If you believe that less is more, then you might feel that the NFL offers a superior product to that of college football. Otherwise, you might feel that the NFL is giving you less product than college football – in which case you would be right. In the average NFL game, there are 128 plays from scrimmage, compared to 144 in the average college football game. That translates into 12.5% fewer plays in the NFL, even though both the NFL and college football play four 15-minute quarters and use a 40-second play clock. Why such a blatant discrepancy in the number of plays?
For one thing, most college teams play at a much quicker pace, burning up less time off the clock between plays. A greater percentage of college teams use a no-huddle offense throughout the game. And most of the rest of them spent less time in the huddle than NFL teams do. At the average NFL game, a lot more precious game time is spent while teams stand around and huddle up. In college football, that extra time is spent on what fans at the stadium or in front of their TVs want to see – action.
The other obvious difference in time consumption is that, in college football, the game clock is stopped temporarily while the chains are moved when a team makes a first down. In the NFL, on the other hand, the clock continues to run following a made first down. The temporary clock stoppage only saves about five seconds per first down, but that little bit adds up over the course of the game. At any rate, college football gives us more – if not a better – product than the NFL does.