Watching football on television dictates diets and schedules and even basic household responsibilities like washing dishes or putting the kids to bed. It dominates happy hours and alters Circadian rhythms, depending on what time zone one happens to be in.
The most-watched show this past TV season was NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” — ahead of “American Idol,” “Dancing with the Stars” and two different N.C.I.S. series. The 12 most watched sporting events midway through this year were all N.F.L.games. Even the Pro Bowl — which few actually like to watch — drew better than Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game.
In other words, television is the linchpin in the N.F.L.’s enormous popularity. Football is seemingly made for TV and, as one network executive joked, when was the last time someone complained about a football game lasting too long? It never comes up.