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Useless Information Podcast.
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Mar 3, 2010

The Phantom Sniper terrorized women of the Los Angeles area in the early 1950's.  He was captured because of one minor mistake that most people would have easily overlooked.  Also find out the number of minutes spent playing football in an NFL football game, the fantastic world of Venus, the FBI diaper problem, and J. Paul Getty's pay phone.  Retrosponsor: Duz Laundry Soap.

Milton Mahler
over seven years ago

I sent the trivia about the average playing time for a NFL game and was told by friends how wrong I was:

"It's not accurate at all Milt. An NFL football game with no overtime takes 60 minutes of running clock. In the NFL, the clock does stops after an incomplete pass, a time-out called by one team, an injury on the field, at the 2 minute warning at the end of the second and fourth quarters, for a challenge requiring a replay and probably some other things. That said, the game takes 60 minutes of elapsed tape, and possibily more if a play at the end of either half results in a penalty against the defense as the clock runs out. Then, an additional play, with no time left, is run. 11 minutes of total time makes absolutey no sense. Now it COULD be that in a 30 minute (1/2 hour ) block of time, there is 11 minutes of playing time. That actually is about right because a typical game takes close to 3 hours to complete."

"Well you have 60min of official game time. The clock stops for incomplete passes, when players go out of bounds, and for time-outs. The play clock is 40 seconds when the game clock is still running (basically, it’s more complicated but for ease of calculating I’ll go with that). So potentially 40 seconds out of every minute could be run off if a play takes less than 20 seconds. So at minimum game time would be 20 seconds time 60 (for 60 minutes). That works out to 1200 seconds or 20min, basically one third of the game. That’s at minimum because the clock doesn’t always run and plays can definitely take longer than 20 seconds. I have to assume the average is higher than the minimum. Unless I’ve really screwed up the math somewhere, which is entirely possible as I’m a biologist not a mathematician. J You don’t figure in commercials and timeouts because the clock is not running and so you’re not wasting game time when those are occurring. The huddles occur in that 40 second window. So I’m not sure how the podcast did it’s math but I think it’s wrong."