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Volume 24 No. 137
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NFL Week 7 Overnights: Broncos-Colts Delivers NBC Fourth-Best "SNF" Since '06

The Broncos and QB Peyton Manning continued to move the NFL ratings needle in Week 7. NBC earned a 17.3 overnight for the Broncos-Colts “SNF” telecast to lead all Sunday NFL windows. The figure for Manning’s return to Indianapolis marked NBC’s fourth-best regular-season overnight since it acquired the primetime package prior to the ’06 season. Broncos-Colts is also the best October NFL primetime overnight in 15 years, dating back to a 17.5 overnight for ABC’s Vikings-Packers “MNF” on Oct. 5, 1998. Last night’s game was up 48% from an 11.7 overnight for Steelers-Bengals in Week 7 last season, which aired against the Giants-Cardinals NLCS Game 6. Both Indianapolis and Denver set local ratings records for an “SNF” telecast. The game earned a 49.6 local rating in Denver and a 49.1 in Indianapolis. Meanwhile, CBS earned a 15.2 overnight for the national window yesterday, which featured Ravens-Steelers (43%) and Texans-Chiefs (38%). That figure is down 6% from Week 7 last season, when the net’s national window featured Jets-Patriots in 92% of markets. CBS earned a 10.7 overnight its regional window yesterday, which featured the Jets win over the Patriots in OT. That figure is up 49% from last season’s Week 7 regional window. Fox averaged an 11.8 overnight for its Week 7 singleheader, down 8% (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

'13 GAME
'12 GAME
% +/-
Ravens-Steelers (43%); Texans-Chiefs (38%)
Jets-Patriots (92%)

MANNING MINIMALISM:'s Richard Deitsch wrote viewers "expect a superior broadcast" from "SNF" and they were "rewarded at the top of the Broncos-Colts telecast." NBC's cameras followed Broncos QB Peyton Manning "running onto the Lucas Oil Stadium field, followed by a quick cut to the crowd, followed by a tight shot of Manning warming up as a tribute piece for the quarterback played on a video screen above the stadium." As the video ended and the crowd "gave Manning a standing ovation, play-by-play announcer Al Michaels did what all good announcers do for such a moment: He shut up" (, 10/20). In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes it "wasn't collusion so it must have been coincidence all of Sunday’s pregame shows amounted to nothing more than a giant Pity Party for Peyton Manning." There was "something comical -- make that hilarious -- about a bunch of overpaid NFL studio analysts flipping out over a multi-millionaire quarterback being dissed" by Colts Owner Jim Irsay. Fox' Terry Bradshaw was "the only voice we heard who had the scallions to support the Colts owner" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/21).

TIME TO GET SERIOUS: In Tampa, Tom Jones notes Fox’ Jimmy Johnson during the net's pregame show “grew angry defending Manning and all he did in Indianapolis.” Bradshaw then lightheartedly asked Johnson, “Are you okay, old man?” Michael Strahan then was seen “reaching over and touching Johnson.” Jones writes Johnson was “showing passion and making a strong argument, and Bradshaw, and especially Strahan, turned it into a joke and completely derailed the segment.” It is “rare these days that ‘Fox NFL Sunday’ gets into a good debate,” and “one time it does, Bradshaw and Strahan weren't aware enough to recognize it.” Jones: “Somebody -- such as a producer -- needs to start reining in this show” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 10/21).

'WORTH WATCHING: In Toronto, Damien Cox writes he was “reminded just how good Cris Collinsworth is at his job” during Broncos-Colts last night. He is “certainly the best analyst in football, and probably in sports.” There is never any “need for goofy gimmicks, he never plays the ‘when I played’ card and his ability to create conversation around offensive and defensive plays despite having been an offensive player is extraordinary.” Cox: “Collinsworth isn't about flash. He's just damn good” (, 10/21).

A CLEAN EXPLANATION: The DAILY NEWS' Raissman writes CBS' Dan Dierdorf deserves credit for "quickly cleaning up the mess" when an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was assessed on Patriots DT Chris Jones for pushing a teammate into the line during Jets K Nick Folk's missed field goal attempt in OT. Dierdorf said, "I don't believe I've ever seen that call." Raissman writes the fact Dierdorf was "able to sift through the rubble of what happened actually made his admission even more revealing." In a "chaotic situation, Diedorf delivered the words calmly." He "put viewers first by explaining what went down" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/21). However, in Baltimore, David Zurawik wrote CBS "delivered another hopelessly flawed telecast" of the Ravens-Steelers game. Zurawik: "I am astounded by the lack of focus both in the control room and the booth." Viewers "missed the start of the second play of the Ravens’ first offensive series because the replay of the opening play lasted too long." There also was a "lack of focused analysis" from Dan Fouts. Zurawik: "I need a bye week from the ineptitude of CBS" (, 10/20).

BLAME GAME: In Dallas, Barry Horn noted that when Cowboys QB Tony Romo threw an interception in the third quarter, Fox' Troy Aikman said, "Just a poorly thrown ball thrown by Tony Romo." However, the Fox cameras "caught Romo lecturing" RB Phillip Tanner, "who appeared to have been the intended receiver." Cowboys radio announcers Brad Sham and Babe Laufenberg "deduced from Romo’s reaction that Tanner ran the wrong route." It "wasn’t until the postgame that Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and Romo confirmed Tanner was in the wrong place at the wrong time" (, 10/20).

LONG TIME COMING: In DC, Leonard Shapiro wrote under the header, "For Too Long, Sports Journalists Glossed Over Football's Violence. I Was One Of Them." He wrote, "I covered the NFL over four decades dating back to 1972. Now semi-retired myself and five years removed from day-to-day football coverage, I have one main regret: not focusing more of my reporting and writing on the absolute brutality of the sport, particularly the painful post-football lives of so many players. Instead, like many other sports journalists, I spent much of my career writing positive pieces about the league and its players." The TV, print and digital news media "must take some responsibility for frequently glorifying the unadulterated mayhem of this perilous competition." Shapiro: "We should have been on this story far earlier" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/19).