SBD/February 6, 2012/Media

NBC's Super Bowl Overnight Down Slightly From '11, But Still Historically High

Super Bowl telecast peaked at 51.8 rating during final half hour
NBC earned a 47.8 overnight Nielsen rating for the Giants’ 21-17 victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, down slightly from a 47.9 rating for last year’s Packers-Steelers matchup on Fox. Giants-Patriots still ranks as the third-best overnight for any Super Bowl, behind only Packers-Steelers and the '87 Giants-Broncos matchup on CBS. The overnight is up 7% from a 44.7 for the Giants-Patriots Super Bowl XLII on Fox in ‘08. Last night's game started at a 43.3 rating in the 6:30-7:00pm ET window, peaking at a 51.8 rating as the game concluded from 9:30-10:00pm. NBC’s pregame coverage averaged a 12.0 from 2:00-6:30pm, down 2% from last year on Fox. Madonna’s halftime performance earned a 48.1 overnight, up from a 47.4 for the Black Eyed Peas last year. Postgame coverage from 10:00-10:15pm earned a 35.3 overnight (+17%), while “The Voice” from 10:15-11:15pm earned a 20.1 rating, up 31% from Fox’ episode of “Glee” following the game last year. In Boston, the game earned a 56.7 local rating to lead all U.S. markets for the telecast and marking the best figure ever for an NFL game in the market, topping a 56.1 rating for the Patriots-Rams Super Bowl XXXVI telecast. N.Y. earned a 49.7 local rating, ranking the market 18th overall, but still the second-best NFL overnight ever in the market, behind only a 53.4 rating for the Giants-Broncos Super Bowl XXI, which was the franchise’s first-ever Super Bowl. Host market Indianapolis earned a 56.4 local rating, which is the second-best rating among U.S. markets. Final ratings and viewership figures for Super Bowl XLVI will be available later today (THE DAILY).

TOP FIVE SUPER BOWL OVERNIGHT RATINGS
SUPER BOWL
YEAR
MATCHUP
NET
RATING
XLV
'11
Packers-Steelers
Fox
47.9
XXI
'87
Giants-Broncos
CBS
47.9
XLVI
'12
Giants-Patriots
NBC
47.8
XIV
'80
Steelers-Rams
CBS
47.4
XX
'86
Bears-Patriots
NBC
46.9
       

WATCH AND LEARN: In Miami, Barry Jackson writes NBC's broadcast "was a blueprint for how a Super Bowl broadcast should be done." With "exceptional announcing, timely but restrained use of graphics and nifty angles on replays, NBC delivered exemplary coverage of Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday." Analyst Cris Collinsworth "wasted few words and offered analysis rich in insight and details." He had a "strong case in suggesting the Giants not score a touchdown, and instead opt for a short field goal, late in the game if it meant leaving too much time on the clock for the Patriots." Play-by-play announcer Al Michaels was "typically diligent about disseminating pertinent details quickly after plays and added flavor to the broadcast with anecdotes and tidbits." NBC limited graphics "largely to meaningful numbers and records." The net also made "prudent use of isolations on replays, one of which showed how Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was slowed early by an ankle injury." Sideline reporter Michele Tafoya had "fast updates on injuries to two Giants tight ends" (MIAMI HERALD, 2/6). SI.com's Richard Deitsch notes viewers got multiple looks at Giants QB Eli Manning's 38-yard pass to WR Mario Manningham in the fourth quarter, "including a bird's eye image, a view from behind Manning, and a zoom on Manningham's feet." It was "terrific stuff, and those at home knew before the crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium that the catch would be ruled good." NBC also showed a "reaction of both coaches after the call stood," as well as a shot of former NFLer David Tyree, whose miraculous catch in Super Bowl XLII helped the Giants beat the Patriots, on the Giants sideline. Deitsch: "It was fantastic work." Still, there were some "missteps during the game." Michaels "mistook Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman for running back Danny Woodhead" during a kick return and NBC pulled off Giants WR Victor Cruz "way too early when he was in the middle of his trademark salsa touchdown dance." However, those are "small nitpicks and NBC's game telecast deserves viewer praise" (SI.com, 2/6).

