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Volume 24 No. 158


CBS earned a 17.8 overnight rating for yesterday’s NFL national window, which featured Broncos-Giants in 89% of markets. That figure is the best for any CBS regular-season national window since Week 15 in ’11, when coverage featuring Patriots-Broncos earned a 19.5 overnight. The 17.8 overnight is also CBS’ best rating for its first NFL national window of the season in 15 years. Broncos-Giants was up 24% from a 14.4 overnight for the net’s national window in Week 2 last season, which featured Jets-Steelers. CBS also earned a 10.7 overnight for its early regional window yesterday, down 8% from last year. Meanwhile, NBC earned a 13.6 overnight for last night’s 49ers-Seahawks “SNF” telecast, which had an hour-long weather delay during the first quarter. That figure is down 2% from Lions-49ers in Week 2 last year. It also is the best overnight for any West Coast NFC primetime matchup since 49ers-Rams earned a 15.4 overnight on "MNF" in ’91. Seattle-Tacoma earned a 44.8 local rating for the game, marking the best for any NBC “SNF” telecast to date. S.F.-Oakland-San Jose earned a 26.8 local rating, tied with 49ers-Patriots from last season as best for an “SNF” telecast (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

'13 GAME
'12 GAME
% +/-
Broncos-Giants (89%)
Jets-Steelers (82%)

CHART NOTE: * = Game had one-hour weather delay.

ANALYZE THIS: In Denver, Dusty Saunders writes CBS' Phil Simms "was the ideal talent to analyze the key players" during yesterday's Broncos-Giants game which pitted QBs Peyton and Eli Manning against one another. Simms "kept the play of the two brothers in focus throughout, while outlining how they were responding to a variety of changing defenses." Neither he nor play-by-play partner Jim Nantz "overhyped the gridiron meeting of the Manning brothers during the game or after its conclusion." Nantz "provided informational nuggets about both teams" as the duo covered the game "in professional, level-headed style." Sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson's work was "extremely professional" (DENVER POST, 9/16). Meanwhile, in Baltimore, David Zurawik writes of CBS' Browns-Ravens broadcast, "What made me really nuts was the lack of any kind of in-depth analysis from [Marv] Albert’s partner, Rich Gannon, about the pass rush." Gannon offers "nothing but the most superficial, obvious analysis -- and even that is sometimes wrong." But CBS producers "did make an effort Sunday to give Baltimore fans a better telecast than ... usually received" from the net last year (Baltimore SUN, 9/16). 

TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES: In Chicago, Joe Fernandez noted Fox' Vikings-Bears broadcast was "riddled with technical difficulties," which led the net to "cut away prematurely from the first half of action." Viewers were "forced to listen to just the audio feed near the end of the first half and witnessed a premature cut to the FOX halftime show back in studio." Fox Sports VP/Communications Dan Bell said, “There are transmission lines that receive the signal to broadcast the game. We started experiencing reception from the signal to the transmission lines into the TV production truck at Soldier Field. It resulted in us losing the picture and obviously audio in the second quarter.” Bell said that the dropped feed "affected 10 percent of the country" (, 9/15). The CHICAGO TRIBUNE noted Fox "missed the Vikings' third touchdown and went to its halftime show with more than a minute remaining." The net "regained its transmission at the start of the second half" (, 9/15).

ALL APOLOGIES: THE BIG LEAD's Stephen Douglas noted Fox analyst Terry Bradshaw uttered an expletive during a live look-in from a commercial break on FS1's "Fox Football Daily" Friday. Fox' Bell in a statement said, "Fox Sports apologizes for the inadvertent and inappropriate language heard." Bell added Bradshaw was "unaware that we'd be going to the set live at that time" (, 9/14).

FROM THE STUDIO: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes, "Is Ray Lewis using his ESPN 'Sunday NFL Countdown' pregame pulpit to let everyone know the Ravens are suffering from a leadership void since his departure?" Lewis yesterday said of Ravens QB Joe Flacco, “I know [owner Steve] Bisciotti gave him a hundred million dollars. Does that hundred million calculate to you not spending bonus time with your young receivers, with your young team? Talent is seen with the eye. Leadership is rarely seen" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/15)....In N.Y., Phil Mushnick notes CBSSN's Bart Scott was on the Jets-Patriots local pregame show Thursday and was "terrific." Mushnick: "To the point, relaxed, pleasant, engaging, eager to contribute, he spoke clear, applicable sense about the game to follow. So why did Scott go way out of his way to be such a rude, crude, lewd dude to the media throughout his last two seasons with the Jets?" (N.Y. POST, 9/16).

