Clemson beat Alabama last night to capture the NCAA College Football Playoff National Championship. (The Tide got rolled.) Actually, it was this morning before the game ended. Apparently it was “a game for the ages,” but one of those ages isn’t 52, because I was fast asleep well before the fourth quarter, which featured four lead changes, and three touchdowns in the final five minutes of play. The winning score came with a single tick left on the game clock… at about 12:25 a.m. In other words, the most exciting parts of the title game happened when most sane people who live east of the Rockies were snoozing.
The game kicked off at 8:19 Eastern time. And college football games used to take about three hours. But now, pretty much any and every play is subject to video review, which is nearly as much fun as watching paint dry. Throw in the requisite injury time-outs, a long halftime and a few extra commercial breaks (broadcast rights ain’t cheap) and you’ve got yourself a sixty-minute game that took more than four hours to conclude.
In their never-ending quest for better ratings, TV networks will pick game times that suit their needs, not the desires of the fans. But in the DVR/internet age, I think more and more fans will skip all the hoopla, catch up on their beauty sleep and catch the five-minute highlights the next day.
Shaving four hours off your total viewing time? Now that’s the stuff that dreams are made of.