SBD/January 20, 2014/Media

NFL Championship Sunday Overnights: Both Windows See Gains Compared To '13

Fox and CBS saw double-digit percentage gains for their respective windows during NFL Championship Game Sunday. Fox led yesterday’s games with a 31.0 overnight for Seahawks-49ers in primetime, up from a 27.9 rating for CBS’ Ravens-Patriots in primetime last year. Fox also saw a bump compared to its 49ers-Falcons matchup in the afternoon window last year (26.1). Seattle-Tacoma led all markets with a 54.3 local rating for the NFC game, followed by S.F.-Oakland-San Jose (47.5), Sacramento (46.7), Portland (39.5) and Milwaukee (38.9). Fox picked up a win in primetime among all nets, with the game peaking at a 34.1 rating from 9:30-10:00pm ET. Meanwhile, CBS earned a 29.5 overnight for the Broncos’ win over the Patriots from 3:00-6:15pm, marking the second-best AFC Championship overnight in 27 years. The 29.5 overnight is behind only a 32.8 rating for the Broncos-Browns OT matchup on NBC in ’87. Broncos-Patriots peaked at a 32.8 rating from 5:30-6:00pm. Last year's doubleheader was the lowest-rated AFC/NFC Championship Sunday since ’09 (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

----- AFTERNOON WINDOW -----
----- PRIMETIME WINDOW -----
YEAR
NET
MATCHUP
RAT.
NET
MATCHUP
RAT.
'14
CBS
Broncos-Patriots
29.5
Fox
Seahawks-49ers
31.0
'13
Fox
49ers-Falcons
26.1
CBS
Ravens-Patriots
27.9
'12
CBS
Patriots-Ravens
29.1
Fox
Giants-49ers
33.4
'11
Fox
Packers-Bears
30.0
CBS
Steelers-Jets
31.3
'10
CBS
Colts-Jets
28.4
Fox
Saints-Vikings
33.3
         

ON THEIR GAME: In Denver, Dusty Saunders writes CBS' broadcast yesterday was "definitely an up" for announcers Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, as they "kept the game in focus without overplaying the widely hyped rivalry" between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. The broadcasters "concentrated on the ebb and flow of the game without relying on tiresome statistical résumés." Nantz in particular was "energetic from the get-go, occasionally leaving his play-by-play role to join his partner in commentary." Nantz at the start of the second half "noted the Broncos were following their season-long winning script -- scoring after the two-minute warning in the first half and then returning at the start of the second half to score on a lengthy touchdown drive." CBS Sports Coordinating Producer Lance Barrow and NFL Lead Game Director Mike Arnold also "came up with on-the-spot coverage and key replays" (DENVER POST, 1/21). However, in N.Y., Bob Raissman writes it "would’ve been too much to ask" either Nantz or Simms at some point "to say the game didn’t come close to living up to its hype." The game was "flatter than a glass of water," but neither "chose to make that point" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/20). Also in N.Y., Phil Mushnick asks if Nantz -- "normally alert to tell us who’s in and out of games" -- would have missed the fact that during a key play in the second quarter Broncos TE Virgil Green was lined up alone in the backfield "if he hadn’t been forced to read another CBS promo." Green "took the straight-ahead handoff and ran for 10 yards -- a big, strange play in a drive that made it 10-0, Broncos" (N.Y. POST, 1/20).

TAKING OUT THE TRASH: The DAILY NEWS' Raissman notes NFL Network during its pregame show yesterday aired a "full-blown segment on the 'art of trash-talking.'" Not only was there "video of trash-yapping highlights (complete with bleeps), but there was a live demonstration" featuring analysts Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin. There also was an "extensive panel discussion" with Sanders, Irvin, fellow analyst Warren Sapp and Ravens LB Terrell Suggs. Sanders "incredibly ... claimed he had 'never talked trash.'" Sapp "nearly fell out of his chair when he heard that" and "basically called Sanders a liar." Raissman: "Just when we thought the segment couldn’t go further into the toilet, Suggs bragged that his brand of trash-talking 'could not be aired on TV.'" However, the NFL pregame shows were not "all filler." CBS' Dan Marino was "the perfect guy" to interview Brady during "The NFL Today." Marino was "able to get Brady to open up, even saying he expects to be playing in five years" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/20).

SHARPER SUSPENDED: NFL Network has suspending analyst Darren Sharper "without pay until further notice" after he was arrested on rape charges Friday. The LAPD said that Sharper "has been linked to two sexual assaults," one this month and one in October. He was "released on $200,000 bail late Friday night," and the investigation "is ongoing" (NFL.com, 1/18).

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