A FLAG ON THE PLAY:'s Richard Deitsch noted there were "a ton of viewers watching CBS's NFL coverage Sunday complaining about the yellow 'Final' tag on their ticker." Plenty of viewers "mistook it as a penalty flag on every play." Deitsch: "Thankfully, CBS Sports management said they'll make a change in time for next week" (, 9/15).

WKMG-CBS in Orlando yesterday "issued an on-screen apology to its viewers for having to show" Jaguars-Raiders in the late afternoon window instead of Broncos-Giants, according to Mike Bianchi of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. WKMG is "forced by the NFL to show" all Jaguars road games because Orlando has been deemed a "secondary TV market for the Jags." The apology, which ran on the bottom of the screen during the 1:00pm ET Dolphins-Colts game, stated, "In accordance with NFL policy, WKMG must carry all Jacksonville Jaguars away games. We apologize for any inconvenience" (, 9/15). The AP noted viewers "took to Twitter to remark on what many saw as an apology from the station." However, WKMG VP & GM Skip Valet said that the set-up "is nothing new," as Orlando has been "designated the secondary Jaguars market" since the team came into the NFL in '95. He said, "I know it's frustrating, but as a CBS station in this market you have to carry the away games" (AP, 9/15). ESPN's Adam Schefter asked, "Have you ever heard of a local station doing that? Very strange story, very interesting story. I guess it speaks to how much Jacksonville is struggling right now and how much people wanted to see the Mannings" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/16). ESPN's Mike Greenberg asked, "Can you imagine a television station in Green Bay apologizing for showing a Packers game? That's when you've sunk to a really new level." Greenberg said when the station apologizes for airing your games, "you've gone beyond being even bad" ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 9/16).

CBS earned a 9.0 overnight rating for Saturday's Alabama-Texas A&M game, the net's highest rated afternoon regular-season college football telecast since a 10.1 for Miami-Notre Dame in '90. The rating is up 200% from a 3.0 for last year's season-opening broadcast on the net featuring Alabama-Arkansas. Saturday's game peaked at a 10.2 rating from 7:00-7:15pm ET (CBS). In Tampa, Tom Jones writes of CBS broadcasters Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson's call of Alabama-Texas A&M, "If you like them, you thought Saturday's broadcast was fine," but "if you don't, then you likely hated it." Jones: "I thought they had a so-so game. Danielson is suddenly fond of popping one-liners, which aren't bad, but aren't nearly as funny as Lundquist's guffaws make them out to be" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 9/16).'s Richard Deitsch wrote Lundquist and Danielson "had an excellent call" of the game. CBS Sports Group Chair Sean McManus last month said, "I am very satisfied with them. I think Gary is the best football analyst in the business and I think Verne is a legendary broadcaster who still on a big game brings that big game feel. I am not anticipating any changes" (, 9/15).

JOHNNY RATINGS: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Rachel Bachman wrote Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel's half-game suspension versus Rice on Aug. 31 "provided a rare glimpse at how a superstar player can boost a national television broadcast." Nielsen broke the game into 15-minute, real-time segments, and the result was Manziel "moved the needle." The game "opened with an average audience of 3.6 million and gathered viewers through the first half as cameras showed Manziel cheering from the sideline." He took the field in the second half with his team leading 28-21, and viewership "climbed to 4.8 million." During the segment when Manziel threw his first touchdown pass, the audience "hit 5.1 million," which was 1.6 million "more than the average audience from ESPN's noon opener last season, when Penn State lost to Ohio in the Nittany Lions' first home game after the death of legendary coach Joe Paterno" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/14).