SOLID CAMERA WORK: In California, John Maffei writes the "third quarter was when the network shined." There were "great shots and commentary" when Patriots QB Tom Brady went to the sideline following a sack "and was seen flexing his shoulder." There was a "great sideline shot of Giants tight end Jake Ballard collapsing on the sideline as he tried to test an injured leg." There were "multiple replays and isolated shots of Mario Manningham as he made a sideline grab" on the Giants' winning drive (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 2/6). In N.Y., Bob Raissman notes during a Super Bowl broadcast, there are "some camera shots you expect and some that surprise you." NBC did "just that when it caught Jake Ballard, who had hurt his ankle, trying to run and cut on the sidelines and falling down in a heap." He was "in obvious pain," and the shot "was poignant" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/6). In Baltimore, David Zurawik writes, "As has been the case all season, Michaels, Collinsworth and the producers and director of the game telecast were superb." It seemed as if "everyone on the NBC Sports team was on his or her game." Zurawik: "What superb camera work late in the fourth quarter on Mario Manningham’s marvelous sideline catch. NBC had it from every angle to show the Giants receiver getting both feet down with total control of the ball" (Baltimore SUN, 2/6). In L.A., Tom Hoffarth praises the "fourth-quarter performance by Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, keeping us up to speed on clock management, the time-out situation and why it was counter-intuitive for the Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw to score a go-ahead touchdown with less than a minute left." Michaels and Collinsworth were "mapping out the rest of the journey" and all "we had to do was enjoy the ride." Neither Michaels nor Collinsworth nor the "rest of the NBC production and talent involved in the broadcast will have to second-guess any perceived mistakes in post-game meetings" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 2/6).
 
DYNAMIC DUO: The AP's Jake Coyle writes Collinsworth "offered proof that he's the best color man in the business." He was "most at home in the biggest moments, when commentators are most needed" (AP, 2/6). In Oklahoma City, Berry Tramel writes Collinsworth was the "star of the night." Trammel: "His best insight? The criticism of Mario Manningham's route-running on the deep fade. Very insightful. Then later, when Manningham made the catch of the year, Collinsworth's instruction was proved solid" (THE OKLAHOMAN, 2/6). In New Jersey, John Rowe writes under the header, "Al Michaels Was In Top Form" (Bergen RECORD, 2/6). In Denver, Dusty Saunders writes Michaels and Collinsworth were "in sync from the start, capturing the ebb and flow of the lead-changing contest" (DENVER POST, 2/6). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes Michaels was "predictably smooth on play-by-play," and Collinsworth "seemed to loosen up by the second half and became more authoritative" (USA TODAY, 2/6). In Toronto, Ken Fidlin writes the "beauty of true professionals Michaels and Collinsworth is that they don't do anything but provide clarity" (TORONTO SUN, 2/6). In Tampa Bay, Tom Jones writes Michaels and Collinsworth "did the best they could with a game that was dull for a good chunk of the night despite the close score." Give the two "credit for not overhyping the action." They "educate the casual football fan while never insulting the diehard" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 2/6).

CAN'T PLEASE EVERYBODY
: In San Diego, Jay Posner writes NBC "didn't have a bad Super Bowl," but it "could have -- and should have -- been better." Michaels and Collinsworth "failed to discuss what seemed to be an obvious question: Should the New England Patriots allow the New York Giants to score the go-ahead touchdown with about a minute remaining in the fourth quarter?" The announcers "did discuss the situation with about 1:40 to go, but only from the Giants’ perspective." No one "raised the possibility of New England doing what Green Bay did in Super Bowl XXXII at Qualcomm Stadium and intentionally letting its opponent score." It also was "inexcusable for director Drew Esocoff to cut away from Victor Cruz before the Giants receiver did his touchdown salsa dance" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 2/6). In Houston, David Barron writes Michaels "got off to a rough start when he was slow to grasp that the Patriots would be assessed a safety for a grounding penalty against Brady in the end zone" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/6). In Albany, Pete Dougherty writes Michaels and Collinsworth have "set the bar so high that it is surprising when they fail the audience in any respect." That "happened several times Sunday night." Michaels was "off his game early" (Albany TIMES UNION, 2/6). In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes it "wasn't a bad telecast, just a funky one, loaded with quick cutaways from the field for no apparent reason." For the two weeks before the Super Bowl, the "biggest unknown story was the condition of the Patriots’ record-setting tight end Rob Gronkowski, hurting with a high ankle sprain." NBC before kickoff "even provided a report on Gronkowski’s condition, showing a close-up of Gronkowski’s left ankle, tape covering the outside of his shoe." When the "game began, Gronkowski in the lineup, NBC completely ignored him" (N.Y. POST, 2/6).
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