The countdown is on to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs battle it out during the Super Bowl, and chances are you might be starting to put together your plans for game day. As you're mapping out your night, you might be wondering exactly how long the 2021 Super Bowl is. Whether this is your first time tuning in, or just one of many Super Bowls you've seen, get ready to hunker down for a long night on Sunday, Feb. 7.
According to calculations by The Verge over the past decade, the average Super Bowl broadcast tends to last about three hours and 44 minutes, meaning you'll spend almost four hours watching if you decide to tune in. This time includes the halftime show, which will be headlined by the Weeknd this year and will probably last just under 15 minutes, with the full halftime lasting about 30 minutes, thanks to commercials, commentary, and other analysis.
Speaking of commentary and analysis, most of the Super Bowl is dedicated to the entertainment aspect of the event rather than the sport. In addition to approximately a full hour dedicated to just advertisements, much of the time — about 60% of it, per The Wall Street Journal — is spent on replays, analysis of plays, shots of the players just hanging out between plays, and commentators talking about the players.
The actual length of game play, when players are moving in action? On average, it's just 11 to 12 minutes, according to MarketWatch. FWIW, that's about the same as any actual game play during regular season NFL games, since in football, the game clock can run without any action taking place, per Quartz.
According to Nielsen data, in 2020, a whopping 99.9 million people tuned in to watch the Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers. Considering the Chiefs are heading back to the field this year and the addition of former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster, it wouldn't be surprising if that number only increases this year. So yes, it's a pretty significant time commitment to tune in, but for millions of fans, it's well worth blocking out their Sunday one night a year.
When making plans for watching the Super Bowl, keep in mind the coronavirus safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for gatherings as of Jan. 8, which recommends against in-person gatherings especially in situations where social distancing might be difficult to maintain. Indoor gatherings especially during a lengthy period of time (like during the Super Bowl) hold extra risk for exposure. If possible, consider a virtual watch party or plan to watch the Super Bowl with those in your direct household. If you do decide to watch with friends, consider catching the game outdoors, wear a mask, and practice social distancing as much as possible.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Elite Daily's coverage of coronavirus here.