KEEPING THINGS INTERESTING: In Oklahoma City, Mel Bracht wrote FS Oklahoma's crew of Ron Thulin, Dave Lapham and Jim Knox "worked hard" on Saturday to keep Oklahoma State's "mismatch against Lamar interesting." At times, the "commentary bordered on silliness," as when Knox "reported from the Lamar sideline that the Cardinals defense was getting tired, Lapham suggested to Knox that he 'put some pads on and blitz from the corner.'" Knox then said to Lapham, a former Bengals OL, "They need some help. You need to come on down." Knox in the third quarter "joined the OSU student section in beating paddles on the side of the stands." Still, the trio "had plenty of serious comments in describing OSU's total domination of the visitors" (OKLAHOMAN, 9/15).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL AT A CROSSROADS: In N.Y., Greg Bishop writes Alabama-Texas A&M was a "reprieve from a sport that appears headed for transition and should be headed toward reform." The scandals that have been reported in recent weeks and months "are not new," but the "reaction to them -- mostly a collective yawn, sprinkled with justified outrage -- is." Bishop: "College sports, college football in particular, appear headed toward significant reform" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/16).

CBS Sports will move Greg Anthony to the broadcast booth, making him the net's lead college basketball analyst and pairing him with Jim Nantz. Anthony had been CBS' top studio analyst for college basketball. In turn, the network is moving Clark Kellogg from the lead game analyst position to the lead studio analyst. CBS says he still will be used as an analyst for some games. The Nantz-Anthony pairing will start Dec. 7 with the UCLA-Missouri game (John Ourand, Staff Writer).'s Richard Deitsch reported Kellogg will still "serve as a game analyst on 10-12 regular-season games this season." The change is being made because CBS "thought Kellogg was better suited for the studio and Anthony for the arena." While the on-air staffing for the NCAA Tournament "usually gets named in March with a joint CBS-Turner announcement," it is "near-certain Anthony will now call the Final Four and championship game with Nantz and Steve Kerr of Turner Sports" (, 9/15). Media blogger Ed Sherman writes, "I don’t get it. Nothing against Greg Anthony, but why are Clark Kellogg’s strengths better suited for the studio? I thought he did a fine job as the long-time lead analyst. ... CBS can say what it wants, but it certainly seems to be a demotion in my eyes" (, 9/16).

: ESPN Dir of Programming & Acquisitions Nick Dawson in a Q&A with's Andy Glockner discussed ESPN's "leading role" in men's college basketball and "what his life is like each season" developing college hoops programming schedules. Dawson said, "The biggest challenge which people on the outside probably can recognize is the volume -- the volume of games across the networks. ... The first mega-challenge we face every year is the tonnage, managing through that process of getting all the games scheduled, finding windows for every game, and trying to ensure that we don’t err somewhere along the way, whether it be double-booking a window or something like that." He added execs "try to become as educated [as] we can in terms of perception of what teams are going to be good the following year," though it is "always a gamble." Dawson: "There’s obviously historically some teams that rate better than others, in terms of national brands, passion of the fan base, things like that, so our historical data can show things like that. Rivalries matter. From a nonconference perspective, if it’s a standalone game or we’re just coming in to televise a game, we’re thinking about ‘Is this game going to draw eyeballs from a TV viewership standpoint?’ That’s our number one goal there." Dawson noted conference realignment has impacted the schedule, saying, "This past offseason we really had to sort of look at our overall schedule and revamp it a little bit." With the Big East "splitting up and how the rights situation worked out, we had to go back in and make some changes and reschedule our games to try to put the best games in the best windows" (, 9/13).

ACCORDING TO JIM: In Hartford, Dom Amore wrote while former UConn basketball coach Jim Calhoun "remains tied" to the school in his role as advisor to AD Warde Manuel, Calhoun "is not sure what more, or what else, he might consider doing." He is "talking with satellite radio about doing a sports talk show." Calhoun said, "I love talking about what makes guys good, in all sports." Amore noted Calhoun also has "talked about doing some analyzing of the college game for one of the TV networks" (HARTFORD COURANT, 9/15).

