NBC To Adjust TV Timeouts

On Tuesday Brian Kelly told the media that he and AD Jack Swarbrick had talked to NBC about its TV timeouts in relation to Notre Dame’s fast paced offense it will be running.  By Tuesday night, reports surfaced that NBC would be altering it’s timeout structure for all Notre Dame home games.

Shorter TV timeouts are coming to Notre Dame home games on NBC this fall. (Photo - IconSMI)

Here’s what Kelly had to say about NBC a his style of play.

Certainly we’ve talked to NBC about the way we like to play the game versus how it was played in the past.  Those conversations have taken place.  There’s certainly a need for us to address it and I think we’re working with NBC to make certain that they get what they need from an advertising standpoint, but also, as the network that carries Notre Dame, that we’re able to do things as well.

The model out there has been ABC/ESPN for college football just because of the sheer volume of games they carry.  There’s a model out there.  All we’ve tried to do is address the model that we think would work well with us and there’s got to be a meeting somewhere halfway.   I’m very confident we’re going to be able to do the things we want to do in terms of pushing the tempo without having to go to a commercial break.

That conversation’s taken place.  Getting into the specifics, I’m not willing to do that, but I can tell you that that conversation between Jack (Swarbrick) and myself from Notre Dame along with the production people at NBC has taken place and I think we’re going to be able to meet somewhere in the middle.

According to USA Today, NBC listened and has decided to use the same ad model they use for their NFL games.

For this season’s Notre Dame game telecasts, NBC will switch to the NFL TV model of five shorter commercial breaks per quarter rather than four longer commercial breaks.

The total amount of advertising time will be the same. But the shorter breaks will run about 1 minute, 45 seconds this season compared to 2:30 last season.

“Over the years, we have reassessed the structure of our commercial breaks numerous times to improve the experience for our viewers and the fans in the stadium,” said NBC Sports spokesman Chris McCloskey in a statement Tuesday. “The commercial load this year will be identical to last year. The slight change to the commercial structure is the result of a number of factors done to improve the broadcast, not one single reason.”

Anyone who’s watched a Notre Dame game on NBC in the last few years knows how painful it is to sit through all of the commercials.  Many times the afternoon games on ABC/ESPN that start later than Notre Dame games finish up about the same time or before.

Aside from going against the style of play Brian Kelly plans on installing, the long TV timeouts also really suck the life out of the crowd at times.   Without video screens or a jumbotron of any kind, it’s tough to keep everyone’s attention during a two and a half minute break in the action.  That long of break might not seem like much, but when there’s four of them every quarter, it adds up.

We’ll find out soon enough if the shorter breaks help the game atmosphere inside the stadium on gamedays, but if nothing else, it shows the attention to detail Kelly has had since coming to Notre Dame.

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  1. “But put him on a sideline, in a ND cap, and make a bad call agianst his team and watch out.”

    Yeah, he might put you in a choke hold! Lou was in terrific shape from all the pacing he did on the sidelines. He was so filled with nervous energy it’s no wonder he chewed out the refs so often. Holtz was fun to watch, especially when he was upset with the refs.

  2. Influencing the officiating is an art. Ara Parsegian had that great intensity and focus. When he spoke to a ref, they listened. He made them listen.
    Lou Holtz. If you ran into him on the street, with his small stature, and kind smile, you would hardly consider him intimidating. But put him on a sideline, in a ND cap, and make a bad call agianst his team and watch out.
    No way would I want to be a ref on the recieving end of that steely stare of his, or his yelling, or his pointed finger!
    It’s up to the head coach to make sure that his team gets a fair shake.
    Some do it better than others. I think Kelly will be one of the better ones.

  3. Shazamrock,

    That is a great arguement on why they should have paid referees in College Division I. You are talking about a league that produces major revenue and a poorly officiated game can result in a school loosing a ton of money. As far as ND not getting calls, lets be honest you either love ND or hate ND. I have never met a person who has no opininon on ND. ND has dealt with this bias their entire existance and will continue. Unfourtunatley like most things involving ND a great ND team over comes these issues. I believe we have a head coach and a team that can accomplish this and will show the entire world of college football what ND is made of this year.

  4. The refs were horrible in that game, however being the son of a referee and umpire, if you allow them to cost you the game you shouldn’t have won the game. The Irish allowed that game to get away from them. The fumble by Jonas Grey in the beginning of the 3rd quarter what made that game close. Also our defense not being able to stop Forcier, who look horrible the rest of the year was the other problem. As much as I hate the big ten, you get two defensive stops in that game and the Irish win. It was the same in every game they lost last year, no defense. How many 3rd and 15 where we get no pass rush and a pass completion for 16 yds. I am hoping that Kelly’s attention to detail and task master mentality makes these players understand that they can’t take a play off. I don’t mean to sound like a negative fan, but that defense better bring the hammer this year.

    1. Jack,

      Not sure I can go along with the staement “If you allow
      them (the ref’s) to cost you the game, you shouldn’t have won the game”.

      There are alot of close games played every week. Just look at the SEC.
      Just because a game is close doesn’t mean the ref’s shouln’t be held responcible for doing a substandard job.

      With all the referee’s on the field, plus replay video, they should be able to get it right. And while the system isn’t 100% perfect all the time, some of the calls in last year’s Michigan were blatently obvious.
      Perhaps some of these home town ref’s should just stick with their day jobs of selling insurance.

