SBD/December 8, 2010/Sports Media

Jets-Pats "MNF" Earns Fifth Largest Cable Audience Of '10

Patriots' Blowout Of Jets Ranks As Fifth Most-Watched Cable Program This Year

ESPN earned a 10.0 U.S. Nielsen rating and 16.533 million viewers for the Patriots' 45-3 rout of the Jets on "MNF," figures which were still good enough to rank the telecast as the fifth most-viewed cable TV program of the year. Jets-Patriots is also up 20.5% and 22.7%, respectively, from an 8.3 rating and 13.478 million viewers for Ravens-Packers in Week 13 last year. "MNF" won the night among all programs on TV, including wins in all key male and adult demos. The game also led ESPN to a primetime win among all broadcast and cable nets. Through 13 weeks, "MNF" is averaging an 8.9 U.S. rating and 14.365 million viewers, down slightly from a 9.0 rating and 14.478 million viewers through the same point last season (THE DAILY). Meanwhile, in Atlanta, D. Orlando Ledbetter reported WAGA-Fox earned a 31.3 local rating for Sunday's Falcons-Buccaneers game. Ledbetter wrote the "high numbers are likely a signal the Falcons will be getting more national exposure down the stretch and more national games next season." The 10-2 Falcons currently are tied for the best record in the league (, 12/7).

NO LAUGHING MATTER:'s Richard Deitsch noted ESPN "MNF" analyst Jon Gruden offered "pointed criticism" of Cardinals QB Derek Anderson during the net's telecast of the Nov. 29 49ers-Cardinals game after Anderson was shown "laughing with" OT Deuce Lutui as the team was losing. Deitsch wrote ESPN's cameras "should be the eyes for fans at home and MNF had every right to show Anderson," but whether Gruden was "fair with his criticism without knowing the conversation is open to debate." ESPN Senior Coordinating Producer Jay Rothman said, "It is our job to document the game and part of that are the emotions and things that go on, not just on the field. It is not our [intention] to dig dirt...In the case of Derek Anderson, it is unusual to see that type of emotion." Rothman noted Gruden "did preface it by saying we don't know what they are talking about," though he added "as a coach, Jon gave you an opinion from his point of view based on what we showed them from the truck." Gruden said his comment was "based on the entire football game." Gruden: "I wasn't trying to dig dirt or be too negative at all, but that was a reaction on the field that I don't recall seeing given the circumstances of the entire night" (, 12/7).'s Milton Kent wrote "journalistically speaking, the worst and relatively underreported part of the Anderson kerfuffle is that the shot of the quarterback and lineman smiling was aired on tape." Rothman noted that it aired "about 60 seconds after it happened." Kent wrote as a result, Rothman could have sent either of the sideline reporters, Suzy Kolber or Michele Tafoya, "over to the Arizona bench to ask the media relations person on duty to ask Anderson what was so amusing" (, 12/7).

FREEDOM OF THE AIR: In DC, Leonard Shapiro wrote ESPN Radio 980 DC, which is owned by Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder, "seems to pull very few punches in what it allows its broadcasters to say on the air about anyone even remotely associated with the team, particularly Snyder himself." Shapiro: "Snyder, so far in his radio stewardship, has not interfered much with the people he pays to yakkety-yak about the Redskins. Good for him" (, 12/7).

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