SBD/Issue 64/Sports Media

CBS' Pats-Bears Earns Best '10 NFL Overnight; "SNF" Ties Record

CBS earned an 18.5 overnight Nielsen rating for yesterday's NFL national window featuring Patriots-Bears, marking the season's best overnight and best NFL regular-season overnight since Fox' national window in Week 13 last year, which featured Cowboys-Giants. Patriots-Bears is also CBS' best regular-season overnight since November '07, when the then-undefeated Patriots and Colts earned a 22.5 overnight in the national window. CBS' Week 14 national window is also up 10.8% from last year, when Chargers-Cowboys was the featured game. NBC last night earned a 16.5 overnight Nielsen rating for the Eagles-Cowboys 'SNF" telecast, tying the record for best "SNF" overnight with Giants-Cowboys from Week Two last year, which marked the first regular-season game at Cowboys Stadium. Last night's telecast also ties the mark for best NFL regular-season primetime overnight since Broncos-Dolphins on ABC in '98 earned a 17.4 overnight. Eagles-Cowboys is up 19.6% from a 13.8 overnight for Eagles-Giants in Week 14 last year. The telecast peaked at a 17.3 rating from 9:30-10:00pm ET just before halftime. "SNF" was the top-rated show for the night for the 14th straight week, giving NBC another Sunday night win in primetime. Philadelphia and Dallas-Ft. Worth topped all markets, earning a 38.4 local rating and 38.0 rating, respectively. Meanwhile, Fox earned an 11.3 overnight for its singleheader, which was supposed to feature Giants-Vikings in 49% of markets. Instead, the singleheader saw Packers-Lions go to 55% of markets. The singleheader's overnight was down slightly from Week 13 last year. Fox also scored a season high for its "Fox NFL Sunday" pregame show, which featured exclusive video of the Metrodome roof collapsing (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

NFL WEEK 14 OVERNIGHT NIELSEN RATINGS
NET
'10 GAME
RAT.
'09 GAME
RAT.
% +/-
Fox
(single)
11.3
(single)
11.4
-0.9%
CBS
(regional)
11.3
(regional)
12.6
-10.3%
CBS
Patriots-Bears (56%)
18.5
Chargers-Cowboys (97%)
16.7
10.8%
NBC
Eagles-Cowboys
16.5
Eagles-Giants
13.8
19.6%
           

LEADING THE CHARGE: In N.Y., Alan Schwarz wrote under the header, "In NBC Booth, A Candid Collinsworth." NBC "SNF" analyst Cris Collinsworth "has become football's most prominent critic of illegal tackling," as he "communicates parental impatience regarding the NFL's self-proclaimed culture change." Collinsworth: "I'd be less than honest if I said I didn't have my doubts as to whether my children should be playing football." Collinsworth, "pointed but not shrill, rails against those [hits] that are illegal while explaining how many are not, and cannot be." NBC "SNF" Producer Fred Gaudelli said that Collinsworth's outlook has "influenced NBC's use of in-game video." Ravens LB Jameel McClain gave Steelers TE Heath Miller a concussion with a hit to the head during the Dec. 5 "SNF" game, and Gaudelli said, "We showed the Miller hit, but we weren't celebrating, 'Wow, what a great hit by Jameel McClain!' We are all sensitized to what is going on now. Five years ago, we'd be saying: 'What a hit! Wow! Let's play this from five angles!' Five years ago you would have had a much different way to characterize it and cover it" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/12). Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, John Gonzalez writes, "Can't figure out why some people don't like Cris Collinsworth. The NBC color analyst is entertaining in a Deion Sanders/when-he-talks-absurd-stuff-comes-out sort of way" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 12/13).

MISSING THE MARK: In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones writes he has "never been a big fan" of Fox analysts Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa, who worked yesterday's Buccaneers-Redskins game. Jones: "Occasionally, they offer insight, but it's almost as if they stumble upon it by accident because both talk so much. When they are talking, it's usually scratch-the-surface, obvious stuff" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 12/13). YAHOO SPORTS' Chris Chase noted late in the game, "with the Redskins down seven points and driving for the equalizing score, the team gained a first down at the three-yard line." But Fox' announcers, "unaware that the play resulted in a first, believed the next play was second-and-1 instead of first-and-goal." As the plays continued, Fox "showed the wrong down and the booth of Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa announced the action as such." The Redskins scored a touchdown on fourth down, but "thanks to confusion" in the booth, viewers thought it "occurred on an extra 'fifth' down." It "wasn't until the Redskins botched the subsequent extra point that the booth figured out the problem was on their end, not on the field." Chase: "It was an honest mistake, but an inexcusable one" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 12/12).

Lynch Questions Commitment
Of Panthers Owner Richardson

HARSH CRITICISM: In Charlotte, Scott Fowler writes announcers often are "vanilla when they talk about the Panthers," but Fox analyst John Lynch was "anything but on Sunday when he talked about Carolina owner Jerry Richardson and the letter he sent to PSL holders last week." Lynch during Fox' coverage of Falcons-Panthers "noted the 'huge disparity' in talent between the Falcons and Panthers and said 'you just don't see the commitment right now' from Richardson and the Panthers to build a winning franchise." Lynch said during the broadcast, "With the Panthers, quite frankly, I see a team that has been preparing for the lockout the last couple of years" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/13).

HIT THE MUTE BUTTON: In Tacoma, John McGrath notes the "distracting noise" viewers heard during "replays of the Seahawks' game at San Francisco -- it could be called background music, except the music had no melody -- apparently was a Fox experiment to provide a football telecast with the equivalent of a movie score." At one point, the voices of announcer Thom Brennaman and analyst Brian Billick "were nearly obscured by a percussion sequence that brought to mind the sound of a child allowed to pound away on his uncle's basement drum set." McGrath: "My suspicion is the idea of the background noise/music was planted at a production meeting that included some amount of drug use" (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 12/13). In Sacramento, Scott Lebar writes, "It's one of those ideas that must have seemed logical (it's not) and easy to pick on (let's)" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 12/13).

HIGHS & LOWS IN THE BOOTH: In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote ESPN "MNF" analyst Ron Jaworski has a "high percentage mouth." During last week's Patriots-Jets game, he "flapped his jaw only when he had something insightful to say." Raissman: "Maybe his years of experience have taught Jaworski that if there's nothing to say, don't bother with the banal -- the ordinary. Jaworski's method works. Easy on the ears too" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/12). Also in N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes Fox' "Fox NFL Sunday" pregame show yesterday featured a "strong feature" with rules analyst Mike Pereira "explaining the cans and can'ts of pick plays" (N.Y. POST, 12/13). Meanwhile, Mushnick yesterday wrote from the start of Thursday's Colts-Titans game on NFL Network, "even the most self-evident plays -- a short out, anything -- were slathered" by analyst Joe Theismann's "needless talk and takes." Mushnick: "He'd still have us ignore what we see to instead believe what he tells us we saw" (N.Y. POST, 12/12).

QUIET, PLEASE: SI.com's Peter King writes ESPN reporter Greg Garber's look at the 30-year anniversary of NBC's announcer-less game was a "superb feature." King: "I loved Garber's touch of doing the story announcer-less -- that is, he didn't speak in the piece. His subjects did, but no narration from Garber. Good idea. Very good execution" (SI.com, 12/13).

NOTHING BUT THE BEST: In Denver, Dusty Saunders writes under the header, "Get In The Zone With RedZone TV." NFL Network's RedZone channel "provides the best electronic magic since instant replay" (DENVER POST, 12/13).

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