View Full Version : How commercial breaks work in NFL games

09-27-2009, 05:32 PM
Commercial breaks

During each half of a network-televised game, following the official kickoff, there are ten prescribed commercials breaks. Two are firmly scheduled, and eight others are randomly worked in during breaks in the game itself.[19]
Pre-scheduled commercials breaks:
The end of the first (or third) quarter
The two-minute warning of the second (or fourth) quarter
Other instances used for commercial breaks (eight total required per half):
A timeout called by either team
Instant replay stoppage
Game stoppage after a score
Game stoppage after a turnover
Injury timeout
Two commercial breaks during the typical 12-minute halftime period are considered separate.
Networks are more apt to front-load their commercials in the first and third quarters, to prevent an overrun in the second and fourth quarters, respectively. If a team calls a timeout and the network decides to use it for a commercial break, a representative from the broadcast crew stationed on the sidelines wearing orange sleeves makes a crossing motion with his hands to alert the officials. The referee declares it a "two-minute timeout."
Once a broadcast has fulfilled the 8 "random" breaks, game stoppages are no longer needed for commercials. The orange sleeve will hold his hands down in a twirl motion to alert the officials. If a team calls a timeout, the referee will declare it a "30-second timeout." Once any timeout in a half is declared a 30-second timeout, all remaining timeouts will be.
Since the 10 total commercial breaks for the second half are to be finished prior to the end of regulation commercial breaks are rarely needed in overtime situations. In many cases, overtime periods are conducted without any commercials. This also allows the extended broadcast to finish in a timely manner

09-29-2009, 03:03 PM
I always wondered how that works. Thanks.

09-30-2009, 07:44 AM
This is good stuff. I usually get pretty annoyed by how often CBS goes to commercial breaks. At least I know there's a method to the madness now.

10-03-2009, 03:57 PM
Yeah I always wondered myself thats why I looked it up. Once I understood the method I wasn't AS annoyed watching the games.