Around 10:30 p.m. ET on Monday, ESPN cut from commercial back to coverage of the CFP National Championship.
Was the network returning to see a big late-game pass from LSU quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow? Perhaps a fourth-quarter feat of athleticism from Clemson’s elite NFL prospect quarterback Trevor Lawrence?
No. ESPN cut to the still ongoing halftime with a countdown of the all-time great college football players featuring Jim Brown and Herschel Walker.
Long halftime on top of long first half
While the honors were rightfully deserved, the timing tested the dwindling patience of college football fans. It would be another 10 minutes before the second half between Clemson and LSU kicked off.
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In a game with a scheduled start time of 8 p.m. On a school night.
In a sports scene that slams baseball for pace-of-play issues, college football offered up its pièce de résistance in the landscape of games going on entirely too long.
Twitter not pleased
The internet was not happy. The collective finger-tapping of impatient fans was almost audible on Twitter as timelines filled with complaints.
waiting for halftime to end pic.twitter.com/FTTpVGzEN6— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) January 14, 2020
10:30pm and the 2nd half isn't even close to starting pic.twitter.com/PMw5Kicw5A— SI Extra Mustard (@SI_ExtraMustard) January 14, 2020
Lol I flew from Denver to Phoenix, rented a car, drove 30 mins and it’s halftime?— AG (@AndyGlockner) January 14, 2020
That was a long halftime...— Geoffrey A Knox 'GQ' (@GQ_4_Eva) January 14, 2020
It's almost 11 PM
Damn near 11 and they finally coming out of halftime lol— Bumpy Johnson (@kmitch305) January 14, 2020
“Burrow” is also what thousands of people who are now asleep did during that 45 minute halftime— Shelton Claus (@YinzerShelton) January 14, 2020
Some LSU fans theorized that the long break hurt their Tigers as Clemson opened the third quarter with a touchdown drive.
Long ass halftime killed all our momentum— ⚜️Mock Draft Szn⚜️ (@RB_killnem) January 14, 2020
NCAA all about the money ... they kill the momentum with the horrible 30+ minute halftime— John Sheldon (@johnsheldon1979) January 14, 2020
How much of LSU’s lost momentum can you blame on the 45 minute halftime show?— Harris Wilson (@harriswiIson) January 14, 2020
Man that halftime sucked the energy out of the purple.— bobbyp (@bpfla93) January 14, 2020
A fourth quarter that started after 11:30 p.m. inspired similar groans.
It's 11:32 p.m. ET. Looking forward to the fourth quarter!— Banner Society (@BannerSociety) January 14, 2020
By the time LSU was crowned national champion, it was well after midnight on the East coast.
Whether or not the long halftime on top of a nearly two-hour first half benefited one team or another isn’t the issue. Both teams play under the same set of circumstances.
This can be fixed
The problem here is that this game is going way too long and on way too late. Especially for a Monday night. And it’s completely within the control of college football and its broadcasters to fix it.
There’s no reason for the showcase game of the college football season — or any other game for that matter — to drag on like this.
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