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Volume 24 No. 116
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ESPN Sees Overnight Ratings Dip For Both Opening "MNF" Telecasts

ESPN earned a 10.3 overnight Nielsen rating for the Patriots-Dolphins "MNF" telecast in the early window last night from 7:00-10:45pm ET, down 1.9% from a 10.5 rating for Ravens-Jets last year. While down from '10, Patriots-Dolphins is still the second-best opening "MNF" overnight since ESPN acquired rights prior to the '06 season. In Boston, Patriots-Dolphins earned a 10.0 local rating on ESPN and a 24.0 rating on WCVB-TV, while in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, the game earned a 14.8 local rating on ESPN and a 7.0 rating on WSFL-CW. The Raiders-Broncos telecast in the late window on ESPN earned a 7.7 overnight from 10:45pm-1:45am, down 15.4% from a 9.1 rating for Chargers-Chiefs last year. The game earned a 15.8 local rating on ESPN and a 21.1 rating on KTVD-MYT in Denver, while in S.F.-Oakland-San Jose, the game earned an 8.7 local rating on ESPN and a 9.3 rating on KPIX-CBS (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).


SH*T MY ANNOUNCER SAYS: USA TODAY's Michael McCarthy reported ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski "swore live on the air" during the Patriots-Dolphins game last night. After Dolphins QB Chad Henne overthrew WR Brandon Marshall in the end zone during the 4th quarter, Jaworski said, "Sh*t, you have to get rid of this ball. Just a split second quicker." He "later apologized to MNF viewers on air and said he hoped he didn't offend anybody." ESPN Senior Dir of Communications Bill Hofheimer said that the network "won't put out a statement since Jaworski himself apologized at the end of the game" (, 9/12). YAHOO SPORTS' Chris Chase wrote, "What I love about this is that there was no stumbling, no backtracking in the dropping of the s-word; Jaws just said it casually, like it wasn't a big deal" (, 9/12). In Ft. Lauderdale, Mike Berardino writes the incident "should go away quickly, especially when you consider all the words Jaworski could have blurted out instead" (, 9/13). SI’s Richard Deitsch wrote on Twitter: “I really like Jaworski. Quality broadcaster. Good dude. As for live mics, well, sh-- happens.” Bulls announcer Chuck Swirsky: “Jaws did apologize…hey it happens…we're human..we all make mistakes.” The Boston Herald’s Ian Rapoport: “Dear Twitter: Yes, Jaws just dropped an S-bomb. Hey, it happens.” SI’s Joe Posnanski: “Heard Jaworski swear on air. How in world of Cialis commercials, movie trailers featuring dismemberment can this still matter?” WEEI-AM Producer Michael Berger wrote: “Ron Jaworski is lucky he works on ESPN and not a network station.” Grantland’s Bill Simmons: “Rank these in order of weirdness: Brady throws for 511 yards, Welker catches a 99 yard TD, Henne throws 0 INT's, Jaws swears on air."

ESPN UNDER REVIEW: ESPN' Brad Nessler and Trent Dilfer called Raiders-Broncos last night as part of the annual Week 1 "MNF" doubleheader, and's Peter Schrager wrote on Twitter, "Dilfer's better than Gruden on TV. Nessler, dare I say it, better than Tirico. Make the switch, ESPN.” The Waco Tribute’s Cory Erb: “I really do like this commentating team of Brad Nessler and Trent Dilfer.” WBAY-ABC Sports Dir Chris Roth: “For whatever it's worth, Trent Dilfer is an outstanding analyst, should do more games.” But MLS Sounders announcer Arlo White wrote Gruden "is an absolutely brilliant broadcaster. Mad as a box of frogs, but brilliant.” Meanwhile, the Boston Globe’s Eric Wilbur wrote, “Dear ESPN, the shots of Will Smith's booth are reason No. 789,987 why America hates you.”

SUNDAY BEST: NBC earned a 15.3 final Nielsen rating and 25.8 million viewers for the Cowboys-Jets “SNF” matchup, marking the most-viewed NFL Sunday or Monday primetime game in 14 years, dating back to Broncos-49ers on ABC in December ’97, which averaged 27.0 million viewers. The game is up 2% in both rating and viewers from last year’s Cowboys-Redskins “SNF” opener, and marks NBC’s best Sunday night game audience since the net reacquired NFL TV rights prior to the ’06 season. Cowboys-Jets led NBC to a win among nets in primetime on Sunday, and also averaged the best rating ever for a “SNF” telecast among adults 18-49. NBC also had the best Sunday primetime for any net among viewers and adults 18-49 since ABC aired the “Academy Awards” in February. For NBC’s two opening NFL game telecasts, the net averaged a 15.7 rating and 26.5 million viewers, marking the most-viewed Thursday/Sunday primetime games since the league created the package in ’02. The two-game rating is tied with last year’s average. NBC also saw a big gain for its first “Football Night in America” telecast from 7:30-8:15pm. The show averaged a 6.4 rating and 10.6 million viewers, up 15% and 19%, respectively, from the first show last year (Karp).

BATTERING RAM: In St. Louis, Dan Caesar reports Sunday's Eagles-Rams game earned a 22.9 rating on KTVI-Fox, down 12% from last year's season opener when Rams QB Sam Bradford made his NFL debut against the Cardinals. Still, Sunday's rating was "higher than any Rams opener other than last season" since '06, and was "considerably better than the 16.1 average rating for the three openers before last." In the St. Louis market, the Rams game "far outdrew the Cardinals' telecast" on FS Midwest. When the games were on simultaneously, Eagles-Rams had a 23.5 rating while the Braves-Cardinals game earned a 6.1 (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/13).