Which 8-8 team delivered highest NFL rating for CBS, NBC, Fox, ESPN?

I overdosed on the Dallas Cowboys this year. It seemed like Jerry Jones’ mediocre bunch were featured more in Chicago than the Bears.

Yet there is no denying Cowboys can generate the ratings. Even after all these years, they still are America’s Team.

Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News reports a game involving the Cowboys pulled the highest rating of the year for CBS, NBC, ESPN and Fox Sports.

Last Sunday’s Cowboys-Washington game on NBC had 30.3 million viewers, the most for a prime-time game since 1996.

Here’s the rundown of the top-ranked games for the network:

CBS -Steelers-Cowboys (Dec. 16): 26.9 million

Fox – Redskins-Cowboys (Nov. 22): 28.7 million

ESPN – Bears-Cowboys (Oct. 1): 16.6 million

NBC – Cowboys-Redskins (Dec. 30): 30.3 million

The Cowboys did not appear on NFL Network this year. Surely if they did, they would have had the top … Continue Reading

Lundquist recalls Laettner shot for CBS special: You hope you get call right

Received a nice holiday gift yesterday. Dan Sabreen of CBS Sports PR asked if I wanted to talk to Verne Lundquist.

Most definitely. Lundquist is an all-time favorite and one of the true all-world nice guys.

The focus of our interview is the kickoff of CBS’ special programming celebrating 75 years of the NCAA basketball tournament. The series begins Saturday, Dec. 29 (2 p.m. ET) with two shows: 75 years: Behind the Mic and 75 years: A Coach’s Perspective.

Lundquist has a segment in the “Mic” show. Naturally, it centers on his call of the best college basketball game of all-time: Duke-Kentucky in 1992 and the legendary Laettner shot. Below, Lunquist, Len Elmore, who was the analyst for that game, and Laettner recall an interesting incident from earlier in the game.

Here’s my Q/A with Lundquist on his memories of calling that game.

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Sunday books: Q/A with Nick Faldo on his new instruction book; It’s all in the knees

I didn’t realize I was setting up Nick Faldo for an easy line.

In Faldo’s new book, A Swing for Life, he talks about the important of stable knees in the golf swing. Not that this 15-handicapper knows much about the game, but I told him that I’ve been trying to get my wife to focus on her knees on the rare occasion she plays.

“It helps her from swaying all over the place,” I said to Faldo.

Not missing a beat, Faldo quickly replied, “It’s not a good thing to have a wife that sways all over the place.”

Rim shot.

If you’re looking for a Christmas gift for your swaying golfer, you could do much worse than getting instruction from a six-time major winner. Technically, Faldo updated his 1995 version of the book.

However, the 2012 version features … Continue Reading

Goren stories of The Greek: He was bigger than life; recalls $10,000 debt never collected

Ed Goren has encountered many memorable characters during his 46 years in television. One, though, always has stood out: Dimetrios Georgios Synodinos, aka Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder.

During an interview for my recent Q/A with the longtime CBS and Fox Sports producer, Goren told a long story about The Greek. It was Goren and cohort Mike Pearl who set the wheels in motion for The Greek reinforcing his legend on CBS’ NFL Today.

Goren’s tales were so good; I figured The Greek deserved his own post. Here’s Goren recalling the man and the $10,000 debt he never collected:

*******

First meetings: I was at CBS News doing the sports element of the daily affiliate feed (in the early 70s). I had an idea for this guy, Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder. I thought maybe we could do something with him.

Back then, whenever there … Continue Reading

Marv Albert at 71: I’m better now than I’ve ever been

It was my turn on the teleconference, and I asked Marv Albert how he felt about passing the big 7-0-mark in age in 2011 and whether he had any intention to slow down.

Albert, now 71, answered the question, and I didn’t think much about it.

However, the following day, I received word that Albert wanted to talk to me. A few minutes later, he was on the line.

“I didn’t feel like I gave you a very good answer to your question,” Albert said. “Your question caught off guard. I really haven’t been asked about it.”

