The day after his Falcons opened the season by winning in Kansas City, Mike Smith noted that a game that ended 40-24 had nonetheless been a long “two hours and 52 minutes.” Intrigued, a listener picked up a copy of the stats booklet to cross-check the coach’s numbers.
Sure enough, there it was. “Time of game: 2:52.”
Further intrigued, the same listener asked Smith if he’s in the habit of committing the running times of games to memory. (In the NFL, this is a number you have to hunt to find. Indeed, if you scan the Falcons-Chiefs box score on ESPN.com, you won’t find it at all.) And Smith said he does. He also said it’s one of the first things he checks.
Now this was getting really intriguing. There are a hundred numbers in an NFL stats booklet more important that how long the game lasted. We can assume the head coach already knows the final score, but what about yardage, turnovers, penalties,