CBS will televise Super Bowl XLVII Sunday night from New Orleans, but it will be "difficult" for the network to "surpass the current record (held by NBC) of 111.3 million average viewers," according to Richard Deitsch of SI.com. Both conference championship games this year had "down viewership" from '11 and neither the 49ers (No. 6 television market) nor Ravens (No. 27) "possess pre-made star power at the skill positions that draws the ultra-casual NFL fan." CBS Sports Group Chair Sean McManus said, "The rating is very important from a pride and a stature standpoint. Financially, it does not affect us because we are not selling the Super Bowl next year. But from a pride standpoint, you want to outdo the year before, so of course I would like the game to have a huge (viewership). If we don't set a record, I will be disappointed but life will go on." CBS NFL Lead Game Dir Mike Arnold said he will consider the game a success "if it's not the focal point at the office water cooler on Monday morning." Deitsch noted CBS' pregame coverage, which begins at 1:00pm ET, will include Packers LB Clay Matthews, who was "added because CBS brass was impressed by Matthews' personality during the year." Matthews gives the net "currency as well as an expert on the defensive side of the football." Many of the pregame features "are what you'd expect," but the show will have a "promising piece on a high school football player who survived the July 2012 shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. and a look at the life of the Ravens current senior advisor to player development O.J. Brigance, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease)." In addition, "CBS Evening News" host Scott Pelley will "interview President Barack Obama at 4:30 p.m. ET from the White House." The interview is "expected to run about 10-15 minutes" (SI.com, 1/31).
DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK: Former NFLer Brett Favre will join NFL Network on Sunday "for daylong coverage" of the Super Bowl. Favre said that he chose to appear on "NFL GameDay Morning" because he "could work with friends such as Steve Mariucci, Deion Sanders and Warren Sapp, and because the game is in New Orleans." Favre will join host Rich Eisen "and several Super Bowl-winning players," including Sanders, Marshall Faulk and Kurt Warner (AP, 1/30). AWFUL ANNOUNCING's Reva Friedel wrote it is "interesting the network chose Favre since he's been so quiet since retirement." However, that is "not to say he won't be a good addition to the game day team." Friedel: "He's still a huge name, and he should bring some added interest. ... Favre is a good get for the NFL Network as he will likely draw a lot of viewership from people who otherwise might not have tuned in. The networks would be like hungry sharks if Favre ever did decide to start a TV career full-time. Maybe Super Bowl Sunday will be a test run" (AWFULANNOUNCING.com, 1/31).
ALL EARS ON YOU: SI's Deitsch notes there will be a "bigger-than-you'd expect assembly that will rely on Dial Global radio announcer" Kevin Harlan to be its "eyes" for the Super Bowl. Last year's Super Bowl radio broadcast was heard "by 23.1 million Americans on terrestrial radio." This year's game will be "broadcast on more than 700 radio stations nationwide, and it's a lifeline for those who are visually impaired or unable to get to a television." Harlan's task is "much more difficult than that of his TV counterpart, Jim Nantz, because calling a football game on radio requires the dissemination of about three times as much information as on television" (SI, 2/4 issue). In Cincinnati, Joe Reedy noted Boomer Esiason will be the game analyst for Dial Global, but he also will be "part of the crew" for CBS' "The Super Bowl Today" during pregame, halftime and postgame. Esiason said, "It's not going to be easy but I've done this before. ... Houston and Miami, those places are a little easier logistically. The Superdome has one elevator so they're working it out tomorrow. I don't know if I'm going to be going down with the coaches from the respective teams or whatever. It's not easy and part of the game I do from down on the field with a headset and a wireless mic" (CINCINNATI.com, 1/31).
WHEN IS ENOUGH, ENOUGH? In Tampa, Tom Jones wrote he believes fans "have simply overdosed" on Ravens LB Ray Lewis. Jones: "He cries. He preaches. He self-promotes. He seems aware whenever the camera is on him." In the one week when all fans should be "celebrating his spectacular career, Lewis' reputation and popularity are somehow getting worse." As "charismatic as he is, you wonder if networks are having second thoughts about adding Lewis to their NFL coverage" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 1/31).