Fox earned a 33.4 overnight for the Giants' 20-17 OT win over the 49ers in last night's NFC Championship game, marking the best overnight for any NFL conference championship since Cowboys-49ers earned a 34.2 rating in ’95. The 33.4 rating is up 6.7% from a 31.3 rating for the comparable Steelers-Jets game on CBS in the late window, and up 11.3% from a 30.0 for Packers-Bears in the early window. The game peaked during OT from 10:00-10:30pm ET with a 39.3 rating. The game earned a 47.4 local rating in S.F.-San Jose-Oakland and a 41.8 rating in N.Y., while Boston averaged a 35.1 rating. Meanwhile, CBS earned a 29.1 overnight for the Patriots-Ravens AFC Championship game in the early window from 3:00-6:15pm, down 3.0% from the comparable Packers-Bears last year, and down 7.0% from Steelers-Jets. The 29.1 rating, however, marks the best overnight for any afternoon AFC Championship in 18 years -- dating back to a 29.5 rating on NBC for Bills-Chiefs in ’94. The rating peaked at a 34.9 during the 6:00-6:15pm window (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
MIXED REVIEWS FOR CBS: In Baltimore, David Zurawik writes CBS "did an outstanding job of telecasting Sunday’s AFC championship game" between the Ravens and Patriots. Analyst Phil Simms was "high energy all the way and constantly working to make the action on the field more understandable and entertaining." Zurawik writes, "I can’t tell you how engaging the broadcast seemed right from the start." Simms was also "superb at explaining substitutions, injuries and calls by the referees." Zurawik: "The telecast won me over from the opening visuals" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 1/22). Meanwhile, in N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes under the header, "CBS Lauds Lewis, Ignoring Connection To Homicide." Mushnick writes CBS' pregame show "devoted a large chunk of its hour to yet again salute" Ravens LB Ray Lewis (N.Y. POST, 1/23).
TONED-DOWN FOR TV? USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes if his CBS "debut Sunday was a preview of coming attractions, Jim Rome isn't going to mainstream TV sports to be provocative." Rather than "serving up even a mini rant Sunday, Rome answered football questions asked him by analysts." Hiestand: "Rome's most provocative point Sunday was that Tim Tebow 'still sees an H-backer under center,' making it [seem] as if viewers who like TV sports that have been sanitized for their protection don't have much to worry about in Rome being added to big-event TV sports" (USA TODAY, 1/23). The Big Lead's Jason McIntyre wrote on his Twitter account, “CBS probably gave Jim Rome more promo in the last 20 minutes than ESPN did in the last 13 months.” CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd wrote, "Jim Rome kills it on first CBS appearance."
BABY LOVE: During CBS' pregame show, host James Brown conducted an "interview" with the E*Trade baby. E*Trade is a sponsor of "The NFL Today," and in Tampa Bay, Tom Jones writes, "Shame on you, CBS! All season, I've been heaping praise on the 'NFL Today.' ... A season's worth of smart decisions and commendable television nearly ruined for the sake of a 30-second bit that wasn't only not funny, but felt like a shameless plug" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 1/23). The L.A. Times' Joe Flint wrote on his Twitter account, "Feel very sorry for James Brown at CBS Sports having to interview E Trade baby. At least he wasn't eating Subway sandwich during plug."
FEATURING A RIVAL: The GLOBE & MAIL's Bruce Dowbiggin asks "why was CBS featuring" Steven Tyler, who sang the national anthem before the Ravens-Patriots game, and is a "star on rival Fox juggernaut, 'American Idol?'" Dowbiggin also writes, "Bless former NFL referee Mike Pereira." During a play in the first half of the Ravens-Patriots game, Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski had a catch ruled incomplete, even though it appeared on replay he got both his feet in. Pereira on his Twitter account "immediately jumped on it, saying it should be reviewed." While the video was "clear that Gronkowski's catch was good, CBS never said boo even when the replay ran" (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/23).
SPLIT THEM UP: In Ft. Lauderdale, Tom Jicha wrote it is "inexplicable that both NFL conference championship games, which determine the Super Bowl teams, are jammed into one Sunday afternoon." It would "make far more sense to have both in prime time, one Saturday night, the other Sunday night" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 1/22).
PARDON THE INTERRUPTION: Comcast still has not figured out why its DC area cable systems broke into the live NFC Championship game at least four times to show promos for its Xfinity service. "We've been looking into it. I'm working on getting an update," a Comcast spokesperson told THE DAILY. Comcast subscribers in DC saw the commercials instead of live-game action at least four times during the game's fourth quarter (John Ourand, THE DAILY).