Indeed, turning 70 isn’t news in this business anymore. It is just a speed bump for broadcasters and analysts these days. The landscape is jammed with guys who have blitzed past the notion of retirement age. Brent Musburger is 73; Verne Lundquist is 72. And heck, they’re just kids … Continue Reading

My First Job: Gottlieb predicts Patriots doomed with Brady at QB; Set to debut new CBS Sports Network show Monday

Doug Gottlieb is ready to roll on his new gig with CBS. Monday, he will debut a new show, Lead Off, on CBS Sports Network. Airing at Midnight ET, the nightly program will focus on the next day’s conversation in sports (Details below).

Also, Gottlieb soon will have an afternoon show on the new CBS Sports Radio Network and he will be part of CBS’ NCAA tournament coverage.

Now that he has reached the top, it seems to be a good time to reflect on how he got started. Gottlieb has come a long way since his days as a guard at Oklahoma State. Even back then, he was thinking about a career in broadcasting.

In the latest edition of My First Job, Gottlieb recalls his first jobs in the business and how he was just slightly off on his first prediction about … Continue Reading

My first job: David Feherty trades clubs for microphone at age 37

David Feherty will be in my town next week for the Ryder Cup at Medinah. Among his many duties for the Golf Channel will be doing a special Chicago-edition of Feherty Live with Michael Phelps among the guests. It will air Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET.

Feherty usually pokes fun at his game, or lack thereof. However, he was a member of the 1991 European Ryder Cup team and had three top 7 finishes in majors, which meant he was a pretty good player in his day.

Feherty, though, decided to walk away from the game at the relatively young age of 37. In my special feature looking at people’s first job in the business, he discusses why he took up CBS on their offer to become an on-course analyst in 1996.

Here’s David:

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I was standing at the bar at Akron, Ohio. I had … Continue Reading

Gottlieb lands new late-night show on CBS Sports Network

Doug Gottlieb now has a TV show to add to his radio duties at CBS. The package is a big reason why he left ESPN.

From CBS Sports Network:

CBS Sports Network is speeding up the daily sports conversation with a new weekday late night show, LEAD OFF. Hosted by Doug Gottlieb, LEAD OFF will provide perspective on the sports news of the day, advancing the storylines fans will be discussing in the morning. The one-hour show will air live weekdays (12:00 Midnight-1:00 AM, ET) and debuts Monday, Oct. 22.

Instead of waiting until the morning, LEAD OFF will serve as the first opportunity for sports fans to discuss and debate, ‘What’s next?’. The show will feature a mix of live guests, highlights, energetic debate and commentary from Gottlieb and others, reacting tothe biggest stories and events of

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Is it possible to get too much of this NFL? Are you kidding? Finally, real games

Remember that scene in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas where the people of Whoville stand around the tree and sing that song that I now can’t get out of my head?

That’s how I feel about the start of the NFL season.

Fah who for-aze! Fah who for-aze!

Welcome NFL, Welcome football,

Come this way! Come this way!

Ah yes, our fest begins tonight and doesn’t end until Super Sunday in February. Dallas at New York Giants on NBC and away we go.

Now more than ever before, we can’t get enough of this NFL. The networks keep feeding us more and more, as if that 48-ounce steak they once served now is a mere appetitzer.

Endless pregame shows, endless during-the-week shows on various networks, and a new slate of Thursday night games. Picture Homer Simpson sucking up a dump truck worth of … Continue Reading

Agree? CBS’ McManus and Barrow not concerned about slow play in golf

Slow play has been a big issue in golf this year.

Listeners to my Saturday morning golf talk radio show on WSCR-AM 670 in Chicago know I hate slow play worse than taking four shots out of a bunker. Believe me, that’s not an unusual occurrence during one of my rounds.

The biggest slow-play culprits are the pros, some of whom have turned the game into a molasses fest.

The gridlock pace could get really bad at this week’s PGA Championship. If Pete Dye’s Kiawah course plays extremely difficult as forecast, the potential is there for marathon rounds.

During a conference call, I asked CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus and golf producer Lance Barrow if they were concerned about slow play this week, and golf in general. To my surprise, they weren’t.

McManus:

 I’m not terribly concerned about it. Having watched

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