Although football is enjoyable, it can sometimes be boring depending on various factors. Perhaps, you’ve heard people say they’ve watched several football games they found boring instead of enjoying them, and you are wondering what could be the cause!
This article will address some of the reasons why football may get boring instead of being an enjoyable experience.
Why is football so boring?
Football could be boring for several reasons, some of which could be easily understood, while others may be debatable.
Here are the 8 main reasons why football may be boring:
#1 Length of Matches
For many people, the length of football matches is the first and most prominent problem that bores them with the sport. On average, a football match lasts 90 minutes from start to finish. This means spectators and fans must maintain their interest in the game for at least 1.5 hours.
For many people, it may be impossible due to our ever decreasing attention span!
Sometimes, fans may lose interest because the players may not perform at their optimal levels due to fatigue, especially at the closing stages of the game. Moreover, the size of the pitch and the time it takes during games to move the ball from one end to the other may contribute to the monotonous nature of games, making the 90-minute duration seem like an eternity.
For context, the average NBA game has 48 minutes of action on the court. This enables the spectators and fans to enjoy the time they spend watching the games as they remain quite invested in the games.
#2 Broadcast Style
Football is a professional game, and sometimes, those that run the affair of the game prefer to leave controversies out of the game. As a result, commentators prefer to talk solely about the match and matters that may be directly linked to the game in play.
They do not discuss the private lives of the players or what they do off the pitch and focus mainly on their performances in match situations. To some, this may be a reason not to follow or watch football matches where all the commentator does is drone about the number of goals a particular player has scored rather than their social life or activities outside of games.
Due to this, fans more interested in controversies could find football games boring, and they stick to social media, where all the controversies are happening.
Another example was when some Australian fans had to call out English commentator Martin Tyler for lacking the necessary emotions and excitement following Argentina’s World Cup win over France. Since football is a game of emotions, commentators must also help to keep fans interested from start to finish.
Furthermore, pre-match build-ups, half-time analysis, and full-time analysis of games from broadcast stations help fans to stay glued to the game. Once a game lacks any of these activities, fans could end up getting bored.
#3 Injuries/Health Challenges
Injuries and health challenges are inevitable in football, whether on or off the pitch. However, the physios sometimes attend to injuries on the pitch, using up the time for games and ensuring many minutes of inaction during these games.
Whilst it is commendable to keep players out of harm’s way, these treatments may often cause the game to become boring to some spectators.
Also, we’ve seen games being stopped due to casualties from the fans recently. An example was when a fan had to be attended to during Tottenham’s 3-2 win over Newcastle at St. James Park in a Premier League game in October 2021. The referee, Andre Marriner, had to suspend the game for some time to allow the medical team to attend to the fan, delaying the game for a while.
As a result of the regular stoppage of time due to injuries during games, some fans could find games really boring.
You can find out more about how injury time is calculated here.
#4 Low-scoring nature
For all of the hype surrounding football, the sport is a low-scoring one. According to statistics from footystat.org, the two most common scorelines in football are 1-1 and 1-0. This shows that football matches most often end up as low-scoring affairs. There could also be 0-0 draws where neither team scores a goal.
However, goals generally make games interesting to watch, and games without goals are usually dull and uninspiring to watch.
As a result, fans who prefer to see plenty of goals could sometimes find football boring, especially when they don’t see many goals in the game as expected.
#5 Rules of the game and rule changes
Football is a sport that is guided by a plethora of rules such that for every phase of play, there are several rules guiding how each team should perform. Sometimes, these strict rules take away the fun from the game, leaving players to perform within strict limits.
Rules like the offside rule, back pass rule, the number of substitutes permitted, and corner kick and throw-in rules, among others, may contribute to spectators finding the sport boring.
Also, the incessant rule changes in the sport have made many people lose interest in it. The offside rule, for example, has been changed/modified many times in recent years.
As a result, fans have very little understanding of what offences are offside, and since the rule changes every few months, fans become unwilling to bother about it. They eventually lose interest in the sport altogether.
You can find out why the offside rule is needed in this article here.
#6 Style of play
In explaining this factor, there are two key parts to understand. Firstly, the style of play each team uses impacts how the fans see the sport.
For example, some teams prefer to play defensive football and just sit back and try to ensure that their opponents do not score. On the other side of the pitch, they do nothing and allow their opponents to do all the attacking while waiting for counterattacks.
The development and widespread use of this tactic, known as “parking the bus,” has made several people think football is boring. Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone is fond of using this tactic and several others worldwide.
Secondly, flair players have mostly disappeared because of the style of play managers implement.
Players like Ronaldinho, Robinho, Zinedine Zidane, Dennis Bergkamp, Kaka, Jay-Jay Okocha and many more who can make magic happen with the ball at their feet have been phased out of the game. Players who are more mechanical have replaced them, playing under strict instructions of where to move, how to move, where to pass the ball and where to shoot.
These restrictions have taken away some of the spontaneous magic moments in the game, making it seem more monotonous and boring by the day. Only a few players, like Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Lionel Messi, produce these moments of magic in the current game.
#7 Addition of the Video Assistant Referee
FIFA’s introduction of the Video Assistant Referee has greatly changed how players play football and fans see the game. The match officials now take pivotal decisions with accuracy and correctness.
The major downside of this technology is that the sport now seems too automated, and the VAR has taken away some of the joy from the sport. Teams now have to await confirmation for many minutes before they celebrate a goal.
In some cases, VAR makes decisions at the end of games, such as in the Champions League match between Atletico Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen, where the VAR awarded a penalty after the full-time whistle had gone. It took the referee about four minutes before he gave that decision.
Here’s another example where it took a few minutes before VAR decided that Giroud’s Champions League goal vs Atletico Madrid should stand:
These VAR-influenced delays often contribute to the perception that the sport is boring.
Another reason people may see football as boring is its lack of intensity compared to other sports. Unlike other sports, football takes place over an expansive pitch with 11 players on each side.
This means that a number of players may be completely uninvolved in the game, and the intensity may be reduced.
Many other interesting sports have a lot of physical contact and collisions. However, while football is a contact sport, the rules of football dictate that the game takes place with minimal physicality. This can make the game seem dull and uninteresting to some viewers.
Additionally, the lack of scoring opportunities can sometimes make games seem uneventful and lacklustre.
Overall, spectators could see football as boring at times which could be due to different reasons, including the intensity of the sport, the introduction of the VAR, style of play, rules of the game, injuries and broadcast style etc.
However, an average football fan might refute this claim, but it does not remove the fact that football can be boring sometimes.
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