Or make that 15 minutes.
Brad Biggs in the Chicago Tribune writes the average game time for Sunday’s opener was 3 hours, 14 1/2 minutes.
The Bears’ game went 3 hours, 25 minutes, and all non-overtime games before the Sunday night Steelers-Broncos meeting averaged 3 hours, 14½ minutes. The Redskins-Saints game lasted 3:42 because there were two extended injury delays. Six games lasted 3:18 or longer.
That’s up considerably from the average that it is in the 3:06 neighborhood. The reason seems clear: the replacement refs were extremely confused, taking longer to sort out penalties, etc.
The ultimate in confusion took place in the Seattle-Arizona game when the referees lost track of timeouts for the Seahawks. The incident gave former NFL referee Mike Pereira a chance to vent during the Fox Sports telecast.
Elsewhere, the new refs went flag happy. There were 18 penalties in the Green Bay-San Francisco game, slowing down the pace considerably.
I can’t imagine the networks were pleased with the slow play. They like the games to fit in a neat 3-hour window, or close to it. Viewers tend to hit the remote when games drag on.
You can sure the NFL is sensitive to the situation. They’ll demand the replacements pick up the pace.
Or better yet, the league should just settle with the regular officials.