      1. Shazamrock,

        I understand your point of how close college games are and all of the technology involved they should get it right. However, one call should never swing a game. As a head coach I don’t want my team in that position to have to depend on a Zebra to make a right call. Even with instant replay there are several calls that are judements and not reviewable. These calls are holding, pass inerference and personal fouls. If you are a team of superior talent you should not need a call to win. Look at the 1991 game against Colorado where we got screwed on a holding call. If I am coaching a team I would point to what I could control in order to stress why we lost the game not poor officiating. As far as hometown refs sticking to their day jobs, if college makes it a profession and pays these guys that is a different story. Until then we wouldn’t have a game without a ref.

      2. Jack,

        I think most fans would agree

        The home team normally gets a call or two.

        That the team with superior talent will most likely over come penelties to win.

        And that one call SHOULDN’T swing the out come of a game.

        But the trend I see for ND which, as an independent, doesn’t have any affilliation to it’s own officiating crew, is disturbing.

        When we are the visiting road team there seems to be more than just a few calls in favor of the home team.

        It doesn’t take but a couple of critical calls at critical times to bring a superior team down to the level of their weaker opponent.

        And while one call should never swing a game, often times it does.

        For some guy who sells insurance during the week, is a part time Ref on Saturdays, lives 20 miles from Ann Arbor, and is paid by the Big Ten Conference to officiate a game between the Wolverine’s and the Irish, it just plain stinks in my book.

        And I would bet that I’m not alone in thinking this!

      3. Brian Kelly will know how to handle systematic ref. bias against the Irish. He’ll make the officials his friends until it looks totally out of hand. Then he’ll make sure he’s got enough ammo in his smoking gun to publicly blow crews from an offending conference away.

        But I agree with Jack that it shoudln’t matter. If we’re allowed to play the kind of defense that SEC teams play, then we should pound other teams into the ground and therefore ignore one or two poor calls. Our offense even in the spread should have well coached linemen who do not often get called for holding. Let the defense hit and let the linemen block and truly it should be up to the teams to settle the rest.

        We have gotten hosed, but our new coach will take that out of the equation.

        This week’s Prediction: ND – 48 / Purdue 13

  5. 8 days and counting until kickoff….. 🙂

    BK is doing his damndest to get the swagger back in this team.

    Shazam, I wish we never had to have officials from those conferences. The Michigan game last year was like nothing I have ever seen. (and I’m not one to usually say “the refs cost us the game”…)

  6. Section 6 will be happy! I sit row seven right on the one yard line. The band usually is pretty entertaining during TV timeouts. I will say that it is hard enough as it is to pump an “elderly” ND crowd. This does help somewhat. Now, I wish they would institute a must cheer/stand rule and take away grumpiness/sit down rule for the entire game. Down in front is what I hear a lot. I say up in back!

  7. Now that Kelly has the TV time out situation settled, maybe now he can focus on fixing the crappy Big Ten / Pac 10 refs.
    Last year these guys were absolutly terriable.

  8. Guess I’ll have to keep the beer cooler next to the sofa so I won’t have to run to the kitchen, eh?

    Yeah, I agree ed, there are too many commercials during the game. And they’re always the same commercials from the year before. As a guy who used to work in advertising and public relations, I think this is rather lame.

    For the fans at the games I’ll be curious to hear their feedback. I know that the folks around me at games always wanted to shoot the guy with the orange glove. It never made sense to me to allow this in any sporting event. It takes away from the flow of the game!

    I know that advertisers spend enormous amounts of money for very specific time slot. (My job for a while was in media planning, buying, and analysis.) But there are ways to work around big events like this. NBC’s notorious for being aggressive in selling advertising, which is why there’s so much of it on the network regardless of the programming.

    My hunch is that the TV time-outs will occur when the visiting team has the ball. That slows down their attack and gives the Irish defense a chance to rest. But we’ll see. Either way, the beer cooler goes next to the sofa.

  9. there is still going to be too many commercials during the game. they should have kept it at 4, shortened them up, and tacked it on in between periods. i always thought the breaks in between quarters was pretty short….except halftime, nd halftimes feel like they are twice as long as other college football games

    1. Yeah, having the only CFB team with its own network, this is one step to being an innovator. The guys at SC board are over this. If only they can focus on their academic standard and not cheat to compete. I’ve seen on the bruin and bear board that SC football players take a video game class and get credit for this. I thought Pat Haden was taking care of this. Check it out on google-

      Change the fight on to cheaton

  10. I think it’s great; not only have I watched every game on t.v., I have been to Notre Dame Stadium and had to sit through the too long timeouts. I can’t say that it sucks the life out of the crowd; the stadium is so raucous that I don’t think that it is possible. But I am hoping that the broadcasts are not the historically 20+ minutes longer than ABC, CBS or ESPN’s…being at home, that IS draining…

    1. Yeah, You could play a chess match during those TV timeouts.

      Personally, I’d like to see ND think of doing a split. half the games wtih CBS and half the games with ESPN/ABC. You’d hear a lot more love or at least less bias against ND.

  11. “we’re going to get em on the run, and when we get em on the run, we’re gonna keep em on the run. And we’re gona GO, GO, GO, GO, and we’re not going to stop until we cross that goal line, or at least until that lousy Big Ten ref calls for another TV time out”

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