I was never one to watch sports, but the first season I played fantasy football, I was hooked. I wanted to watch every game, and I did just that. Well, almost. Whatever was available on network television at the time. Over the years, I would upgrade to RedZone so I could see every touchdown every week.
I would also dive into the world of fantasy football podcasts, of which there are many. At one time, I was listening to 5 football podcasts a day, most of them centered around fantasy, but also ones that were just about the league in general. And Sundays from September ’til February you could find me glued to the couch in a zombie-like trance, watching game after game with laptop and phone open to the various fantasy apps and websites.
Fast forward to today, where Sundays are spent outdoors, running various errands, working on projects. Free to do as I please. No longer glued to a television. It feels wonderful! And best of all, I still get a bit of a football fix. Just not a full day (or week’s!) worth.
How do I do it? Very simple:
1. Avoid knowing the outcomes of any games you are interested in. This sort of implies that you are not actively checking your fantasy team (if you have any). It also has the added benefit of not getting worked up or frustrated about your team’s performance. Out of sight, out of mind!
2. Wait until the games that you want to watch have concluded (plus around 30 minutes to an hour afterwards).
3. Locate the highlights video on Youtube and consume. Typically my searches are something like “nfl highlights week 4” or for a specific matchup, “rams seahawks week 10 highlights”.
Why do I do this? I still want the thrill and excitement of watching the game, but I don’t feel like devoting every Thursday night, entire Sunday, and Monday night to the television. I’ve cut back a lot on my football watching time since the peak. Last season I was still watching every game’s highlights, but this season I have cut back to just 1 team (GO RAMS!) and the occasional nail-biter that I’ll hear about from Twitter.
This has saved me a ridiculous amount of time. Let’s assume the average football game is 3.5 hours, the average highlights video is a conservative 15 minutes, and that you want to watch every game.
256 games over the course of a season * 3.5 hours = 37 days, 8 hours
vs just watching highlights videos:
256 * 15 minutes = 2 days, 16 hours
What will you do with those extra 35 days?
If that doesn’t convince you, I also found this nice breakdown of how much actual football occurs during a typical game (hint: it’s mostly commercials!).
Of course, when it comes time for playoffs, I will still watch the occasional full game. There is still no substitute for watching the game in real time. However, I’m very happy to have my Sundays back and be able to watch a game in 15 minutes while still experiencing the rollercoaster of emotions that go along with it.