If you’re at a football game, then you may wonder how long the halftime show is going to be.
Even if you’re at home and watching the game, you may wonder how long the halftime show is.
For both, halftime shows are a great time to watch performances or run to the store to stock up on more alcohol and food.
The problem with halftime shows is that the duration depends on the game in question.
Here’s what you need to know about how long halftime shows are in football.
How Long Is Halftime In Football?
In the NFL, halftime is only 12 minutes long.
Depending on the game, the halftime show might include a musical performance, a show by the cheerleaders, or some other form of entertainment.
In college football, halftime lasts 20 minutes.
In this case, there is usually a performance by the home team’s marching band.
Those without a marching band might have a musical performance or a performance by the cheerleaders.
High school football is a bit more varied.
Their halftime shows can last anywhere from 10 minutes to 20 minutes.
Because high school football is a lot less formal and doesn’t use commercial ads, they have some more flexibility with how long it takes for the game to continue playing.
Typical halftime shows at high school football games include marching band performances, cheerleader performances, and other entertainment.
Some will even have games where audience members can participate to win prizes.
Finally, the Super Bowl has its own halftime show duration.
Since many tune in for the halftime performance rather than the game, it’s essentially a spectacle in itself.
The halftime show can last anywhere from 12 minutes to 30 minutes.
In most cases, the actual performance lasts anywhere from 12 to 14 minutes.
However, there’s a lot of setup and take-down involved before and after the performance, too.
This also adds to the time of halftime.
Regardless of which kind of football game you’re watching, you can count on a few minutes to go to the bathroom or get snacks before the game resumes.
Why Is There A Time Limit On Halftime Shows?
Considering how entertaining halftime shows can be, you may wonder why there’s a time limit at all.
Here are a few reasons the NFL and college football games have a time limit on halftime shows.
1. Main Purpose Is To Let Players Rest
Although halftime shows have a reputation for flashy performances and award-winning musical artists, their official purpose is quite simple.
They’re intended to allow the players to rest between the halves.
Football is a physical sport.
Players run up and down the field as fast as they can to score points.
They also hit one another and tackle each other to the ground.
Because of how physical it is, it makes sense that the players grow tired after a time.
Halftime allows them a moment to rest their bodies and recover from the physical demands of the game.
For those who had minor injuries, it allows them time to patch themselves up before getting back on the field.
It also gives teams the chance to review past plays and determine if they need to switch their strategies or not.
While halftime may be entertaining for the fans and viewers, it’s really just an opportunity for players to catch their breaths.
Another reason there’s a time limit on halftime shows is that it helps the network know how many ads they can show in a game.
Without a set time limit, networks would be unsure how many ads they could fit in that slot.
Since they want to show a certain number each game, it’d mean they might have to take more commercial breaks during the actual game to get those ads out.
With a set halftime time limit, networks can plan out their ad schedules more definitely.
3. Keeps Performers From Stealing The Spotlight
While a lot of people watch football for halftime shows, they’re not the main attraction.
The focus is always on the game, the teams, and the players.
That’s another reason there’s a time limit on halftime shows.
Without them, entertainers could decide to keep on playing.
The halftime show might end up turning into a concert.
While some fans might enjoy the free concert, most likely want the show to be over to get back to the game.
By putting a time limit on the halftime show, it encourages entertainers to show their best then leave the field and let the players back on it.
For marching bands, having a time limit helps them hone and refine their shows.
Since many marching bands participate in marching competitions, they use halftime shows as dress rehearsal practices.
Not all marching band competitions have time limits, but some do, and by using the time limit issued by the field, marching bands can ensure they stay right on target.
Having a time limit on the halftime show ensures performers know when to leave the field so that the game can resume.
4. Save Money
A final reason there’s a time limit on halftime shows is that the NFL or college football league doesn’t want to pay that much for the entertainers.
Entertainers are usually paid by the hour or by performance.
The longer they’re on screen, the more expensive it is to pay them.
If they’re only playing a few songs for a few minutes, then they’re going to have cheaper prices.
A time limit ensures that they only pay the performer for the time they’re scheduled to play.
This helps them save money on entertainment costs.
How Long Is The Average NFL Game With Halftime?
Halftime adds a substantial amount of time to an NFL game.
With halftime included, an NFL game lasts anywhere from two to three hours.
In most cases, the game lasts a little over three hours.
Without halftime, players would have to play all 15-minute quarters without a break.
Since halftime takes at least 20 minutes between the performance and the setup for it, the games would probably shave down by at least a half-hour.
How Long Is The Average College Football Game With Halftime?
College football games are notoriously long.
With halftime included, college football games tend to last three hours or more.
Many of them end up pushing the four-hour mark.
Considering that halftime shows are at least 20 minutes for the performance alone, you can probably estimate that halftime shows add around 40 minutes to the total time.
Removing halftime from college games could shave off that amount of time.
How Long Is The Super Bowl With Halftime?
There’s no question that the Super Bowl is the longest football game in most cases.
Super Bowl games tend to last anywhere from three hours to four or five.
Most of that time goes to airing commercials.
The halftime show also adds a good chunk of time to the game.
Since halftime shows can last anywhere from 20 minutes to 30 minutes at the Super Bowl, cutting that out would shrink the time by a significant amount.
However, halftime shows and the Super Bowl are so closely knit that it’s virtually impossible to consider one without the other.
The halftime show extends the Super Bowl by a half-hour at the very least.
When Did Super Bowl Halftime Shows Begin?
