Four hours after the kickoff, the final whistle blew. Four hours and six minutes of sitting, standing, chanting and booing. The Bison football game against Eastern Washington was only the second FCS game to last over four hours this season, the other being Stephan F. Austin against Texas Tech.
I am a sophomore here at North Dakota State and I absolutely love going to the football games. The energy and excitement of the game always overwhelms me. But there’s something that I have noticed this year that I didn’t last year: the games take forever.
After almost every possession for each team the ref blows the whistle to announce a media timeout. Why? I can understand media timeouts and that those need to happen but why after every possession?
Don’t get me started on the official reviews. At one point in the second quarter against Eastern Washington there were reviews on three consecutive plays. I could not believe what I was seeing.
The constant sitting and standing was annoying and exhausting. It almost felt like we were at a baseball game. I found myself disinterested in some parts because of all the start and stops. For so many years, baseball fanatics have complained that games take to long, until finally in 2015 they came up with news rules to limit time between innings, pitches and the new review challenges by the managers. Do these type of rules need to be implemented in college football games?
This year the average college football game has lasted three hours and 26 minutes. This is a steady incline from last year, which was already a record-breaking season when it comes to time. I think this problem affects college students the most. For a 2:30 p.m. kickoff, most students start getting in line around 11:00 a.m. Which means for students who end up staying the whole game, you could be donating seven to eight hours of your Saturday to football. That is a long time for students to stay attentive and want to stick around and watch.
Once halftime of the game against Eastern Washington came about, I saw so many students get up and head for the exits, and I don’t blame them. Once those doors open at 1:oo p.m. the students pile in and grab their seats only to see that there is still 85 minutes until the start. That part is agonizing enough until you realize it’s 6:30 p.m. when you leave the Fargodome.
I love football games. Going to Bison games is what I love most about the fall semester, but they’re becoming too much of a time investment for students. They have too many media timeouts, they stop the clock after every first down, the halftime is a bit elongated and the official reviews, although necessary, don’t need to take so long.
All of these factors lead to a game that lasts over four hours and most students wanting to take a nap after. Obviously the length of the game isn’t going to stop most students from going to the game, but these games are turning more into baseball games when it comes to length and introducing some new rules may help make the Bison game days just that much better.