SBD/December 31, 2012/Media

NFL Week 17 Overnights: League Has Best Final Sunday Since Current Rights Deal Began

The NFL's five Week 17 game windows yesterday averaged a 12.9 overnight Nielsen rating, marking the best final Sunday since "SNF" went from cable to broadcast TV in '06. The combined rating on Sunday for CBS, Fox and NBC was up 5% compared to the final Sunday last season. NBC led the way with the Cowboys-Redskins “SNF” matchup, which the league had flexed into Sunday night. The game earned an 18.3 overnight Nielsen rating, marking the net’s best primetime regular-season rating on record and the best primetime overnight for any NFL regular season game in 15 years. Cowboys-Redskins, which determined the winner of the NFC East, is also up 7% from the net’s Cowboys-Giants in Week 17 last year, which also determined the division winner. The game led NBC to a primetime win among all nets. In DC, the game earned a 44.6 local rating, marking a record for an NFL regular-season primetime game in the market (dating back to ’87). The game also earned a 42.8 local rating in Richmond and a 37.1 rating in Norfolk. In Dallas-Ft. Worth, the game earned a 36.9 local rating. Meanwhile, both CBS and Fox had national windows in Week 17. CBS had its national window at 1:00pm ET, which featured Texans-Colts. That window earned an 11.1 overnight, down 31% from the net’s 4:30pm national window last year, which featured Chiefs-Broncos. CBS’ regional coverage earned an 8.1 overnight, down 24%. Fox earned a 16.4 overnight for its Week 17 national window in the 4:30pm window, up 38% from last year, when Buccaneers-Falcons was featured. The net’s regional coverage earned a 10.8 overnight, up 80% (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

NFL WEEK 17 SUNDAY OVERNIGHT NIELSEN RATINGS
NET
'12 GAME
RAT.
'11 GAME
RAT.
% +/-
Fox
(regional)
10.8
(regional)
6.0
80.0%
CBS
(regional)
8.1
(regional)
10.6
-23.6%
Fox
Packers-Vikings (82%)
16.4
Buccaneers-Falcons (89%)
11.9
37.8%
CBS
Texans-Colts (64%)
11.1
Chiefs-Broncos (68%)
16.1
-31.1%
NBC
Cowboys-Redskins
18.3
Cowboys-Giants
17.1
7.0%

END GAME: SI.com’s Richard Deitsch writes the Packers-Vikings game had “fantastic end-of-the-game television production by Fox Sports NFL producer Richie Zyontz and director Rich Russo.” After Vikings K Blair Walsh's game-winning field goal, the Fox cameras followed Vikings RB Adrian Peterson “on the field and showed him shaking hands with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers among others.” The crew then showed “a couple of different angles of the game-winning field goal, including a great shot of Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway celebrating from the sidelines.” They then “threw the coverage to reporter Pam Oliver, who smartly asked the same question twice to get a memorable television moment, informing Peterson he had fallen short of [Eric] Dickerson's NFL single-season rushing record by just nine yards.” In addition, Deitsch writes, “Classy move by CBS to use the Patriots radio feed for a portion of its Patriots-Dolphins coverage to highlight retiring Patriots radio announcer Gil Santos” (SI.com, 12/31).

CRITICAL CRIS: In Dallas, Barry Horn notes that following Cowboys QB Tony Romo’s third interception on Sunday night, NBC’s Cris Collinsworth “pulled out the sledgehammer." Collinsworth said, “It started horribly and it looks like it may end horribly.” Horn writes Collinsworth “always sounds more critical of Romo than his fellow lead analysts, Fox’s Troy Aikman and CBS’ Phil Simms," both former QBs. But Romo receives “not so much” empathy from Collinsworth, who was a WR (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 12/31).

ZOOMING OUT: In DC, Dan Steinberg wrote of NBC's camera angles during the net's Cowboys-Redskins telecast, "Why so many high high high shots, NBC? Why change what we’re used to during the final game of the regular season, when we just don’t want to be distracted by anything new and different?" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 12/30). The DALLAS MORNING NEWS' Horn writes NBC offered “too many shots from a high angle camera that must have been planted atop the Washington Monument” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 12/31). SI.com's Jimmy Traina wrote on his Twitter feed, "Can NBC please stop with the camera that's 8 million feet in the sky." DC-based WTTG sports reporter Dave Ross: "Not trying to dump on my #nbc brethren, but i despise your camera angles. if i wanted bad nose bleed seats, id buy those on my own."

WEIGHING IN: In Baltimore, David Zurawik wrote it is “hard to get too worked up about the deficiencies of a telecast when the game being covered feels like a preseason contest.” That was the case Sunday “as the Ravens’ junior varsity lost to the second-string Cincinnati Bengals 23-17 -- with the fourth-string CBS crew calling the game.” CBS play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan and analyst Solomon Wilcots are “among the worst with that kind of gasbag talk.” They are “constantly telling viewers what players are thinking as if they have special inside knowledge when all they have is hot air and broadcast-booth bluster.” Zurawik wrote CBS’ pregame show on Sunday “included a powerful interview" by Greg Gumbel with Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, "who returned to the sidelines Sunday after undergoing chemotherapy.” ESPN’s pregame show also “had a powerful interview by Rachel Nichols with Pagano focusing on the light in his office that was never turned off until he returned to the team.” Zurawik: “I have criticized both pre-game shows in the past, but they came up big Sunday in their skilled and sensitive packaging of this interview” (BALTIMORESUN.com, 12/30).
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