11 NFL overtime games highlight impact of parity on TV ratings – Sportico.com


Before Oliver Stone comes in and reboots Section as a sporting image, the “any sunday” chestnut served as a rhetorical shortcut for the NFL guys, a way to underscore the league’s essential parity. Any Sunday, any team could beat any other team, at least that’s what we were told, provided that first “any team” does not refer. at the Browns 2017 or, to choose a more classic vintage, at the Bucs 1976.

From Stone Any Sunday crashed in theaters 22 years ago, the expression has mostly fallen into disuse among the broadcast elite. As much as the NFL is rightly proud of the parity that makes its product on the pitch so compelling, no one in the organization necessarily cherishes the association of the cliché with the film, in large part because Sunday is nuto certified. (It’s pretty entertaining when Al Pacino starts his oops-forgot-to-take-my-Seroquel pep talk with, “I chased anyone who ever loved me,” but that bit of inspired madness can’t prepare for the eyeball scene.)

While Stone’s portrayal of professional football appears to have been influenced by hallucinogens – a team logo incorporates the scary eye-and-pyramid-shaped thing on the back of a dollar bill – the parity that is at the heart of the NFL’s disproportionate popularity is clearly real. In the first six weeks of the season, 11 games have been decided in overtime, a tally that includes three of last Sunday’s outings.

Two of those OT showdowns aired in a nationwide broadcast window (Cowboys-Patriots on CBS and Seahawks-Steelers on NBC’s Sunday night football), and Monday night’s Bills-Titans game nearly missed. The last time three NFL games required an OT finish in a single day was in November 2010.

The high point for OT games played in the first six weeks is 12, which was established in 1995. By the end of the season, the pace had slowed down somewhat and the final tally stood at 21. OT matches. The permanent record for a full season is 25, set in 2002.

As you might expect, the biggest televised draw of the week went to OT, as the Cowboys claimed their first-ever victory over the Patriots from Bill Belichick on a touchdown pass from Dak Prescott. The game, which aired in CBS’s Sunday preview window, was a real thrill, as Dallas and New England combined for five scores in the fourth quarter, including three in the final 150 seconds of settlement. . CBS averaged 23.2 million viewers and a household rating of 12.1, in what is now the fourth most-watched NFL game of 2021. At this point, CBS has bragging rights from four of the league’s 10 biggest games and deliveries for its coast-to-coast broadcasts are up 16% from the previous year.

In prime time, NBC’s coverage of the Seahawks and Steelers reunion averaged 16.3 million viewers, and although this marks the lowest television attendance for a Sunday night football aired since the start of the season, the year-over-year increase was still 30%. As much as NBC may have been stung by the absence of Seattle’s Russell Wilson, who is in the injured reserve for the first time in his 10-year NFL career, and some one-on-one competition from MLB (Dodgers-Braves NLCS Game 2 averaged just over 5 million viewers on TBS), the Super Bowl XL revival easily surpassed 12.6 million fans who tuned in to the Rams-49ers from last fall.

For reasons that are not entirely apparent, the NFL has seen a slight drop in Week 6 ratings in recent years. TV numbers then tend to level off at Week 8, although there is nothing in the data that presents a convincing argument as to why the decline and subsequent recovery occurs with such regularity. Whatever the cause, last week’s drop didn’t have much of an impact on the overall image of television; Since the start of the season, the NFL now has an average of 16.6 million viewers on its regional and national windows, up 13% from 14.7 million at this point in the 2020 campaign.

Since the start of the season on September 9, the average margin of victory for all games broadcast on national television windows has been 8.8 points.