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Volume 25 No. 236
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Low-Scoring Pats-Rams Affair Leads To Lowest SB Rating In 10 Years

CBS drew a 44.9 overnight rating for the Patriots’ 13-3 win over the Rams in Super Bowl LIII last night, and the lowest-scoring Super Bowl yet on the field led to the lowest rating for the game since ’09. Patriots-Rams is down 5% from a 47.4 for Eagles-Patriots last year on NBC. Two years ago, the Patriots’ comeback against the Falcons on Fox drew a 48.8, while three years ago, CBS drew a 49.0 for Broncos-Panthers. Boston drew a 57.4 local rating for last night's game, which is the market’s best Super Bowl figure since Pats-Seahawks in ’15 (61.0 rating). L.A. drew a 44.6 local rating for the game, which is the market’s best Super Bowl figure since Cowboys-Steelers in ’96 (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

SUPER BOWL OVERNIGHT RATING TREND
YEAR
NETWORK
MATCHUP
OVERNIGHT
'19
CBS
Patriots-Rams
44.9
'18
NBC
Eagles-Patriots
47.4
'17
Fox
Patriots-Falcons
48.8
'16
CBS
Broncos-Panthers
49.0
'15
NBC
Patriots-Seahawks
49.7
'14
Fox
Seahawks-Broncos
47.6
'13
CBS
Ravens-49ers
48.1
'12
NBC
Giants-Patriots
47.8
'11
Fox
Packers-Steelers
47.9
'10
CBS
Saints-Colts
46.4
'09
NBC
Steelers-Cardinals
42.1
Download the
Super Bowl Ratings Trend

BIG DIP IN THE BIG EASY: New Orleans drew a 26.1 rating for the game, which is the lowest figure for any of the 56 metered markets last night. It also marks the lowest rating ever for a Super Bowl in the market. New Orleans last year drew a 53.0 rating for Eagles-Patriots, making it the No. 7 overall market. Many people in and around the city called for a boycott of the Super Bowl following the controversial no-call in the NFL Championship game (Karp). In New Orleans, Mike Scott writes Saints fans "delivered a loud-and-clear, black-and-gold message to the NFL in the form of TV ratings for the big game." The 26.1 rating marks a "dramatic decline" from traditional numbers in the market. The only recent Super Bowl that "earned less than a 50 rating in New Orleans was in 2017," when Patriots beat the Falcons, the "most bitter of Saints rivals." However, even that game drew a 48.4 rating (NOLA.com, 2/4). Also in New Orleans, Jeff Duncan writes New Orleans residents "picked a good Super Bowl to skip." Duncan: "By any standard, this was one of the least watchable games in the history of the event. The game was utterly devoid of drama, excitement or controversy" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 2/4).

ROMO SOLID OUT OF THE BOX: YAHOO SPORTS' Kevin Kaduk writes CBS' Tony Romo "didn't venture into his Kreskin routine as much this time around" as during the AFC Championship game, but he was still "more than solid" in his Super Bowl debut Romo and Jim Nantz "provided an entertaining broadcast of a game that was often anything but" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/4). In N.Y., Draper & Hoffman note Nantz following a third-quarter punt in "mock excitement" said, "It's getting exciting now." Romo said, "This is hard to watch. I mean, this is how many punts in a row?" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/4). TIME's Kathy Dowd wrote although the game "stayed snoozy until well into the fourth quarter, fans were praising Romo for at least attempting to keep things interesting" (TIME.com, 2/3). However, in L.A., Tom Hoffarth writes Romo and Nantz may have been "too soft" with Patriots WR Julian Edelman, who was named Super Bowl MVP, for "failing to mention that he was suspended four games this season for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances" (L.A. TIMES, 2/4). In N.Y., Andrew Marchand writes Romo and Nantz "never mentioned" that Edelman began the year suspended. They also "didn't go deep enough" as to why Pats coach Bill Belichick was "shutting down" Rams coach Sean McVay's offense (N.Y. POST, 2/4). THE ATHLETIC's Richard Deitsch notes CBS "owed it to viewers" to mention Edelman's suspension. Additionally, Romo "dropped some hagiography about Brady on his obvious desire to win this Super Bowl" (THEATHLETIC.com, 2/4).

FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT: The N.Y. POST's Marchand writes the game's "best moment belonged to sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson." After the game ended, Nantz "threw it down to Wolfson ... as she tried to corral Tom Brady amid a sea of photographers." Wolfson stood by for three minutes as Brady celebrated with Belichick, Pats Owner Robert Kraft and other players before he "stopped to speak with her" (N.Y. POST, 2/4). In Albany, Pete Dougherty writes the "postgame chaos" as Wolfson tried to interview Brady "surpassed most of what we saw" during the game itself. Dougherty: "Credit Wolfson for eventually getting a 105-second chat with the six-time Super Bowl winner" (Albany TIMES UNION, 2/4). In Chicago, Rosenthal & Bannon wrote Wolfson showed "amazing poise" and was a "true pro on the field right after the game." The postgame scene devolved "into a mosh pit" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/4). In Charlotte, Scott Fowler writes Wolfson was "doing her best down there, but this was bad TV." It was the "sort of thing that gives the media a bad name -- and it looked kind of dangerous" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/4). YAHOO SPORTS' Shalise Manza Young wrote the postgame segment "became an embarrassing, painful few minutes" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/3). CBS producer Jim Rikhoff said, "It was great live TV. It is not scripted. It does not run perfectly like a sitcom. It was a great, unscripted moment and she handled herself like a professional" (THEATHLETIC.com, 2/4). Meanwhile, the L.A. TIMES' Hoffarth writes Wolfson during the game offered "several key updates" on Rams RB Todd Gurley's "erratic participation" (L.A. TIMES, 2/4). 

PREGAME PRAISE: On Long Island, Neil Best writes CBS "did its job during the many hours of the Super Bowl LIII pregame show." The net was "particularly proud of a segment on Atlanta's past and present role in the civil rights movement." It was narrated by Hank Aaron and included interviews with U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young. That segment was "followed by another effective but might lighter one, in which CBS cameras followed the family" of Rams OT Andrew Whitworth in the week leading up to the game (NEWSDAY, 2/4). In Houston, David Barron wrote of the 17 hours of pregame shows on CBS, ESPN and NFL Network, "arguably the most memorable segment was the one on ESPN titled 'The Brotherhood' on California high school quarterback Alex Ruiz, whose right leg was amputated below the knee after a gruesome on-field injury." CBS "came closest to discussing the socio-political atmosphere of late in a segment" with NFL Exec VP/Football Operations Troy Vincent, CBSSN's Amy Trask and retiring Saints TE Benjamin Watson. Vincent, referring to the actions by activist players, said, "The disruption was necessary. It got us to the point where ... we're solving problems in local communities" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/4).

BEING PEYTON MANNING: In Cleveland, Marc Bona writes the NFL “promo movie that aired about 15 minutes prior to kickoff featured Peyton Manning in fine self-deprecating form in a pitch room” to CBS execs. Actor John Malkovich also “plays his intense self,” and the 4-minute, 30-second promo “is worth it” (CLEVELAND.com, 2/4).