• phil cantor/@osgphil

This Years College Football Playoff Seemed Like the Longest Game Ever


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Hey listen, January 13th's College Football Championship game will go down as one of the most fun games in College Football history. And it should.


Joe Burrow's performance was unbelievable and his LSU Tigers are easily a team for the ages after going 15-0 with Burrow accumulating 60 TD's this season (including 5 in this game).


But man, the game itself, I can't find an exact run time (I've looked) but it felt like a game that lasted 7 hours. Between the reviews on seemingly every other play and the constant timeouts and promotions on the ESPN Broadcast it seemed like the game lasted an eternity.


So much so that I fell asleep sometime around 11:30 eastern time during the 3rd quarter.

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Before I fell asleep though---as someone ingrained in the broadcasting community for most of my life, I had to check out the viewing options of the ESPN "Megacast" which may very well be proof that just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.


The "Megacast" was cool when it was 3 channels featuring the Coaches and the home/visitor radio calls. Though I'd add the Coaches Film Room is only good when you've got good coaches, this year they all talked over each other and I couldn't understand what any of them said most of the time.



Between this, the "Sideline Broadcast" featuring a play-by-play guy and analyst wandering the sidelines, the channel that was all stats all the time along with the radio broadcasts and it was input overload.


I'm guessing a segment of the population probably tuned in and probably enjoyed it, but did the casual fan? I think not. For those who don't watch College Football or sports on a regular basis and aren't fascinated by the minutia of the game---it's a waste of time and horribly confusing.


Alas---it wasn't even the broadcast itself that made the game so long. Although the endless commercial breaks certainly didn't help. It's my biggest gripe about the NFL and it was even worse last night.


Why were the breaks so annoying? Because they took advantage of "Reviews" to go to commercials. A lot. I'm assuming nobody tracked the amount of "Reviews" in this game, but it had to be a football record.


Two plays and a review, three plays and a review, five plays and a review it gets old and ungodly boring. I hate "Video Reviews" and am thoroughly convinced "Reviews" are killing all aspects of broadcast sports. For those of you who argue it's necessary because "Refs Miss Calls"---ok, great. Where were you a decade ago when we couldn't use all this new video technology? Where were you when we didn't have "Instant Replay" and multiple 4K cameras to look at the fraction of an inch between a good and bad call?? I've said it before and I'll say it again; "Officials are human and are not perfect, they never have been and never will be". Missed calls have been a part of Sports since the sport themselves have begun and we've always understood that human element.


Having 20-30 plays in one game "Reviewed" is overkill. It's too much. It makes an already choppy sport and production even slower. When it takes a game with four 15 minute "Quarters" (60 minutes), four-plus hours to be completed, we have a problem. It renders an otherwise fun game a marathon start/stop contest with no flow and rhythm. Last night we got a game that started at roughly 8:15, and ends after midnight with no Overtime. A game that rarely went longer than 5 minutes without a "Review" or commercial.....


And even with all of that, when LSU and Clemson actually did run plays, they were exciting and fun to watch. Which is why despite people like me bitching about stupid things like endless "Reviews" and "Commercial" breaks, don't expect anything to change. Just be prepared to make a ton of coffee for the "Day After" due to the fact no matter what time the game starts, you're going to be awake way, way later than you think you'll be.


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