SBD/January 13, 2014/Media

NFL Divisional Playoff Overnights: Gains For Three Of Four Windows, Broncos-Chargers On Top

The NFL saw positive results for overnights from the NFL Divisional Playoff games over the weekend. CBS’ Broncos-Chargers led the weekend with a 25.1 overnight in the late afternoon window on Sunday, up nearly 6% from Patriots-Texans in the same time slot last year. The game also marked the second-best overnight for a Sunday AFC Divisional Playoff game in 18 years. Broncos-Chargers peaked at a 27.5 during the last half-hour of the game from 7:30-8:00pm ET. Despite leading Divisional weekend, the Broncos-Chargers overnight is below the 27.7 rating earned by Fox’ 49ers-Packers in the same window during Wild Card weekend. Meanwhile, Fox earned a 21.8 overnight for 49ers-Panthers in the early window yesterday, up 2% from Falcons-Seahawks in ’13. The game earned a 35.8 local rating in the S.F.-Oakland-San Jose market and a 42.1 rating in Charlotte. Fox also earned a 19.5 overnight for Saturday afternoon's Seahawks-Saints game, down 10% from the double-OT Ravens-Broncos game on CBS in the same window in ’13, but up 4% from the net's 49ers-Packers game in primetime. It is the net's second-best overnight for a Saturday Divisional Playoff game since the '97 Packers-49ers matchup (20.2 overnight). Seahawks-Saints drew a 48.4 local rating in Seattle-Tacoma and a 51.1 rating in New Orleans. CBS earned a 19.4 overnight for the Patriots-Colts game on Saturday night, up 4% from the Divisional primetime window last year, but down 10% from Ravens-Broncos in ’13 (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF WEEKEND OVERNIGHT RATINGS
NET
TIME (ET)
'14 GAME
RAT.
'13 NET
'13 GAME
RAT.
% +/-
Fox
4:00pm
Seahawks-Saints
19.5
CBS
Ravens-Broncos
21.6
-9.7%
CBS
8:30pm
Patriots-Colts
19.4
Fox
49ers-Packers
18.7
3.7%
Fox
1:00pm
49ers-Panthers
21.8
Fox
Falcons-Seahawks
21.3
2.3%
CBS
4:45pm
Broncos-Chargers
25.1
CBS
Patriots-Texans
23.8
5.5%

THE CREAM RISES: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes a "huge gap exists" between the team of Joe Buck-Troy Aikman and "the rest of Fox’s NFL broadcaster roster." That was "evident considering the performance of Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch" during Seahawks-Saints. They were "far, very far, from awful but had an annoying habit of beating points to death, as if all of us watching were idiots" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/13). In Denver, Dusty Saunders writes it would be "stretching the point" to say Lynch was "as awesome in the booth" as Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch was on the field. However, the broadcaster "provided steady, concise analysis" (DENVER POST, 1/13).

DIERDORF'S SWAN SONG: CBS during Patriots-Colts on Saturday aired a shot of Gillette Stadium posting an image of the scoreboard in which congratulations were given to network analyst Dan Dierdorf, who is retiring after a 43-year NFL career as a player and broadcaster. CBS' Greg Gumbel said, "You have no idea how many men and women from CBS Sports have contacted me over the last couple of weeks and asked me to pass on to you how proud and happy they've been to be associated with you." Gumbel added, "I know I speak for all the men and women of CBS Sports as well as every single member of our crew when I say that it has been such an honor and such a privilege to have been alongside you these last eight years." Dierdorf: "Thanks to all the great men and women that I've worked with here at CBS -- Sean McManus, our boss that's up here in the booth, I had those years with Dick Enberg, with Verne Lundquist. It's hard to believe it's over but it is and I'm the better for it" ("Patriots-Colts," CBS, 1/11). CBS' "The NFL Today" aired a video tribute to Dierdorf featuring his broadcasting partners throughout the years and former teammates thanking him for over 40 years of contributions to the NFL. Dierdorf said of his broadcasting career, "Making the friendships and having them last all these years, that's the best part of the job. That's what I am going to miss the most" ("The NFL Today," CBS, 1/11). SI.com's Richard Deitsch wrote, "Nice work by CBS Sports producer Charlie Bloom to track down Joe Buck, Al Michaels, Bob Costas, Dick Enberg, former NFL teammates (Conrad Dobler, Jim Hart) and CBS talent such as Verne Lundquist and Lesley Visser for an 'NFL Today' tribute piece to Dierdorf" (SI.com, 1/12).

SHUFFLING THE LINEUP: SI.com's Deitsch wrote Dierdorf's retirement gives CBS an "opportunity for forward-thinking change that will also reward NFL viewers: It's time to move Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts up to the network's No. 2 team." Deitsch: "I can make a compelling argument that Eagle and Fouts on talent and chemistry alone could be the No. 1 team at CBS, but the network is heavily invested in Jim Nantz as its lead announcer across multiple sports and the same with Phil Simms as its primary NFL voice." However, that "would not be based in reality." As a No. 2 team, Eagle and Fouts "would be a significant upgrade for CBS." They call "an excellent game, use humor in their broadcast as well as any NFL broadcast team, and thankfully dial down on overhyping players and coaches." Moving them up to No. 2 also would "strengthen CBS's No. 3 team, which would feature Gumbel and a new partner finding chemistry" (SI.com, 1/12).

NOT YOUR AVERAGE JOE: In Charlotte, Cleve Wootson Jr. noted Fox ran a segment on its pregame show prior to 49ers-Panthers that had “some fans crying foul,” as it featured “typical Southern stereotypes, like a mullet and thick accents.” Jerseys for Panthers QB Cam Newton and WR Steve Smith were “hung on the wall.” One of the characters in the segment was wearing a “seersucker suit and sports a mullet,” while both people shown were “drinking a dark liquid out of jelly jars” (CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.com, 1/12).
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