Strong opinions, weakly held

How I watch football

Today I read Dr. Z’s annual ratings of football broadcasters and realized that I don’t really have a strong opinion of any of them in particular and that I have a mild distaste for all of them.

Fortunately, I’ve come up with a method of watching football that eliminates the announcers almost entirely. The key is not starting to watch the game at game time. Instead I let about 20 or 30 minutes of the games buffer up on the Tivo, and then I start from the beginning, watching the plays at regular speed and fast forwarding on the slowest speed between plays. It’s quick, and even better, silent. I try to stop in time to see the formation before each play. If I missed something, I just watch the play over and over until I figure it out.

By taking regular breaks during the game to let the Tivo keep its buffer full, I can skip all of the commercials, most of the stuff between plays, and most importantly, the halftime report. Using this method you can watch football games in half the normal airtime and eliminate nearly all of the aggravation.


  1. When I was a kid watching games with my dad, he would always turn the sound off. If the game was simulcast, he’d usually turn on the radio; the announcers were much better there because they had to shut up and call the plays once the action started, unlike on TV, where they keep blathering on and on while the clock is running.

    If I had a TiVo (or watched TV, for that matter), then your way seems like the way to go.

  2. Rafe, yah really need to turn on the P-R-E-V-I-E-W option…

  3. have you heard of the “mute” button? it works pretty well for the Tivo-less household. you definitely avoid the ads and longs bursts of analysis, and can decide whether to hear the during-game analysis (which is sometimes fun) . . .


  4. Mute solves only half the problem. It enables you to avoid the announcers but it doesn’t help you get through the game more quickly. Who has four hours to watch a football game?

  5. I too discovered this trick during this year’s football season. I couldn’t believe how short a football game really is when you take out the timeouts, halftime and time between plays. It goes from like 2 1/2 hours to 45 min.

  6. It turns out that 30 seconds is about the exact amount of time between the ball being whistled dead and the next snap. 30-second skip just nukes that time and makes the game fly by.

    OTOH, when it’s this condensed, I feel like you lose some of the point of watching football in the first place.

  7. Who has four hours to watch a football game?

    Go see the game in meatspace. You’ll have more fun, and the peanuts taste better. (The beer, however, does not.)

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