Fox Draws 47.9 Overnight Rating For Super Bowl XLV, Tied For Highest Ever
Fox earned a 47.9 overnight Nielsen rating for the Packers' 31-25 win over the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV last night, tying it with the Giants-Broncos matchup in '87 as the best Super Bowl overnight ever. The 47.9 rating is up 3.2% from a 46.4 overnight for Saints-Colts in Super Bowl XLIV on CBS last year. The telecast earned a 59.7 local rating in both Milwaukee and Pittsburgh, marking the second-highest rating for a single market in Super Bowl history, behind only a 63.0 local rating in Chicago for Super Bowl XX. Host market Dallas-Ft. Worth earned a 53.7 local rating for the game. Fox' pregame show from 2:00-6:30pm ET earned a 12.2 overnight, marking the best Super Bowl pregame overnight in eight years (THE DAILY).
A JOB WELL DONE: In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones writes Fox "went the right way by covering it as a game because the millions of novices likely are watching the game at a party or a bar and not really paying attention to the broadcasters anyway." Fox' Joe Buck and Troy Aikman "were good, not great." But it was "good enough for a big game and better than trying to do too much and falling flat." Buck and Aikman "did what football fans wanted them to do: be accurate, be concise and make football the focus instead of trying to put on a show." Jones writes the "direction and production were solid, too." There is a "tendency for directors to dial up way too many replays and graphics for big games, but Sunday's production saved the replays and graphics for the right moments" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 2/7). In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes under the header, "Super On Field, Super On TV, Too." Fox had some "strong story-telling moments." The telecast "keyed on injured Packers DB Charles Woodson, emoting -- and wincing -- from the sideline." Buck "just told the story, and told it well, without trying (too hard) to make his mark." Similarly, Aikman was "unusually strong, no more so than late, when he used a replay to correct himself." Mushnick: "Just a good game attached to some good TV" (N.Y. POST, 2/7). In Oklahoma City, Mel Bracht writes Fox “turned in a stellar performance in covering Super Bowl XLV.” The “low-key announcing team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman covered all angles with their usual expertise, and they didn’t overwhelm viewers with a lot of meaningless facts” (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 2/7). In Ft. Worth, Ray Buck writes under the header, "Fox's Super Bowl Broadcast Goes Off Like Clockwork" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 2/7).
ON THE MARK: In San Diego, Jay Posner writes Buck and "especially Troy Aikman were on top of their game nearly the entire night." Aikman had the "kind of night he did when he was winning three Super Bowls for Dallas, connecting with almost all his points." Posner: "There were a couple times I wish Aikman and Buck had discussed strategy a little more. ... But those instances were rare" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 2/7). On Long Island, Neil Best writes Buck and Aikman delivered a "solid, blessedly no-frills account of yet another interesting Super Bowl, a welcome change of tone after the inanity of the pregame show marathon." Buck "conveyed the bigness of big plays without overselling them" (NEWSDAY, 2/7). YAHOO SPORTS' Matthew Darnell writes Buck and Aikman "to their great credit ... cruised through the game without a single" mention of former Packers QB Brett Favre, though the "same can't be said" for Fox' postgame coverage (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/7). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes Aikman was "like an antidote to all the Super Bowl hype." His "deliberate and understated tone could have fit a regular-season game" (USATODAY.com, 2/7). In Miami, Barry Jackson writes Aikman's delivery "lacks pizzazz but he is meticulously prepared and better than most at dissecting strategy." But because Super Bowl audiences "include so many people who don't watch a lot of football, Aikman should have known better than to use jargon such as 'gap integrity' without elaborating" (MIAMI HERALD, 2/7). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes Aikman delivered "a typical game." He is "not a bold first-guesser," as John Madden was, although his suggestion that Packers WRs Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson "would have important games proved true." Sandomir: "I would have enjoyed hearing Aikman and Buck tell us a lot more about why two defensive stars, Green Bay's Clay Matthews and Pittsburgh's James Harrison, were not as overwhelming as they usually are" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/7).
CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY: In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley writes, "You admire the spare call Joe Buck uses after dramatic scores." When Jennings caught a fourth-quarter touchdown to make it a two-possession game again, Buck said, "Rodgers looking left ... now goes to his right! Jennings! Touchdown!" Then Buck "didn't say another word, letting the pictures do all the work." Aikman's voice was the "next you heard as he came in over the replay" (JSONLINE.com, 2/7). FANHOUSE.com's Milton Kent wrote the "scarcity of words marked Fox's telecast of Super Bowl XLV," specifically the ability of Buck to "frame game action using as little verbiage as necessary." Buck's call was "blissfully short" on the Packers' first touchdown, after which he "kept quiet and let the pictures and the sound of the crowd tell the story." Kent added, "Big ups to Buck for making the observation in the third quarter that the Steelers crowd was turning the game into a road contest for Rodgers" (FANHOUSE.com, 2/6).
STRONG FROM THE SIDELINES: In California, John Maffei writes with Steelers and Packers players "falling like dominos, Fox sideline reporters Chris Myers and Pam Oliver were the first-half MVPs." Because of the injuries, "there was actually something for the sideline reporters to report." Myers and Oliver "hustled and got the latest updates" on the Packers' Woodson, Donald Driver and Sam Shields, as well as the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger and Emmanuel Sanders. Maffei added, "There were also great shots of the injured players being carted off the field or walking up the tunnel to the locker room" (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 2/7). The ST. PETERSBURG TIMES' Jones writes, "Usually, sideline reporters don't add much to a broadcast, but with a slew of injuries, sideline reporters Chris Myers and Pam Oliver provided quick updates and useful information throughout the broadcast" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 2/7).
QUITE A PRODUCTION: SI.com's Richard Deitsch awards Fox' game coverage an "A-" and writes perhaps its "best moment came early in the fourth quarter with footage" of Packers LB coach Kevin Greene speaking to Clay Matthews. Greene said, "It is time. It is time." That footage was recorded just before Matthews and Ryan Pickett "forced a Rashard Mendenhall fumble." Fox' production "also soared with a fourth quarter replay showing Steelers safety Ryan Clark just missing a second-quarter touchdown catch" by Jennings. Fox then "cut quickly" to Steelers DT Casey Hampton, "angrily watching the game get away" (SI.com, 2/7). In Green Bay, Warren Gerds writes the Greene-Matthews interaction was "perhaps the most remarkable sequence in the coverage." Gerds: "How did Fox get that audio and video? No matter, it was fantastic" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 2/7). In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes Fox "had its mike in the right place" for the Greene-Matthews conversation (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/7). In Ft. Worth, David Martindale writes "almost nothing escaped the camera coverage." Fox delivered "replays from every angle," though the "only camera miscue came at the end, when Fox missed the live shot of Packers coach Mike McCarthy getting his celebratory Gatorade bath" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 2/7). In Denver, Dusty Saunders writes, "Applaud the work of producer Richie Zyontz and director Rich Russo for their splendid use of 28 live cameras and 18 replay cameras. ... The camera crew followed major plays from a variety of angles, and instant replays showed viewers exactly what happened" (DENVER POST, 2/7). In Albany, Pete Dougherty writes all of Fox' cameras "appeared to be pointed toward the field." Dougherty: "At last, a network figured out that millions of viewers tune in to see football, not a constant stream of crowd shots" (Albany TIMES UNION, 2/7).
GLOSSING OVER TICKET SITUATION: The N.Y. TIMES' Sandomir notes Fox before the Super Bowl "made note" of the breaking story that hundreds of tickets were declared unusable, but the network "never said another word." Fox was "there to carry a game, and there was no expectation that this debacle should have become a big diversion for the broadcast." This was a "story that required" Myers and Oliver to "do some reporting." The incident was "embarrassing to the league, but it did not hide from it, or keep news about it from appearing on NFL.com." Sandomir: "But when news happened off the field, Fox was virtually silent" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/7). SI.com's Deitsch notes it "took Fox until" 5:14pm ET, slightly more than an hour before kickoff, "to report on one of the major stories of the Super Bowl, the ticket seating fiasco." Deitsch: "Remarkably, Fox downplayed the news by giving it less than a minute" (SI.com, 2/7). NEWSDAY's Best on his Twitter feed wrote, "Good news: Fox covered unfolding ticket/seat crisis on pregame. Bad news: Chris Myers downplayed magnitude of fiasco" (TWITTER.com, 2/6).