American Football Timing

National Football League (NFL) games are quite popular in the United States. And this may be primarily due to the aggressiveness and entertainment associated with these games. But how does football differ from other games in terms of timing? How long are the halves, half-time, and quarters?

Game Time

Each American football match lasts 60 minutes and consists of two 30-minute halves and four quarters of 15 minutes. Each team has three time-outs per half, and the half-time period is 12 minutes. Such durations and stoppages apply only to college and professional play. In high school football, games last for a total of 48 minutes and are divided into two halves of 24 minutes and 12-minute quarters.

Receiving and Deferring

Like in soccer, before a football game starts, the referee and captains from both sides meet at the midfield to toss a coin and decide who starts the game. The visiting team’s captain calls “heads” or “tails”, and the winner decides if they will kick the ball, receive the ball, or choose the goal to defend. The captains would rather choose to receive the ball, given that the team that chooses to kick the ball gives the other team the power to decide which goal they wish to defend.

Why Do Games Last Longer?

If scores are tied after 60 minutes, the teams go into overtime (extra time), and the first team to score wins the match. A quarter cannot end if a down is in progress. The play is set to continue until the referee confirms that the down is completed. An average football game lasts for approximately three hours. And this is due to various play stoppages.

A game clock is used to measure the match duration. The match official, while giving direction to a time operator, is responsible for starting and stopping the match.

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