SBD/Issue 48/Sports Media

ESPN's Ravens-Browns Lowest "MNF" Rating For '09 Season

ESPN Earns 7.4 Metered-Market Rating For
Ravens-Browns, Lowest This Season
ESPN earned a 7.4 metered-market rating for its Ravens-Browns telecast Monday, marking the lowest "MNF" rating this season to date. The game is down 12.9% from an 8.5 rating for 49ers-Cardinals in Week 10 last year. In Baltimore, the game earned 14.4 rating on ESPN and a 15.6 on WJZ-CBS, while in Cleveland, the game earned a 12.3 rating on ESPN and a 17.5 rating on WJW-Fox (THE DAILY).

LOOKING LONG-TERM: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes in persuading "MNF" analyst Jon Gruden "not to coach anytime soon," ESPN "no doubt raised his salary" as part of his multi-year extension. And it is possible that any team trying to hire Gruden "would have to pay the network to pry him loose." Gruden is "not a great analyst yet," but he is "highly knowledgeable and exuberant." And like "most former coaches, he analyzes plays well." ESPN Exec VP/Production Norby Williamson said that he "cautioned Gruden against using jargon and overusing superlatives." But Williamson added, "We've focused on not overcoaching him." Sandomir offers Gruden some feedback, writing he he "can be critical without being mean." It also is important to "detail your case." Gruden during Monday's Ravens-Browns game said Browns coach Eric Mangini is a "heck of a coach." Sandomir: "If Mangini ... is better than his 1-8 record this season shows, tell us why." Williamson said that Gruden's "reticence to criticize Mangini directly might emanate from knowing the pressures of coaching a bad or rebuilding team." However, Sandomir notes Gruden "must learn to call a game as if he will never coach one again" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/18).

STILL ON THE MARKET? NFL.com's Vic Carucci wrote he does not "buy the speculation" that Gruden's new ESPN deal means he is "off the coaching market for 2010 and beyond." Carucci: "When the end of the season arrives and teams begin calling with an opportunity for him to coach and be the primary person in charge of a football operation, you can be certain Gruden will listen." Industry sources indicated that it is "unlikely his salary comes anywhere close to the $5[M] or so per year he could easily be offered by a struggling team looking for new direction" (NFL.com, 11/17).

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