The new Raiders App has "already been downloaded more than 100,000 times" since its release earlier this month, according to Daniel Brown of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. The Raiders partnered with Palo Alto-based TIBCO Software, the company "behind the highly successful Golden State Warriors app that hit the market last year." The Raiders "concluded that innovations such as the unique location-and-activity awareness feature made the app worth the wait." The app "sends personalized real-time notifications regarding ticket offers, social updates -- even parking information -- all based on what each fan likes and dislikes." It also "adjusts for what inventory is available and what special offers and content would be most relevant to the fan." A fan within walking distance of a Raider Image store "might get an alert for a discount offer on a jersey, right there on the spot." The location feature also "enables Raiders sponsors to serve relevant ads based on wherever the fan happens to be." The app is free, but to get premium content, users "sign into the Raider Nation Fan Zone." TIBCO Head of Global Client Technical Services Wen Miao said that the info "helps personalize the user experience for the fans, sending relevant content, offers, and alerts all in real-time anywhere in the world." Brown noted a fan who buys single-game tickets, for example, "might get an alert with a discount on a package of seats to an upcoming game." The Raiders are now offering 20% off at Raider Image "for anyone who downloads the app and presents it at a Raider Image store." The app also "offers basic information such as up-to-the-minute depth charts, news updates, transactions, Raiderette profiles and other information for the hard-core fan" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/14).

OverDog is "the next step in social media for professional athletes, beyond Twitter, Facebook, LockerDome, Instagram and personal blogs," according to Ray Glier of the N.Y. TIMES. Fan interaction with athletes "used to involve autograph hunting," but fans now are "playing Madden and talking through headsets with athletes during games, which last about 20 minutes." Univ. of Miami assistant professor Tywan Martin said, "This is exactly what the leagues are interested in, to have the fans so engaged they lock in with a sport, even in the off-season. Fans live for the opportunity to engage with the people they watch on Sundays and other days." Former NFLer and OverDog co-Founder Hunter Hillenmeyer said that the company "had signed 250 athletes." OverDog is licensed by the NFLPA and Hillenmeyer said that "contracts were pending" with the NHLPA and the MLBPA. Once fans "download the app and share their gaming tags, OverDog connects their game systems with those of pro athletes." Fans "can limit their opponents to athletes from a particular team or sport." Many athletes who were "accustomed to playing games anonymously online can now issue public challenges to OverDog subscribers." Ravens RB Ray Rice said, "We have the free time. We’re not in college anymore. It’s rigorous being an NFL player, but there is also the off-season and other downtime." Hillenmeyer said that the company "will be supported by advertising revenue." Athletes also "might find it lucrative to film themselves playing other athletes." Hillenmeyer: "We can pop it on OverDog’s YouTube channel, and as views go up, these guys can make very real money playing video games from their couch" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/15).

In Tampa, Tom Jones notes NASCAR team Owner Michael Waltrip also is a Fox prerace analyst and "apparently, the network will stick with him" following penalties given to his team for actions during the Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Int'l Raceway on Sept. 7. The incident "again amplifies just how ridiculous that a driver/owner is serving as an analyst on a major network's pregame show." Jones: "Could you imagine Fox paying an NFL owner such as Daniel Snyder or Jerry Jones to comment on other NFL teams? ... So why does Fox think it's okay to have Waltrip on, particularly after what just happened? I would think other Fox commentators would have a hard time criticizing an on-air colleague, which puts the credibility of the whole broadcast under question" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 9/16).

COMFORT LEVEL: In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote Yankees radio broadcasters John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman are "officially a phenomenon," one "so congruous with the 'Yankee way' it has made them the most recognizable, and talked about, broadcast team in the city." Raissman: "Love them or loathe them, every particle of their broadcast DNA has made them better known in the Yankees organization than anybody other than" manager Joe Girardi and the players. With the team's "revolving cast this season," Sterling and Waldman are "more recognizable than some of the Yankees No Namers." It has "always been critical" for radio voices "to make a one-on-one connection with their audience." Waldman and Sterling have "accomplished that in a number of ways" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/15).

DESK MOVES: The ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER announced that former L.A. Times columnist T.J. Simers is joining the paper, with his first piece scheduled to appear on page two of Thursday's sports section. His columns will initially run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, "but often will appear on other days as well" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 9/15)....Seattle Times Sports Editor Don Shelton wrote Geoff Baker is "stepping away from baseball coverage and walking into a new role after seven years covering the Mariners." Baker starting Nov. 3 will be the paper's sports enterprise and investigative reporter. Shelton wrote Baker will "finish the season covering the Mariners" while they "look for his replacement" (SEATTLE TIMES, 9/15).