Once the regular referees came back to the NFL in Week 4 of the regular season, Dan Bernstein, a co-host of the Score in Chicago said we’re back to 3 hour NFL games. I heard Bernstein make this comment at least twice — once each after weeks 4 and 5. Did he hate the replacement referees that much to exhibit this exuberance for the regular refs and disdain for the replacement ones? Does he think that everything is now hunky-dory with the National Football League once the referees’ union agreed to a contract with the NFL?
I appreciate his enthusiasm seeing the regular refs come back to the NFL and take control of the games but to say these games are now 3 hours long is just wrong. Dan, have you recently noticed the majority of TV broadcasts, once the football is kicked off, the network goes to a commercial? How much time is added to the length of the game by doing this? Since they’ve instituted the ability of coaches to challenge several times during each game, the networks invariably jumps to 2 or 3 minutes of commercials. Injuries in today’s NFL are more common and more likely to produce commercials than it did several years ago so the idea of a 3 hour game regardless of the type of officials working is just not factual in today’s NFL. In addition, if you pay attention to the length of commercial interruptions during today’s typical NFL game, you will notice they are longer than they were a few years ago. For example, several years ago, there was a 2 minute commercial interruption between quarters — this has been extended to around 3 minutes. All of these factors add time to the length of the game regardless of who’s refeering.
So you have less action than you had 10 or 15 years ago and the typical NFL game takes about 210 minutes to decide the outcome even though there’s only about 11 minutes of active play per game. Look Bernstein, the idea of a 3 hour NFL game is way, way in the rear view mirror. If you’re interested in a test, set your DVR or other recording device to simply record the first 180 minutes of an NFL game. You will not only miss the end of almost every NFL game but you’ll often miss some exciting finishes. I’m sure Bernstein is aware, if he wants to record an NFL game, he’ll record at least 30 to 60 minutes beyond the 3 hour game. He may want to use the replacement referees as a scapegoat for longer NFL games, but a little more analysis and forethought may bring him to a different conclusion.