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 … Continue Reading

Tale of two legends: new documentaries examine careers and lives of Barry Sanders, Earl Campbell







They had two different styles carrying the ball. Barry Sanders ran around people; Earl Campbell ran through them.

They also had two different lives after football. Sanders retired early long before his body burned out; Campbell wasn’t as fortunate. It is stunning to see the one-time beast in a football uniform struggle to walk.

The careers and lives of both legends are examined in two new documentaries. Still Standing: The Earl Campbell Story, produced by Ross Greenburg, airs tonight at 11 p.m. (ET) on NBC Network. Wednesday, Sanders is the latest subject of A Football Life on NFL Network at 8 p.m. ET.

Here’s the rundown on both films. Highly recommended.


NBC Sports Network presents Still Standing: The Earl Campbell Story, a riveting documentary about one of the greatest running backs

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What NFL teams have highest, lowest TV share in their markets? Hint all are recent Super Bowl winners

NFL TV ratings are huge. Period, end of sentence.

However, in some markets, they are bigger than others. The ratings, specifically “share,” provide a good barometer to gauge the fan intensity for the home team.

And the verdict from last week’s games?

No. 1: Saints and Steelers tied.

Bottom of the list: Giants in New York.

Below is a chart sent out by Dan Masonson of the NFL for week 12; it doesn’t include the Philadelphia-Carolina game on Monday. Also, there were blackouts in San Diego and Tampa Bay.

First some Ratings 101 on the terminology from Masonson:

Rating is % of TV homes in that market tuned into the game.

Share is % of TV homes in that market with TV “physically tuned” into the game.


Market size comes into play when determining total viewers for the home … Continue Reading

NFL TV experience still doesn’t compare to being at a game

I took the family to a Bears game a few weeks ago. I froze despite wearing long underwear; I had limited perspective with seats in the endzone; and somebody forgot to put the chocolate in the hot chocolate I ordered at the concession stand.

And I loved being there.

There has been some concern of late that the TV production quality for NFL games is so superior that people will choose the comforts of their couch over popping for those high-priced tickets. None other than commish Roger Goodell said: “One of our biggest challenges is the fan experience at home. HD is only going to get better.”

ESPN’s Outside the Lines dedicated Sunday’s show to the issue with a report from Darren Rovell. ESPN.com’s Rick Reilly gave more reasons to skip the drive to the stadium. He writes:

7) The

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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 … Continue Reading

It’ll be President Romney if ‘Redskin Rule’ holds true to form

Update: OK, the Republicans have to feel good about Romney’s chances based on Carolina’s victory over Washington. Here’s my updated post from Friday.


Forget about all the analysis and polls and polls about polls.

The outcome of next Tuesday’s Obama-Romney rumble was decided at the Carolina-Washington game in D.C. Sunday.

So says Steve Hirdt, inventor of the “Redskins Rule.”

Hirdt, the executive vice-president for the Elias Sports Bureau, has determined that the outcome of the Redskins final home game prior to the election has predicted the winner of 17 of the last 18 elections; or 18 for 18 according to a Hirdt “revision” in 2004. If the Redskins win, the incumbent party remains in office. And if they lose, the other guys take control.

So Carolina’s victory bodes well for Romney, who will take everything he can get going … Continue Reading

Q/A with Alex Flanagan: On Notre Dame’s big season and Brian Kelly; toughest NFL coaches for halftime interview

Alex Flanagan has been NBC’s sideline reporter for Notre Dame games since 2007. It hasn’t exactly been a joy ride. The Irish went 3-9 during her first year, and the following seasons, which saw Charlie Weis lose his job in 2009, haven’t come close to meeting the absurdly high expectations in South Bend.

So with Notre Dame 8-0 going into Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh, Flanagan is experiencing her first real dose of Irish fever.

“It’s great,” Flanagan said. “In other years, it could be tough doing that seventh or eighth home game in November. There’s a whole new feel and energy now. There’s definitely a different vibe in the building.”

I had a chance to talk with Flanagan about Notre Dame and Brian Kelly; her duties as a sideline reporter for NBC and NFL Network; her crazy schedule; and the … Continue Reading

The rise and fall of Eddie DeBartolo: New NFL Network documentary looks at former 49ers owner

Check out the latest edition for A Football Life on Eddie DeBartolo (NFL Network, 8 p.m. ET). A fascinating look at an owner who had an incredible run. And then it all ended.

Here’s the link to the preview.

NFL Films senior producer Peter Frank talked about the documentary in an interview with Street & Smith’s Sports Business Daily:

Q: Was DeBartolo receptive to the idea of profiling him, or was he hesitant?
Frank: It was hard at first. He and his people were reluctant. I just gather that they’ve been approached by other people about doing his story, too. I think they knew us from his time as an owner and that certainly helped that there are actually people in this building here who know him and who know some of the other 49ers front office folks.

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Q/A with Mike Tirico: On busy schedule; critics of Gruden; overrated impact of announcers

I tell Mike Tirico he needs to work harder.

“Joe Buck is working two games in one day,” I said. “What’s wrong with you? You’re slacking off.”

Tirico laughed. “I sent Joe a text. I told him it must have been awesome to have been a part of that,” Tirico said.

Seriously, Tirico doesn’t have to take a back seat to anyone with his schedule. Actually, October is a slow month for him. He only has Monday Night Football as far as play-by-play is concerned.

Starting in November, he will pick up weekly NBA games. His calendar includes Big Ten college basketball games in the winter and three of the four golf majors in the spring and summer. He also does weekly radio shows and podcasts for ESPN.

For all I know, Tirico calls sandlot games in his spare time.… Continue Reading

35 years ago: How too much wine nearly cost Skip Bayless scoop on Joe Namath retiring

Skip Bayless has a tremendous story about Joe Namath’s retirement. When we worked at the Chicago Tribune, I was like a kid, asking him to retell it like some favorite old tale.

Well, it just so happens that Namath played his last game 35 years ago this week. As this classic Monday Night Football video below shows, he was dreadful, throwing four interceptions in the Rams’ loss to the Bears.

To mark the occasion, I thought it was a good time to share Bayless’ story. Here’s Skip:


I did sidebars (for the Los Angeles Times) on their game-days. We had a mutual friend. He put in a good word for me with Namath.

Namath hated the media. He was at war with the New York media and soon was at war with the LA media. He wouldn’t talk with … Continue Reading