Football games haven’t always had halftime shows.
There was a time when viewers would sit in the stands and wait for the players to come back on the field.
They did the same thing that people do now.
They use the bathroom and fill up on snacks and drinks.
However, in 1967, the first halftime shows started to emerge along with the first Super Bowl game.
They weren’t the same type of musical performance that everyone sees today.
They were simpler and more refined.
Most of the halftime shows then were marching bands or musical performances that featured instruments.
The NFL realized that halftime shows were useful for keeping audiences entertained while players rested.
It ensured that they remained in the stands rather than growing bored and going home halfway through the game.
It also gave them a way to entertain those at home.
This meant that viewers at home were more likely to stick around on the same channel and watch the performance.
As a result, they’d also be more likely to sit through the commercials.
As the NFL realized the value behind halftime performances, they started to invest more by paying top-talent musical artists to perform.
It gave audience members and viewers at home the chance to see a live performance by artists that they may never see on their own.
Over the next few decades, the Super Bowl became known for its halftime performances as much as it did for the teams playing in it.
What Are Some Of The Biggest Performances At The Super Bowl Halftime Show?
Throughout the Super Bowl’s history, there have been incredible musical performances by famous musical artists over the years.
Fans tend to enjoy one over the other simply because of their own musical tastes, but there’s no question that the NFL always seeks out the top talent in any musical genre.
Some of the biggest performances in Super Bowl history include:
- Shakira and Jennifer Lopez with Bad Bunny, J Balvin, and Emme Muñiz (2020)
- Lady Gaga (2017)
- Beyoncé with Destiny’s Child (2013)
- Madonna with Nicki Minaj, LMFAO, Cee Lo Green, Andy Lewis, and M.I.A. (2012)
- Bruce Springsteen (2009)
- Prince (2007)
- The Rolling Stones (2006)
- Paul McCartney (2005)
- Aerosmith with NSYNC (2001)
- Diana Ross (1996)
- Michael Jackson (1993)
Super Bowl viewers can always expect top talent when it comes to the halftime show.
What Halftime Show Was The Most Memorable?
There’s no question that the halftime show that almost everyone seems to remember is the Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake performance.
While the performance itself was quite good, there was a moment that stuck in the headlines from the media for a very long time.
While Jackson and Timberlake were performing, Timberlake accidentally grabbed Jackson’s costume.
It came apart and exposed Jackson’s breast for a quick moment before she covered herself.
The camera caught it all.
It occurred when the camera was already zoomed in on the pair.
Although the operator in charge of censoring did their best to quickly blur out the exposed area, there was the briefest second when it was visible to everyone.
Considering that children also watch the Super Bowl, it was quite the controversy for some time.
Jackson even had to apologize even though it was a wardrobe issue and an accident.
Timberlake would perform at the Super Bowl again in 2018.
Although there have been some great musical performances, and the sharks from Katy Perry’s Super Bowl halftime show were certainly meme-worthy, nothing quite compares to the wardrobe malfunction of Janet Jackson.
When it comes to Super Bowl halftime history, this is the moment that tends to rank as the most memorable.
How Have Super Bowl Halftime Shows Changed?
Since Super Bowl halftime shows started in the late 1960s, they have certainly changed with time.
They began as simple marching band shows or instrumental performances.
Eventually, fireworks, light shows, and other special effects started to accompany performances.
This then gave way to hiring top musical talent to start performing at them.
Their stage shows were then accompanied by fireworks, light shows, and other special effects.
As technology became more advanced, the shows became more advanced.
Although the focus would always be on the musical performer, new technology allowed the performers to make more elaborate displays and performances.
Besides the impressive quality of visuals, the theme of the performance also started to shift.
Musical performances were no longer simple entertainment.
They were also used to send a message.
One such example was during the Shakira and Jennifer Lopez halftime show.
Their show became about representing Latin Americans and Latin Pop and Afro Pop and its impact and place in American culture.
At the most recent Super Bowl halftime show in 2022, Eminem famously took a knee during his performance as a nod to player Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem before each game in protest against racial inequality and police brutality.
Although many performers still lean on the safe side of playing just to entertain, others have used the platform to send their own messages to the millions of viewers watching.
Time will tell whether this new trend continues in Super Bowl halftime shows or if the NFL will crack down on it.
Who Was The Headliner Of The First Super Bowl Show?
The first Super Bowl that had a halftime performance was in the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Packers had previously defeated the Dallas Cowboys to make it to the game.
The Kansas City Chiefs had defeated the Buffalo Bills to make it to the Super Bowl.
The game was on January 15, 1967.
Ultimately, the Green Bay Packers would defeat the Kansas City Chiefs for the Super Bowl Win.
However, many people remember the game for the first halftime show performance.
It was also the first time that such a sporting event was simulcast.
This means that both NBC and CBS aired the game live.
As such, more people were able to tune in and watch the first-ever halftime show performance.
The show featured a marching band performance from a few different bands.
The main marching band was the University of Arizona Symphonic Marching Band.
The Grambling State Marching Band also gave a small performance.
A special celebrity guest played at the first Super Bowl halftime show, too.
It was Al Hirt, a famous trumpet player.
Since the game was in Los Angeles, the Anaheim High School drill team also had a small performance during the show.
Halftime shows vary depending on the league.
The most famous halftime show is the one held during the Super Bowl which runs anywhere from 12 to 20 minutes.
Although the Super Bowl halftime show started with simple marching bands, it has since progressed into showing some of the best musical performances in the music industry.