In this NFL game, silence was golden
Why the Jets-Dolphins game was broadcast 30 years ago without announcers
By Greg Garber ESPN.com December 12, 2010
"We are just moments away from the kickoff of today's Jets-Dolphins game and a telecast that figures to be different. The fact that we try something different and dare to has been greeted with almost every kind of reaction, from good-natured humor to applause to some surprising anger." -- Bryant Gumbel's first on-camera words on Dec. 20, 1980
It was a meaningless, season-ending game for two mediocre NFL teams ...
1952 World Series game times: three hours maximum. Tuesday, August 26, 2014
a separate post on how replays mask dead time, which is that much worse if you're actually at the game
1952 World Series game seven kinescope: some observations. Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Watched in its entirety with no replays or other distractions from the natural dead time of a baseball game, it's boring, just in a different way from today's longer games.
Tuesday, October 7, 1952 Ebbets Field
Attendance: 33,195, Time of Game: 2:54
That 1980 NFL game had replays and "graphics", plus some interruptions of people speaking. However, the game was meaningless, which is why the experiment was tried.
|Red Barber 1955 at the WPIX TV mic after switching to the Yankees in 1954 by Al Ravenna, World-Telegram staff photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons|
During a baseball game replays sometimes fill in the ever increasing dead time between pitches. That was never so obvious to me than this week when, for the first time, I spent a couple of hours watching the entire game seven of the 1952 World Series. The commercial breaks between innings had been removed, which accounts for the run time being less than the official game time of almost three hours.
Over the years I had viewed excerpts but never anything very long. Now I have seen this classic game in its entirety. After a few innings the novelty wears off and I became accustomed to seeing one Hall of Fame player after another. The batters took a lot of time getting into the batter's box but once there, they stayed about 99% of the time. The pitchers were slow throughout, maybe getting slower as the game progressed.
By the last three innings it was definitely BORING. Before you attack me, try it yourself. Watch it. With no distractions. No tablet, music, anything. Just sit there and watch.
Then you'll probably be as bored as the 33,195 fans in Ebbets Field that day, which was up from the previous day when only 30,037 showed up to see the Dodgers try to win in six games. Look at them. And remember, there were about 3,000 empty seats. Attendance for both games 4 and 5 of the 1953 WS in Ebbets Field: 36,775. That must have been capacity.
We need distraction and other entertainment to entertain us during the sporting events we pretend are so interesting. We just don't notice or admit it.