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Volume 24 No. 132


CBS earned a 48.1 overnight Nielsen rating for the Ravens’ 34-31 win over the 49ers in last night’s Super Bowl XLVII telecast from 6:30-10:45pm ET, marking the best overnight for the game on record. The period during the blackout at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome from 8:45-9:15pm is excluded from the rating. The previous record overnight for a Super Bowl was a 47.9 for Packers-Steelers in ’11. The 48.1 overnight is up 0.6% from a 47.8 for the Giants-Patriots game on NBC last year. The game peaked at a 52.9 rating during the final quarter hour of the game. The halftime show featuring Beyoncè earned a 48.2 rating from 8:00-8:30pm, up from a 48.1 for Madonna last year and a 47.4 for the Black Eyed Peas in ’11. Last night’s game earned a 59.6 local rating in Baltimore, which topped all markets. New Orleans finished second with a 57.1 rating, up from a 56.4 rating for host market Indianapolis last year. The S.F.-Oakland-San Jose market finished outside the top 10 for the game with a 49.0 local rating. Fast-national Nielsen data for the game is expected to be available later today (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). In N.Y., Ken Belson reports the 0.2 rating point increase of Packers-Steelers "will almost surely translate to an increase in viewers when the national numbers are reported" later today. The 111.3 million viewers for last year's Super Bowl made the game the "most watched television event of all time." Meanwhile, the blackout "likely provided a lift" to the coverage. The "value in the blackout was in pushing more of the game into prime-time hours - especially because the end of the game was compelling" (, 2/4).

8:45-9:00pm (excluded)
9:00-9:15pm (excluded)
8:00-8:15pm (halftime)
8:15-8:30pm (halftime)

TOUGH NIGHT FOR SIMMS: In Tampa, Tom Jones writes CBS' coverage was "not the best day in the network's life." The broadcast, called by Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, was "bland and, worse, left viewers craving more -- more replays, analysis and information." Jones: "It was a rough day for Simms. Too many times, play-by-play man Jim Nantz had to prod Simms for a comment." Nantz, who "called a good and enthusiastic game, had to ask Simms to speak out on a brawl, as well as a fake field goal by the Ravens." In both cases, Simms "did little but relay what we already saw" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 2/4).'s Richard Deitsch's writes CBS' broadcast crew has had "much better games." The "biggest problem on Sunday was Simms." Deitsch: "He did not have a strong game, from his inability to let plays breathe ... to too often not providing clarity to the questions posed at him by Nantz." On the 49ers' last offensive play, Simms "offered viewers confusion" when QB Colin Kaepernick's pass to WR Michael Crabtree fell incomplete following jostling between Crabtree and Ravens DB Jimmy Smith. Simms first "liked the no-call by the officials, then he wasn't so sure." It is "simply hard to imagine Cris Collinsworth or Mike Mayock being so hesitant on such a big stage" (, 2/4). On Long Island, Neil Best writes under the header, "Phil Simms' Coverage Was Somewhat In The Dark." Simms was "all over the place" trying to describe Kaepernick's pass to Crabtree. As the "damning replays mounted, Simms said, 'The more angles I see, the more confused I get'" (NEWSDAY, 2/4). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir asks, "Why did Simms flat-out say that he wouldn’t second-guess Baltimore Coach John Harbaugh’s risky decision to call a fake field goal, which failed to yield a first down?" Sandomir: "Second-guessing is Simms’s job. More important, he should be first-guessing" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/4). In San Jose, Charlie McCollum writes Simms is the "master of stating the obvious instead of providing any real insight, but on Sunday he just seemed a bit addled with things getting worse as the game went along" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 2/4).

POOR TEAM EFFORT: In Baltimore, David Zurawik wrote Nantz and Simms were "pathetic in the first half in their inability to modify or abandon their Colin-Kaepernick-is-the-Second-Coming storyline." By the time the power went out, it was "almost a welcome relief not to have to hear Nantz and Simms anymore." Simms "provided no insight during two of the biggest plays of the games: a fake field goal by the Ravens in the first half and Jacoby Jones' 108-yard kick return to start the second half" (, 2/3). In S.F., Peter Hartlaub writes the Nantz/Simms game commentary was "safe, but often seemed out of touch with the masses." While Twitter was "blowing up" over Ravens CB Cary Williams' "clear shove of a game official with no repercussions, the issue was all but ignored by the broadcasting team." They were "better post-blackout" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/4). The AP's Jake Coyle wrote Nantz "smartly predicted the Ravens possibly taking a safety willingly at the end of the game for the sake of time and field position." Simms "initially dismissed the idea, but it was what the Ravens elected to do and it was successful." CBS did not "overplay the Harbowl angle, and didn't flash to the parents in the crowd until the second quarter" (AP, 2/3). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes until the lights went out, CBS' coverage was "fairly predictable." The net, to be fair, should "get some credit for not overplaying the Harbaugh brother story line and avoiding obsessing about Baltimore's Ray Lewis playing his final game." Simms, while "easy to listen to, wasn't overly opinionated" (USA TODAY, 2/4).

