SBD/Issue 51/Sports Media

NFL Week 11 Overnights: Colts-Pats, Giants-Eagles Score Big Gains

Each NFL Sunday TV partner saw overnight Nielsen ratings increase year-over-year for Week 11 coverage. CBS led all NFL telecasts windows yesterday with a 16.7 overnight rating for its national window featuring Colts-Patriots, marking the net's second-best NFL rating this season behind Colts-Eagles in Week Nine. The net's early window coverage was flat compared to '09. NBC earned a 15.9 overnight for its Giants-Eagles "SNF" telecast last night, marking the net's fifth best NFL regular-season overnight since re-acquiring NFL rights prior to the '06 season. The game also marked the NFL's best November primetime telecast in 12 years, dating back to Packers-Steelers on ABC in '98. "SNF" was the top-rated show for the night for the 11th straight week, giving NBC a primetime win among all nets. The rating peaked at a 16.9 from 11:30-11:45pm ET in the fourth quarter. In Philadelphia, the telecast earned a 38.1 local rating, while in N.Y., the game earned a 20.1 rating. On Fox, the net's singleheader saw a slight increase from Week 11 last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

'10 GAME
'09 GAME
% +/-
Colts-Patriots (96%)
Jets-Patriots (62%)

BOOTH REVIEWS: In Baltimore, David Zurawik wrote he "listened to the non-stop chatter of the CBS Sports team of Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots for three mind-numbing, tedious hours" during the Ravens' 37-13 win over the Panthers yesterday, and he still does not know whether they think Panthers QB Brian St. Pierre "belongs in the NFL or not." Instead, the "story line that Wilcots and Harlan were locked into from the opening moments of their broadcast was the possibility of the game being a blowout." But Zurawik noted until "two late-in-the-game interceptions, they were dead wrong on that." Zurawik: "It is astonishing how some announcers come into a game with a story line in their head, and they just can't give it up even if the action on the field contradicts it" (, 11/21). Meanwhile, in St. Petersburg, Tom Jones writes Fox NFL analyst Kurt Warner "has the makings of a pretty good television analyst." Warner during yesterday's Buccaneers-49ers game "avoided two common mistakes new analysts tend to make," as he "didn't talk too much, and he didn't talk over viewers' heads with a bunch of technical football-speak." Viewers also could tell Warner "did his homework and had a good grasp on both teams and their personnel." Jones wrote a few times Warner was "rather obvious in his analysis, but overall, he gets a 'thumbs up' for the job he did Sunday" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 11/22).  

POWER RANKINGS: In Albany, Pete Dougherty ranked the networks based on their NFL game coverage this season, with NBC ranking No. 1, ESPN No. 2 and CBS No. 3. With just "one game a week, NBC pours all of its resources into the Sunday-night telecast," and "the same with ESPN on Monday nights." CBS "gets an edge over Fox based on better graphics." Meanwhile, ESPN was ranked as having the best pregame show, as the shows "are for the junkies, and ESPN gives those fans the most." NBC announcer Al Michaels ranked as the top play-by-play announcer, as he has "mastered reading the viewers' minds, covering contingencies before we've had a chance to wonder about them." ESPN's Mike Tirico and CBS' Jim Nantz "are close." Dougherty also ranked CBS analyst Phil Simms as the best game analyst, as Simms is "similar to Michaels in his ability to tell us what's not immediately obvious" (Albany TIMES-UNION, 11/19).

Vick A Major Focus Of
NFL Pregame Shows

GOING WILD OVER VICK: The ST. PETERSBURG TIMES' Jones writes it feels as if "more folks are willing to forgive" Eagles QB Michael Vick, "who actually broke the law, than Tiger Woods." CBS studio analyst Shannon Sharpe and Fox studio analyst Michael Strahan "both spent significant time during Sunday's NFL pregame shows praising Vick for turning his life around, and praising the NFL and Eagles for giving him a second chance." Strahan "even encouraged everyone to forgive Vick." Meanwhile, Jones writes NBC's Bob Costas "nailed" his interview with Vick on the net's "Football Night in America." Costas "asked Vick what his darkest moment was in prison," which was "particularly interesting" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 11/22). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes under the header, "Winning Casts A New Light On Vick" (USA TODAY, 11/22). In Philadelphia, John Gonzalez writes of the nets' coverage of Vick, "They squeal about Vick like teenagers reading about him in Us Weekly. ... 'The Michael Vick Story: How He Caused a National Media Meltdown.' The real-time, real-life version has been fun to watch. Slobbering, lobotomized talking heads are always entertaining" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/22).

STILL APPOINTMENT VIEWING? The PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER's Gonzalez wonders if Sunday night and Monday night games are "still special, or have they lost some of their significance because of the NFL's expanded exposure." Gonzalez writes the games "don't have quite as much cachet as they once did," and they also "mess with my appointment TV schedule." The Inquirer's Frank Fitzpatrick writes he would "rather watch a 1 p.m. Sunday game than a prime-timer." Fitzpatrick: "I can't stay up that late." Meanwhile, the Inquirer's Ashley Fox writes she thinks the "SNF" and "MNF" games are "still special," as the Eagles were "especially jacked up" for last Monday's 59-28 win over the Redskins. Fox: "But there is a little oversaturation going on, that's for sure" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/22). Meanwhile, in N.Y., Phil Mushnick wrote the NFL "might consider gifting the NFL Network its live games in the first half of the season, before first and second-string quarterbacks are out, injured" (N.Y. POST, 11/21).

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