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Re-watching old Steelers games can be tough to sit through when you know the outcome

Football games are longer than you think when you already know the score.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

I’ve been reminded a lot lately that I’m a content creator. I guess that’s a new term, and it sounds a lot sexier than blogger. Actually, I prefer being called a writer, but I can’t help what people call me on the Internet (it usually has to do with my hair). Come to think of it, being called a content creator may actually impress people more in 2021, so I shouldn’t be so quick to scoff at such a label (I’m trying to date on Bumble again—women like to know things about men they go out with for some reason).

Anyway, since I am a content creator, I’d like to take this time to create some content out of thin air about watching old Steelers games.

It can be a bit much. Why? When you already know the outcome ahead of time, it makes you realize just how many stoppages in play there are during a 60-minute game.

There are a lot of stoppages.

I used to make fun of my international friends for their complaints about American football and its many starts and stops. Also, most of the young folks in the United States seem to have the attention spans of flying insects and can’t seem to stay focused on something unless it’s constantly in motion (like a colicky baby that won’t stop crying until it’s in a moving vehicle).

And what about the folks that like to whine about the length of games in all sports, as if they have anything better to do? Nothing these people watch can ever be over three hours long (except an Avengers movie, of course). The average length of an NFL game has increased by approximately 20 minutes since I graduated from high school way back in 1991.

Twenty minutes over a three-decade span is too much? Really? What’s so important about those extra 20 minutes?

What’s wrong with you international/young people, anyway? Don’t you love American football? The passion? The excitement? The tension that builds in-between plays and during timeouts?

I love all of those things...when I’m watching an NFL game live. Fortunately for my international/young friends out there, viewing old Steelers games as part of my research for the Steelers Retro Show, the podcast I co-host every week with Bryan Anthony Davis, has helped to massage my empathy muscle and forced me to think about what those people mean when they complain about stoppages and the length of games.

Don’t misunderstand, I do enjoy watching these legacy games. Many have allowed me to relive old memories. Others have helped to clue me in on just how dominant those 1970s Steelers teams were (spoiler alert: very).

But just how many timeouts can you take in a drive? And what’s with the non-stop huddling by the officials to discuss every damn call? You threw that flag, Mr. Back Judge—own it!

Lots of passing is fun during a live NFL game. However, it’s all about SMASHMOUTH FOOTBALL when you’re watching one of those old suckers on YouTube, baby! “Pound that rock, Jerome! Keep eating away at that clock.” “Damn it, stay in bounds, Franco! Don’t let Jim Brown be right about you!”

You don’t know how many times I’ve screamed, “Hurry up, first quarter!” while watching one of these old games (just like how a Pitt fan does when Clemson comes to town).

Can you believe they used to stop play several times during games in order to get the home crowd to pipe down? Imagine the crowd noise rule existing in a universe that included social media and many podcasts.

Also, who uploads old NFL games onto YouTube without taking out the commercials?

The worst part for me is when someone keeps commercials in at the beginning of a game and then decides to start editing them out in the second half. You race through two quarters, halftime and most of the third period. You’re feeling pretty good because it only took you an hour to get through all of that. “Sure there’s still 48 minutes to go,” you say to yourself. “But if I fast-forward through the rest of the commercials, I should be done in less than 30.”

Then you discover that the final 48 minutes are commercial-free and you think, “No way will the last 18 minutes of actual game time take up every last second.”

And it does. That’s right, no postgame show. No presentation. The last thing you see is the teams walking off the field.

Man, football can be a grind to get through.

I hear you, my international friend/young person. I will never question your attention span ever again.