SBD/January 17, 2014/Media

AFC, NFC Championship Games Set For Big Ratings With Patriots-Broncos Leading Way

Patriots-Broncos is the matinee because start times are set before teams are known
The ratings for CBS' broadcast of the Patriots-Broncos AFC Championship Game at 3:00pm ET on Sunday are "all but assured of dwarfing those from the regular-season matchup, even without the prime-time window," according to Chad Finn of the BOSTON GLOBE. No one with a "genuine interest in football will be checking out early this time around." The game features two "legend-in-their-own-time quarterbacks" in the Broncos' Peyton Manning and the Patriots' Tom Brady, and a game with "such high stakes, is one to be savored." While a Manning-Brady matchup "would seem to make more sense as Sunday’s prime-time game" than the 49ers-Seahawks NFC Championship Game, it is "the matinee because the start times of the conference finals are set before the participants are determined." But it is "not as if Fox has an unappealing matchup in the NFC Championship." The first of two games between the 49ers and Seahawks aired on NBC on Sept. 15 and "drew 20.5 million viewers, making it the 29th most-watched program this fall." The second game between the teams, a Fox telecast Dec. 8, was "the eighth most-watched program with 27.6 million viewers." It will be "interesting to see what all four teams do Sunday." It is "hard to imagine a more compelling NFL final four," and when it is "all over, the ratings once again will confirm the massive interest" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/17).

EAST COAST BIAS? NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appeared on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Friday morning, and CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin said there is a "view in the ratings advertising world that you can't let the Patriots lose because you need an East Coast team in the Super Bowl." Goodell laughed out loud and replied, "No, I think we have four great teams, teams that all deserve to be there. They all have national followings and I think that's the great thing about the NFL. It's a national sport." Sorkin asked, "You don't sit around and think that there's certain combinations that will do better on TV than others?" Goodell: "There might be, but the reality of it is our sport is national and we like to see the best teams win. The games that are most competitive actually draw the most viewers. So the best teams playing each other will likely draw the best ratings." Goodell added, "I'll let you in on a secret. I always root for the team that's behind because we really love the close games" ("Squawk Box," CNBC, 1/17).

TAKING A REST: In St. Louis, Dan Caesar reports former CBS analyst Dan Dierdorf is "gearing up for a reconstructive back operation that is set for Feb. 5 -- three days after the Super Bowl." Dierdorf yesterday said, "It’s a major surgery, six or seven hours." Caesar notes Dierdorf's back problems have been "so troublesome that he said they are a major reason he retired from his role as CBS’ No. 2 NFL game analyst after 15 seasons." Dierdorf said that it will be "several months before he will be able to resume activities such as playing golf," but the surgery "won’t deter him from pursuing a spot on radio." He emphasized that he has "retired from network television, not broadcasting in general." CBS is "interested in adding" Dierdorf to its national sports radio network. Dierdorf, who has lived in the St. Louis area since his playing days, said that he has "had a couple feelers from local stations." He said, "I don’t see myself doing a daily show now. But if the right situation develops I could be interested in something" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/17). Meanwhile, in San Diego, John Maffei wrote under the header, "Dierdorf Goes Out With Class." Dierdorf "wasn't only good at both" playing and broadcasting, he is a HOFer in those roles. Dierdorf had "a relaxed, humorous style" on TV, and "maybe because he was an offensive lineman, he had a little different twist on the game." He "bowed out gracefully on his final game" (UTSANDIEGO.com, 1/14).
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