How Many Quarters Are in a Football Game? [NFL, College, High School, Youth]

If you’re watching a football game, especially for the first time, you might be thinking about how long the duration of the game is. 

If we want to know the basic structure of a football game, it can be difficult to distinguish between the college, professional, or high school youth levels. The layout and the quarters during a football match differ in accordance with the degree of play, but ultimately, how many quarters are in a football game?

How Many Quarters Are in a Football Game?

Every football game is divided into four quarters. The length of each quarter is dependednt on the level of play.

A typical football game is played over four quarters; the typical NFL football match lasts just over three hours. The longest average was recorded in 2015, where the average length of a game was 3 hours 9 minutes.

College football games may be longer than the NFL games; the typical college game is 3 hours 30 minutes.

If you’re attending a high school or youth soccer game, you can anticipate that the length of the game will be significantly shorter than NFL and college football.

What are the Four Quarters in a Football Game?

In football, a quarter is the primary unit of time measurement used in the game; every quarter lasts 15 minutes long. After the game clock for one quarter, it is time for a brief break before the following quarter starts.

  • Football games includes: 1st quarter, 2nd quarter, 3rd quarter, and the 4th quarter.
  • The first two-quarters of the game are known as the first half, and the final two quarters are referred to as the second half.
  • The time for quarters in the NFL, as well as NCAA football, lasts approximately 15 minutes.
  • In the lower leagues, football quarters are cut by 12 minutes.

But this is just the duration of the game clock, and quarters generally require longer to complete. This is due to interruptions to time, like interceptions and timeouts.

Read also: How Many Innings Are in a Softball Game?

How Do Quarters Work in Football?

Quarters are utilized to give an outline for the game; the quarters are made up of a specific duration of time based on the playing level. They are utilized as certain quarters could have specific rules.

For instance, in professional football, the clock is stopped after two minutes of the fourth and second quarters, but not in the third and first. The division of each quarter provides for the nuances of the rules of the game that contribute to the overall strategy of the game.

How Long Is Each Quarter in Football?

From the lowest to the professional levels, the amount of each quarter increases in order to accommodate the ability, endurance, and interest of the spectators in the sport.

Youth football matches are the most reduced due to their physical endurance and the ability of the young to concentrate for shorter time periods.

Professional football matches are the longest as they meet the most intense level of skill and endurance and also provide the longest game to football fans, which boosts television viewership and sales.

How Long Are Quarters in College Football?

The quarters of college football last 15 minutes long; however, professional football games are governed by an additional two minutes of warning at the beginning of the fourth and second quarters, whereas college football games don’t.

How Long Are Quarters in High School Football?

High school football quarters are 12 minutes long. Similar to college football games, there is no two-minute warning.

How Long Are Quarters in Youth Football?

Youth football’s timetables for quarters depend upon the ages of players. In the general case, youth football games are usually 10 minutes long. There is the possibility of moving clocks or stopping them at certain times during the game.

The running clock will be triggered whenever a team has a winning percentage. This is to make it possible for the team to reach the conclusion of the game sooner in order to minimize the demoralization of the opponent.

How Long Does It Take to Play a Football Quarter?

A typical 15-minute college or professional quarter lasts around 45 minutes in live time, a proportion of three actual minutes for each game minute. The most common rule is to calculate the length of the game and then multiply it by three times to determine how long a quarter is likely to be required to play.

What Happens After Each Quarter?

The way things play out at the conclusion of each quarter will depend on the particular quarter and also the level of play.

After the first quarter, the offensive team moves in the other direction from where they went in the first quarter. For instance, they were traveling from left to right along their 30-yard line, then the ball was transferred to the opposite 30-yard line, and the offensive team would travel to the viewer’s right to left.

After the 2nd quarter, both sides head into halftime to rest and prepare for the second portion of the game.

Regardless of who received the ball or the location where the ball was, the team who chose to take the ball at the beginning of the game will kick off in the second quarter or the third quarter.

In professional games, the clock is stopped two minutes before the end of the second quarter; this is a planned timeout that is allocated to both teams without using a team timeout.

The final third quarter is the same as the initial quarter; the ball travels from the left to right, or the reverse, but the same as the first.

After the quarter’s fourth period, as long as the game isn’t tied, the team with the most points wins; when the score is tied, then an overtime period will be played.

The kind of overtime that is played is contingent on the level of competition. Professionals have their own style of overtime, and high school and college are governed by their specific rules; youth sports may employ any of these formats or do not use overtime at all.

There are occasions when higher levels don’t perform overtime or extra overtime in accordance with the type of rules.

How Many Quarters of Overtime Are There in Football?

For professional soccer, there’s an overtime period of 15 minutes. The game’s format has evolved; however, the current game is an approach of first to score; the first team that scores a touchdown is the winner of the game.

If a team shoots an attempt at a field goal and gets 3 points or more, the opposing team has a chance to score or tie their own touchdown and win, and if the team is unable to score, the team that scored the first field goal that was successful takes the victory.

Overtime in college and High School football play is totally different from professional game; teams take turns starting offensive drives from the opponent’s 25-yard line. 

The first team has the chance to score by making a field goal and scoring three points or scoring a touchdown with a point following an attempt. The second team is then given an opportunity to score, too. The team that scores the most points at the conclusion of the first round takes the title.

If they’re still tied, then a new round of overtime will be played; when teams reach the third overtime round, If they can score a touchdown, they must try a two-point conversion instead of a point immediately following the kick attempt.

This is done in order to determine the outcome of the game and to decrease the amount of overtime used.

How Long Are Halves in Football?

The halves of a football game sum up the two first or final quarters. For a professional football game featuring two 15-minute quarters, the length of the first and second half will be 30 minutes for each.

In standard time, the 30-minute duration of football matches equals about one and a half hours in real-time.


In the end, the four quarters are played in the game of football. Each quarter lasts 15 minutes, which is a total of 60 minutes of playing time. The game clock ceases to run at certain times, like injuries, timeouts, or incomplete passes, which could prolong the time in the course of play. The standard duration of a football game is four quarters, and the team that scores the most at the conclusion of the fourth quarter is the winner of the game.

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