KEEP THE PREGAME INDOORS:'s Deitsch writes CBS "deserves credit" for not following NBC's lead last year during the Super Bowl pregame coverage, as the peacock "delivered too much cross-promotional nonsense and too frequent cuts to celebrity interviews." What was "much better" was CBS' use of current NFLers including Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, Packers LB Clay Matthews, Bears CB Charles Tillman and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson as one-day analysts. All were "poised, thoughtful and likely have a career somewhere in broadcasting should they work at it." Fitzgerald was "particularly good." However, CBS, "seduced like most networks by a mini-football field on an outdoor set, missed badly with those segments because its talent was too often drowned out by the crowd" (, 2/4). In Miami, Barry Jackson writes CBS "erred by using a noisy outdoor set for the first 2 1/2 hours of its pregame." The crowd cheering and chanting "nearly ruined a serious discussion about concussions" (, 2/4). In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley noted analysts on outdoor sets "wind up shouting over the high-decibel noise from fans mugging for the camera." So what viewers "gain in immediacy or sense of place, you lose in coherence," at least "some of the time." When the topic of concussions and player safety was "brought up, the analysts had to shout their notions about this complicated and serious topic over noisemaking fans, who aren’t into listening of any kind, let alone talk about concussions" (, 2/3).

MORE PREGAME HIGHLIGHTS: The TAMPA BAY TIMES' Jones writes CBS "did a commendable job on its four-hour 'NFL Today' pregame show," and the "finest moment was the interview of Jack and Jackie Harbaugh." The net did a "smart thing by using its analysts, as well as some special guests, to explain the 49ers' 'Pistol' offense" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 2/4). The HERALD's Jackson writes the net "delivered three exceptional pre-game features" on Ravens front-office official O.J. Brigance, Colts coach Chuck Pagano’s battle with leukemia, and a piece on two Gateway High students -- "one who died, one who survived -- the Aurora, Col., theater shooting last summer." CBS News' Scott Pelley interviewed President Obama, and the exchange was "respectful, unlike Fox’s Super Bowl session two years ago, when Bill O’Reilly repeatedly interrupted Obama" (, 2/4). In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes though it appeared early in the pregame show, CBS had a "neat feature: Dallas’ Leon Lett and Buffalo’s Don Beebe, seated together, remembering Beebe chasing down Lett, causing him to fumble as the defensive lineman showboated his way to the end zone, late in the Cowboys’ blowout win in the Super Bowl 20 years ago" (N.Y. POST, 2/4). But in L.A., Tom Hoffarth writes a more "puzzling moment was allowing Sharpe to interview the Ravens' Ray Lewis." Hoffarth: "At least he had Lewis address again the 2000 double murders in Atlanta where he was charged with two counts of murder." (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 2/4). 

HIGH PRAISE FOR NFL NETWORK: The SUN's Zurawik wrote the NFL Network's pregame coverage was "outstanding" yesterday. Newly elected Pro Football HOFer Warren Sapp "brought even more energy and joy than usual to the telecast." Michael Irvin was "stoked to Super Bowl level, and Steve Mariucci was better than he has ever been." Former NFLer Brett Favre, who was a guest analyst for the net, came on the set "looking tight and tense." But by the time he left, he had done a "winning on-air turn thanks to the producers, hosts and analysts putting him in a situation where he could hardly help but succeed" (, 2/3). Zurawik also writes the NFL Network was "terrific in its post-game coverage." Rich Eisen alongside former NFLers Sapp, Irvin, Deion Sanders and Marshall Faulk had an "ecstatic Ed Reed sit down for an interview that had so much joy and energy emanating from the Baltimore safety that it felt as if the TV set was going to explode." They "brought on Joe Flacco and actually found a way to have some fun with the game's MVP, asking him if he was going to seek $100 million in contract negotiations based on his performance" (, 2/4). Blogger Ed Sherman wrote NFL Network has "put together a solid cast of analysts who have developed a good chemistry." The HOFers/Super Bowl champions were "in their element Sunday." Faulk is "vastly underrated, and his feature on his hometown of New Orleans was really strong." Eisen, the "driver of the show," is "funny, insightful, and not overbearing" (, 2/3).

