How Long Do Football Games Last? Quarters & Half Time

Like many sports, the length of a football game can be unpredictable. Depending on the league, the level of play, officiation, and other factors, a game can go by in the blink of an eye or seemingly drag on forever. An NFL game usually takes around 3 hours, with the official average game length being 3 hours and 12 minutes. 

Believe it or not, college football games will usually take a little longer than professional games—the average length of a college game is around 3 hours and 24 minutes. The first-down rules are to blame for this difference. In college football, when a team gets the first down, the clock is stopped until the football is reset by the referee. However, a first down does not stop the game clock in the NFL.

How Long is a Quarter in a Football Game?

At every level, football games are divided into halves and quarters. The game is broken down into four 15 minute quarters in the NFL and college football, with a break at halftime. Both teams usually return to their locker room for a break and strategize for the second half.

The games are shorter and have 12 minute quarters at the high school level. This is to protect younger athletes from injury and preserve their athletic abilities. They keep the games short at the youth level as well, with just 8 minute quarters. Again, this is to keep the younger athletes safe.

How Long Is Half Time In A Football Game 

A football game always has a half time after the first 2 quarters. The NBA & MLB also take a long break mid way through. The NFL usually take a 20 minute break for half time. This can vary depending on the half time show or TV commercials. Also the super bowl half time usually runs longer as they put on a full scale concert in a short amount of time. 


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