Football is a Waste of Time
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Why Football is a Waste of Time

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Why Football is a Waste of Time

The amount of resources spent on football is baffling. The time squandered, the financial loss, and subjecting yourself to watching dumbass commercials for hours on end can’t be a recipe for success. Let’s break down exactly why football is a waste of time.

Here’s a shortlist of things you can do in less time than the average football game

An infamous article published by the Wall Street Journal breaks down that while the average game length has grown to 3 hours and 24 minutes, only 11 minutes of that is actually playing time. 17 minutes per game is spent on replays….. I’ll say it again for the people just glancing through. More time is spent during the broadcast re-showing plays than time spent actually playing. It’s like the football version of Inception. This makes it easy to see why football is a waste of time, but we are going to cover the time, headspace, and money that you are wasting watching America’s favorite pastime.

Waste of Headspace

The average NFL game has 20 commercial breaks, containing over 100 commercials. So while watching young guys take hit after hit to the head, you are simultaneously taking shot after shot to the head from the ad departments of these giant companies.

Need a new pickup truck? They’ll try to convince you that you do. I haven’t ever needed to tow a semi-truck with a load of timber, but I’m sure the ability to do that will come in handy soon. Are you happy with your current beer? They’ll try to convince you that you aren’t. Coors Lite is trying to tell me their beer is “cleaner” than other beers…?

Once you become aware that it’s all psychology and manipulation, it’s almost funny to see how little these marketers think of the people watching these games.

Waste of Time

There are nearly 15 million people watching each NFL game. Wait, let’s do the math on this. 3.5 hours x 15 million is…..52 MILLION HOURS LOST EACH GAME?! Imagine if these people were spending their 3 hours reading, researching, or inflecting on something that would truly benefit their life. And this is only during the game. Similarly, tens of thousands of people follow every aspect of their team year-round.

Researching recruits, reading predictions for the year, following player injury progress, keeping up with trades & transfers, and watching the draft are all ways that hardcore fans waste their time with football. What do you gain from all this time and energy invested? More fodder for bullshit water cooler talk? Do you become a better fan? Is there a grading scale that I’m unaware of? Where or what is the return on your investment of time?

Waste of Money

The average American’s salary is right at $56.5k per year. That works out to a little over $27 per hour. While using this valuation of time, each person watching is throwing away $95 worth of their life in a game. With an 18 week season, if you only watch one single game per week, you are pouring over $1700 of your life down the drain. However, most of the fans I know park their ass in front of the TV for practically the whole day. They’re getting in as little physical activity as possible while eating copious amounts of unhealthy food.

Also, it doesn’t stop there. Some people will mention the friendship and camaraderie of having friends over and rooting for your team. But how much money are you spending to host those friends? Order out for food and a couple of cases of beer and Coke for 4 or 5 extra friends and all of a sudden you are in the hole at least another hundred bucks. Additionally, the desire to flaunt how much you have when you host friends is sometimes too much for people to bear.

Keep Up With the Jones’s

Right out of high school I worked in the electronics department at Walmart. You may or may not know that the week leading up to the Super Bowl was the biggest week in sales for TVs. It makes sense, though. I couldn’t imagine going to someone’s house and watching the game on some 40” LCD like a poor person. Frank better have at least a 70” LED TV or we will pack our shit up and go home. 

You also can’t be expected to watch the game wearing a regular t-shirt. If you’re a “real” fan, you’d better have a jersey, a polo, or at least a $25 t-shirt on and a hat and a beer koozie. Hell, your car better be decked out with flags, stickers, floor mats, steering wheel covers, and any other branded junk you can get your hands on. It’s statistically shown to help your team win by spending money on unnecessary merchandise.

Time wasted. Money wasted. Health wasted. I’m starting to wonder if there is anything good about being a football fan?


  • steveark

    In my dreams I could run a 3:24 marathon! But point well taken. However if football is a waste then baseball and soccer are even worse. At least teams occasionally score in football, soccer fans have to cheer for complete non-events and if you’ve ever listened to baseball play by play commentators try to fill all the dead air time with trivia…however, entertainment is not logical. Watching a movie, going on a hike or playing a board game don’t accomplish much that is useful, except smiles and experiences and maybe recharging your battery?

    • James Lowery

      Steve, I appreciate the feedback. I also agree 100% that you could replace “football” with any other sporting event and it would still apply. I personally have an illogical disdain for baseball. However, going for a hike would be a productive use of time for exercise, and board games could provide mental stimulation as well as quality time with family (my family refuses to play monopoly with me so they may disagree). I do get the point that you’re making, though. Thanks again for your comment.

      • steveark

        Plus in my case as a hapless Arkansas Razorback fan with a weak team that gets to play Auburn, Alabama and LSU it isn’t even going to be an enjoyable waste of time. I agree about hiking, my wife and I are runners (alas, only a 3:48 marathon at the age of 50) and serious hikers!

    • Steve

      The problem with most football fans is that it envelopes every aspect of their lives. It’s not just ALL DAY SUNDAY anymore, now there’s Monday and Thursday night! Trying to get friends to play golf together is like pulling hair because someone always has something to watch on one of those days. Then there’s the guilt you feel for not joining said friends to watch the game. Then the guilt you feel when you watch it, not only from the wasted time,
      but because according to the NFL Racism is everywhere. And when someone’s team loses their entire day is ruined and they are not fun to be around.

      Football is like the gladiators of Rome… hopefully the same outcome doesn’t prevail. Or hopefully it does. Idk anymore.

      I will spell it out.




  • Nate H

    I love it! I’m definitely going to share this + save it so that I don’t watch any more football. Recently, I was able to watch a game in ~25 – 30 minutes with my TV-Tuner and computer + keyboard shortcuts, but with two kids and a lovely wife who hates sports, every minute is precious. 🙂

  • Seonwoo

    “I couldn’t imagine going to someone’s house and watching the game on some 40” LCD like a poor person. Frank better have at least a 70” LED TV or we will pack our shit up and go home. ”
    Don’t you just love our consumerist society?

    • Gregory Moses

      And you didn’t even mention the morally questionable nature of cheering young men and boys to sacrifice their bodies and often brains for the 1:10,000 chance of getting a fat NFL contract.

  • Eric

    I think this was one of the greatest unexpected benefits of cutting the cord for me. It made me realize how many Saturdays I was completely wasting on sports, especially Razorback football. Once I had been without cable for a few years, I didn’t care anything about football anymore. I just had to break the cycle and do other things with my weekends for a year or so.

  • Jiab

    Finally someone see beyond the social norm in USA! I came originally from Thailand to USA 30 years ago, I still don’t know and care to know American football rules even after 30 years living in the States and became US citizen.
    I also think American football in high school and college is a big distraction from education and a waste of energy & resources. It really baffles me how big high school and college football are. In other country (Thailand and Germany for example, where I have first hand experience), college sport remains secondary and don’t get as much funding as education.
    And we wonder why American students are behind Europe and Asia in higher education. This is another area where it costs us.

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