CBS Sports Group Chair Sean McManus last night said that his production truck "had no communication with his announcers immediately after" the power outage at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome during the start of the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII, according to Richard Deitsch of McManus said they eventually got sideline reporters Steve Tasker and Solomon Wilcots "up but we had no communication with Jim Nantz." McManus: "Once we did get communication with Jim, he could not see any monitors. He could only hear us sporadically. It was a scramble to figure out what had happened and to do the best job covering it." He said that only 11 of CBS' 62 cameras were "working during the power outage (three cameras above the field and eight cameras on the ground) and they used what they had to show players on the field." Deitsch notes the CBS' "The Super Bowl Today" on-air crew "hustled back" to the net's on-field set, and James Brown, Bill Cowher, Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe "went into extended filler time." Boomer Esiason was "absent because he was serving as the analyst on radio broadcast for Dial Global." Cowher and Sharpe were "very good here, with Sharpe hammering home that the momentum was going to favor the Niners after the break." Tasker and Wilcots "continued to provide reporting, with Tasker remarkably revealing that he had told Niners coach Jim Harbaugh how long the delay would be while Wilcots said Ravens coach John Harbaugh had told him the same thing." What CBS "needed to do a better job of was identifying for viewers what they were seeing during the power outage." There was "no NFL official on the set to explain what had happened, which would have been invaluable information." McManus said, "I think under very, very difficult circumstances -- and remember we were trying to get all of our equipment back -- I think our guys did a very good job with limited information, and for awhile, very limited production resources" (, 2/4).

CBS DROPPED THE BALL: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes viewers were "left with unanswered questions as CBS Sports’ sideline reporters, and the rest of the cast, failed to go into a reporting mode." There was "no outrage, no questioning how a thing like this could happen on the NFL’s biggest night of the year." Not once during the 34-minute delay "did a representative of the National Football League appear on camera to attempt to explain what caused half the Superdome to lose power." Raissman: "Why should they? No one from CBS put any pressure on them." CBS at one point had a "shot of John Harbaugh screaming at some suit who we assumed worked for the NFL (we take that grand leap because CBS never identified who the gentleman was)." Raissman: "Why not stick a microphone in Harbaugh’s face and ask him why he was angry?" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/4). Also in N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes CBS' Phil Simms and Nantz through the end of the game "made no issue out of the failure of an NFL official to appear on the sideline to explain the blackout to Tasker or Wilcots." Even without a full explanation, the NFL "should have provided someone to tell CBS what it knew" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/4). DAILY VARIETY's Brian Lowry writes, "If the delay showed anything, it's how ill-equipped sportscasters often are when it comes to dealing with anything that isn't about the game" (, 2/4).

OUT OF THEIR ELEMENT: SPORTS ON EARTH's Will Leitch writes Tasker was a "stuttering, ghostly, terrified profile in flop sweat." He went from "'sideline reporter' to 'Wait, the entire planet is looking at me right now?!' in a nanosecond, and it showed." Wilcots, who was on the other sideline, "kept popping in to tell us he didn't know anything." However, Tasker and Wilcots "were Jim McKay in Munich" compared to Brown and the rest of the studio crew. Cowher "impersonated a robot incapable of processing any commands that didn't involve introducing football highlights," while Marino "just sort of mumbled, confused, which led, lord help me, Shannon Sharpe to fill the void." While all that was going on, CBS "provided us with zero information." Leitch: "I couldn't help but wonder how much better NBC or ESPN would have been with this" (, 2/4).

WORTHY OF SOME PRAISE: In Miami, Barry Jackson writes CBS handled the delay "competently and then caught a break when the 49ers turned a blowout into compelling theater." Tasker and Wilcots "did good work updating viewers during the delay" (, 2/4). The AP's Jake Coyle wrote Tasker was "the MVP on the night" (AP, 2/3).

CBS Sports last night delivered a largely incident-free online stream of Super Bowl XLVII, complete with several features new to second-screen game experiences. The online stream notably featured the debut of a live All-22 coaches' angle, offered to the public starting during the '12 season, but never live for U.S. audiences before last night's game. Also new to Super Bowl online streaming was coverage of the halftime show with Beyonce. The online coverage lagged behind the TV feed by about 10-15 seconds, not unlike many digital simulcasts of televised sports. But the video player featured five camera angles in total, including a fans' choice that spotlighted various individual players, with shifting between the views smooth, fluid and buffer-free. Some of the alternate camera angles beyond the TV simulcast were out during the third-quarter Superdome power outage, and were turned off during the halftime show. As the case last year on NBC, the digital Super Bowl stream featured a separate set of commercials and links to the spots airing on TV. But while NBC featured a quintet of online advertisers for Super Bowl XLVI, CBS last night ran ads from 15 companies. Purchasing online inventory were American Airlines, Beck's, BlackBerry, Bridgestone, Budweiser (Black Crown),, Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive (Speed Stick), Pepsi, Prudential, Samsung, Sony Computer Entertainment ("God of War: Ascension"), Taco Bell, Toyota, and Unilever (Clear Men Scalp Therapy). The NFL also ran multiple ads promoting several of its causes and entities, including the NFL Network and its health and safety awareness effort. The CBS online player also included social media integration with several embedded Twitter feeds. A counter within the player tallying Super Bowl-related tweets registered more than 35 million by the end of the game.