburgh is so fucked up, you don't see Chicago pitting the Blackhawks and Bears versus one another. Good night and good luck.

Staff said...

The bears are mud.

Martin Havlat should play QB for them

Staff said...

We could easily pop Crosby's icetime back to like 15 minutes a game because he spends 6 minutes a game standing there on the power play.

In this post, we never questioned the athletic prowess of football players.
No one should read it and take it that way because that's not how we present it.

If you're taking it that we are using the quarterback as the benchmark of athleticism, that was lost in translation.

Positions aside, the fact that there is only 13:08 of action during a football game is ridiculous.

Ramming headfirst into other people shouldn't be seen as athleticism.
The receivers and secondary, yeah, they have to have more endurance than nearly any athlete in sports.
And again, our goal here wasn't to compare athleticism.
It was comparing football's snail pace to hockey's nonstop action.

We like jobbing Big Ben, so that's why he was used for the comparison.

go pens

Anonymous said...

first of all you don't see anyone in Chicago actually seeing the games besides the 5000 people that go to the home games. they don't televise home Blackhawk games so they can get more people to go to the games... so pretty much no one in Chicago has the chance to compare the two teams. but whatever, go pens! also heroes tomorrow night!!

Jonny V said...

The Steelers 3-0, the Pens season about ready to start, and Heros. Life is good

Jeffry said...

is a great article that you reminded me of when i read this. some guy watched a playoff game last season and kept track of all the ads.
really interesting, and sad.

wilsmith said...

wilsmith would have been fine for the
master chief credit.

whatever though

theNick said...

I wish this post had something to do with hockey, or the Penguins.

theNick said...

Also for all the people shocked by these numbers, you have actually watched a football game before right?

Spencemo said...

C'mon...why do you have to throw my Bears under the bus?

Ashley said...

That's absolutely ridiculous...

Get ready for Garytober, where every day Gary Roberts will kick your ass.

Go Pens

Loser Chris said...

looks like my wife was right about football all this time.

wilsmith said...

Did you ever listen to Chicago's own ESPN affiliate?
The guys on there are brutal when it comes to talking about the Bears.

rwarner174 said...

Its not so much that I don't like the steelers. Its I dont like people who like the steelers. Stop wearing football jerseys to a hockey game damnit.

Sarah said...

you guys make me laugh. seriously.

Jonny V said...

I'll wear whatever the fuck I want to at a game. U have a problem with it? Come tell me about it, hard ass.

wilsmith said...

Go Pens.

Lloyd said...

Crosby left today's practice early
source [ ]

WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Penguins captain Sidney Crosby left practice early today because of soreness in his groin. His status is day-to-day.

Crosby said he is hopeful he can still take part in the team-building exercises and maneuvers between today and Wednesday. He said the soreness is not as severe as his groin injury last season.

Anonymous said...

johnny v's got his steeler panties in a bunch.

demondg1 said...

WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Penguins captain Sidney Crosby left practice early today because of soreness in his groin. His status is day-to-day.

in somewhat related news...

Pittsburgh, PA -- Ladies have been lining up for blocks in hopes of helping to relieve the soreness in Sidney Crosby's groin.

chris said...

why do they only play 1 game a week?

go pens

Anonymous said...

If I was waiting for something to start happening in hockey, my thumb would still be waiting to start the timer. Cuz I ain't seen nothing yet. I have fallen asleep at Pencils playoff games. Obviously this was when I was much much younger.

Real sports are defined by something more than "something athletic is happening for long periods of time."

Football is the ultimate chess match. The breaks in the game are what makes it so exciting. Each coordinator/coach has to design and pick a play, and depend on 11 guys playing their hardest to do exactly what they are supposed to do. I don't care if it lasts 5 seconds or 5 minutes, it's a helluva lot more exciting than watching two guys stand on skates on a line and pass it back and forth until somebody else gets a stick on the puck and everybody skates down to the other side of the ice to do it again.

But if you insist on your BS rationale, then why do you even watch hockey when you could be watching soccer? "Something athletic" is going on the field for a much longer continuous time in soccer. Or the ice-capades. But you probably do watch the ice-capades.

wallflower said...

I saw a similiar study a couple years ago with baseball and the results were pretty much the same in regards to actual playing time.

Basically, I'm not surprised. Anyone who is surprised apparently has never watched an entire NFL game.

Ellie said...

haha i love you guys! steelers country gets so old some days...

Hooks Orpik said...

Wow, Pensblog made Deadspin with this analysis.

This place is turning into BigDealBlog

tjand72 said...

Good job on making Deadspin.

Anonymous said...

The only way these kinds of analyses are interesting at all is if you are talking about the aerobic exercise you get by playing the sport. I was interested to learn that badminton matches often have three to four times as much game-play than tennis for half the total game-time.

But I usually am not that interested in watching aerobics.

Staff said...

Some NFL fanboys took offense.

Adrienne said...

absolutely brilliant. Things like this that reminds me why I love you guys.

Michael said...

Who cares either way. Football and hockey are both awesome and so are the Steelers and Pens. Let's win the Super Bowl again and bring the Cup back to the Burgh! Go Steelers and Go Pens! And as for the Pirates...sigh...ummm...there is always next...century...we need Mark Cuban...

Ben said...

What I'm confused about is if they are timing entertainment or athletic movement. If its entertainment, then time of actual play isn't really relevant because alot of the fun of football is the suspense and the chess match. (i.e. Down distance, packages, play calling..etc.)

If its athleticism they have to account for much more than minutes played. Two examples off the top of my head would be.

1) A 50 yard run/pass to Hines Ward takes 7 seconds (guesstimate), jogging up the line (athletic) for the next play takes an extra 7-8 seconds, but they don't count that.

2) The NFL = fast twitch muscle fibers. Fast explosion, full force, short duration but highly athletic. NHL = skating around like a nancy boy for 3 "periods".

Staff said...

ben, the fact that you brought nhl players' athleticism into question with the nancy boy comment renders most of your comment useless.

The downside of getting exposure for doing this is that nfl fanboys from everywhere come here and think were crapping on the nfl.

We did the hockey comparison with crosby and ben because all we do here is rag on ben.

We never once questioned the athleticism of football players nor should any question it about hockey.

All we did was find out actual entertainment value.
i dont recall chess being entertaining.

Im gonna go run into my friend for 20 minutes to meet my nfl athleticism quota for the day.

Go pens


ranndino said...

Last night watched me some NFL. All the hype about the Pats - Colts match-up got to me and forced me to catch the last 10 minutes. These 10 minutes turned into 40 minutes of real time and made me remember why I no longer watch the NFL. I became curious and found this brilliant breakdown of America's #1 sport. Thank you! Please keep it up so that I can use it for future reference. I have a new slogan for the NFL. 5% Entertainment. 95% Spam.

P.S. Saw someone comment on being used to your favorite sport being bashed (hockey). Try being a soccer fan in the US :)

Frank said...

I just timed the Dallas / Viking 17 Jan 10 game: 13 minutes 2d quarter / 2 minutes 3d quarter..snap to whistle, FG/XP snap to failed/successful signal.

Total time 3:32.36 minutes. Average for 60 minute game 16 minutes


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