SBD/October 9, 2017/Media

NFL Week 5 Overnights: Fox Gets Strong Packers-Cowboys Number; NBC's "SNF" Up

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The Cowboys have been featured in the Week 5 Sunday late afternoon window the past three seasons, and yesterday's last-minute loss to the Packers was the best rating among those telecasts. Fox drew a 15.0 overnight for Packers-Cowboys, which was the only game in the 4:30pm ET window for the net. Last year, CBS carried Bengals-Cowboys in 80% of its markets in the national window, drawing a 13.1 overnight. Two years ago, CBS drew a 16.4 overnight for Patriots-Cowboys in 81% of markets. Packers-Cowboys is likely to be the second- or third-best NFL game this season to date when final numbers come down. Meanwhile, NBC last night was up for its Week 5 "SNF" telecast. Chiefs-Texans drew a 10.6 overnight rating, up 4% from Giants-Packers last year, which went up against the second Trump-Clinton presidential debate. Two years ago in Week 5, NBC drew a 13.1 overnight for 49ers-Giants on "SNF." Chiefs-Texans delivered NBC a primetime win and the game peaked early at an 11.5 rating from 9:00-9:30pm ET as the Chiefs had a 16-point halftime lead. K.C. led all markets last night with a 43.5 local rating , followed by Houston with a 28.0. Rounding out the top five markets were New Orleans (17.9), Denver (16.4) and Richmond (14.7) (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

NFL WEEK 5 SUNDAY OVERNIGHTS
NET
'17 GAME
RAT.
'16 NET
'16 GAME
RAT.
CBS
(single)
9.0
Fox
(single)
10.9
Fox
(regional)
8.8
CBS
(regional)
10.5
Fox
Packers-Cowboys (98%)
15.0
CBS
Bengals-Cowboys (80%)
13.1
NBC
Chiefs-Texans
10.6
NBC
Giants-Packers
10.2

ALL ABOUT THE NUMBERS: THE MMQB's Peter King writes the NFL is "concerned about" TV ratings. Some people in the league are "hugely concerned about them," and they "should be." The numbers "are concerning" (MMQB.SI.com, 10/9). In Boston, Ben Volin wrote people have "already grown weary of the weekly obsession surrounding the NFL's TV ratings." The numbers are "easily spun by both pro-NFL factions claiming that the ratings are still strong, and anti-NFL factions looking for evidence that the league’s popularity is slipping." Much of the variation in ratings can "likely be attributed to the schedule -- the Patriots, Cowboys, and Packers draw eyeballs, and the Jaguars, Browns, and Panthers do not." There is also "no question that more fans are cutting cable cords and not watching football in a traditional fashion." But “SNF” has been the "No. 1-rated show on TV for six years running." “TNF” is a "top-five show." Those are the "most telling facts about the NFL’s popularity" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/8).

SPEAKING THE TRUTH: SI.com's Richard Deitsch noted Fox' Joe Buck yesterday "questioned the call" of Cowboys coach Jason Garrett with 1:24 left against the Packers. After an incomplete pass to Cowboys WR Dez Bryant, thus stopping the clock, Buck said, “I don’t understand that play call at all." Cowboys QB Dak Prescott "scored on a keeper on the following play but it was refreshing to see a play-by-play person offer an opinion, followed by Buck and analyst Troy Aikman recognizing that there’s not a perfect opinion on when to score late in the game if the other team is within a score" (SI.com, 10/8). In Dallas, Barry Horn writes Buck and Aikman "hammered home their end-game storyline" for the national audience after the incompletion to Bryant. With the clock stopped, the Packers "didn't have to call a timeout," and the broadcasters "immediately jumped on the significance and ramifications of the play" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/9). 

SMILE FOR THE CAMERA
: In L.A., Sam Farmer noted yesterday's Packers-Cowboys game was the "first time in the regular season" Fox used two SkyCams. One was "positioned just behind" the QBs with a second "peering down from about 50 feet." The two cameras will "allow for all the traditional shots as the low camera zips along behind the play, and the high one gives a God’s-eye view of the action." For yesterday's game at AT&T Stadium, there was the "added challenge of the giant video board, so the two SkyCams have to run under that and not conflict with each other." There were "five super slow-motion cameras for that game, as well as pylon cameras in the end zones." Fox "tested the system in an exhibition game this summer, as did NBC, which will use two SkyCams" for the Patriots-Falcons "SNF" matchup Oct. 22. NBC also "plans to double up for its Super Bowl game coverage in February" (L.A. TIMES, 10/8). 

GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME: In Baltimore, David Zurawik writes CBS' Greg Gumbel for Ravens-Raiders was "energized and focused." While analyst Trent Green had to be "prompted a couple of times by Gumbel to take viewers inside the action," the former NFLer "offered solid analysis when given the prompts." But late in the third quarter, they "fell back on their old self-important, yuk-yuk ways at the expense of alerting viewers to the rhythm of what was happening in the stadium." The telecast "came back with images from Saturday of the Blue Angels flying in formation, which prompted Green to go into an anecdote about riding with them at one of the Super Bowls." And that led to Gumbel "joking about whether Green got sick while in the air." Zurawik: "And back and forth and blah, blah, blah, blah they went about this stupid fly-along" (Baltimore SUN, 10/9).
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