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God Bless 3:30 p.m. Kickoffs

Imagine this: It’s 7 a.m. on a Saturday and your alarm goes off. Of course it’s game day. Why else is your alarm going off this early? Your ache and pain from Friday night and the thought of getting out of bed at this very moment makes you groan.

Then you remember something glorious — something so incredible that you could cry tears of joy into the water cup and Advil bottle sitting next to your bed. The game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. Back to sleep for another few hours.


There is no better kickoff time than 3:30 p.m. It doesn’t require you to awaken at the ungodly hour that noon games do, nor does it force you to spend hour-upon-hour waiting in a field until you can finally head to the stadium like a night game does. It’s the happy medium.

But why exactly is a 3:30 p.m. kickoff just so damn perfect? 

The Perfect Amount of Tailgate Time

Let’s say that you show up to the tailgate lots at the very latest, 11 a.m. That still leaves you at least three hours to soak up all the sun, consume all of the tailgate favorites, and hang out with all the folks you need to. 

You didn’t have to wake up at 7 a.m. and grab a Red Bull just to sustain yourself and still have enough time at the tailgate lots. Even with a 30-minute walk and shower, you really don’t need to wake up earlier than 9-10 a.m. if you don’t want to.

On the flip side of this all, night games are like a marathon. If you show up at 11 a.m. like you would for a 3:30 p.m. game, your energy is zapped come kickoff after about eight hours of tailgating.

There’s a time and a place for a night game, like the White Out. You can prepare for that and enjoy it, but it shouldn’t be an every week deal.

Just the Right Amount of Sun

Alright, there are ways to prepare for this like an adult (such as actually wearing sunscreen or dressing warm enough to not get hypothermia), but we’re still going to blame the kickoff time.

If you get stuck on the wrong side of the stadium during a sunny September day for a noon kickoff, there’s a 100 percent chance you’re going to burn. But if you delay the kickoff until 3:30 p.m. (and don’t burn at the tailgate) the sun’s UV rays escape peak hours after 4 p.m., which decreases your chances of burning or at least the severity of the burn.

Now let’s head to October/November weather. Once the sun goes down, it’s frigid in that stadium. You can wear all the layers you want, but it’s still going to be unpleasant. A 3:30 p.m. kickoff ensures you won’t be out in that weather for too long. Most of the game also takes place with the sun out before we hit the coldest parts of the day.

Your Night Isn’t Shot

Win or lose, there’s still time to go have fun after the game ends.

In some cases, that means celebrating into the night, reminiscing on a nice blowout or second half comeback with all the folks that came into town to enjoy it.

And in others, it’s just trying to distract yourself from the fact that Penn State blew another fourth quarter lead. Obviously we’ve had a little bit too much experience with this one. 

Either way, at least you’re not dead tired, ready for bed, and awaiting the Sunday Scaries coming your way the next morning.

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About the Author

Steve Connelly

Unfortunately, former editor Steve Connelly has graduated. Where is he now? He might be doing something related to that PR degree he got in 2019. Maybe he finally opened that sports bar named after one of his photos, the Blurry Zamboni. Or he might just be eating chicken tenders and couch surfing. Anything’s possible. If you really want to know, follow him on Twitter @slc2o.

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