Fox’s record-breaking NFL ratings prove that no one watches the broadcasters

How much is the dog in the window?

If you need more proof, consider this from sports television executives — who supposedly know what’s best for viewers:

The Giants-Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game on Fox set a record for the most-watched regular season game since 1988.

An estimated 42 million viewers.

If we measure such a record by the network’s hiring and spending habits of callers, the record number reflects Fox’s departure from the longtime team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, who were brought in by ESPN this season for a staggering sum. $170 million over five years.

In turn, those numbers also reflect the national approval ratings of Fox’s new No. 1 team of Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen. Olsen is expected to be traded for Tom Brady next season for $375 million over 10 years.

After CBS signed Tony Romo for nearly $180 million over 10 years, the race to see network checkbooks as scratch paper seems to have become a scene from “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World.” Additionally, NBC extended Chris Collinsworth’s annual salary of $12.5 million, up from $4 million each.

Of course, on this Thanksgiving — any NFL-on-television day — that kind of audience announcing the team or announcing the personal preference activism didn’t work. Giants-Cowboys drew huge audiences because it was Giants-Cowboys on Thanksgiving afternoon, America was mostly indoors and barely listened if it was part of the holiday gathering.

Joe Buck, left, and Troy Aikman

There was no denying Buck and Aikman because it didn’t matter whether Trudy, the cashier at Ernie’s diner, called the game for America or not. Commentators can make or break telecasts, but they can’t make us watch at $250 million or 25 cents.

Will most people watch Brady’s debut just because he’s Brady? Maybe. But a football match must have been added. It was all over after his first TV show; the novelty will be the hood. It will be an incredibly expensive decoration.

You and I know it. We’ve always known that. TV executives? Not a tip. No doubt.

At the same time, football, being a televised product, has never lost the meaning of basic football.

Kevin Burkhardt
Kevin Burkhardt
Sportswire icon via Getty Images
Greg Olsen
Greg Olsen
Getty Images

In a waste of time, effort and money, Fox sent six pregame and halftime panelists to sit outdoors at the Michigan-Ohio State game on Saturday, where each spoke barely intelligible sentences. It was a prearranged invitation to watch another game. Great!

ABC/ESPN’s Notre Dame-USC game was turned into an emotional mess by Kirk Herbstreit, who realized we tuned in to hear him spout endless gibberish after every game just to impress himself.

He was knocked down several times on a field goal attempt in the second quarter of the Bears-Jets game on Sunday at Fox. Whose ball was that? Great question! We learn this after a series of commercials, first a slow-motion crowd shot and thus the last.

Then back to Daryl “Moose” Johnston, who decided to deliver another non-stop seminar during that game on how good defense can often stop opponents from scoring. Johnston could have them open a bar at an AA meeting.

Or do we have it all wrong? Would the viewership have been even higher if Buck and Aikman had called it Giants-Cowboys? Would that number have been millions more if Romo had made the call?

Strike by Iran

The apparent political ambush of US World Cup coach Gregg Berhalter and captain Tyler Adams by Iranian “journalists” — government operatives — was both aggravating and hilarious. In connection with the match between Iran and the US on Tuesday, the Iran Strike Team raised “questions” about American racism and even US inflation.

23-year-old Adams played well, calm, composed, respectful, but unapologetic for representing our country.

Berhalter, who looks like a representative of Nike royalty and sees 1-0 leads as insurmountable, snorted. He was actually apologized to by US Soccer for temporarily removing the seal of the Islamic Republic from the Iranian flag.

Gregg Berhalter spoke to the media at the World Cup.
Gregg Berhalter spoke to the media at the World Cup.
FIFA via Getty Images

“All we can do is apologize on behalf of the players and staff,” he said. He should have said something like “I think you know why” or “Get lost”.

He could have pointed to a US list of blacks, whites, Hispanics and immigrants, and then asked reporters from Iran’s “free” media whether that met their definition of racism.

Berhalter cannot be expected to be knowledgeable about such matters, but he might have asked in response, “How can you, representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran, ask about American racism?

“Where did hundreds of thousands of Persian/Iranian Christians and Jews go after centuries of threateningly telling them they could not breathe in the Islamic Republic of Iran?”

Finally, why don’t you ask, after protesting the degradation of Iranian women and the most basic human rights that put their lives in danger, the safety of Iranian football players and their families? Will they disappear from sight? Were the Ayatollahs beheaded or just imprisoned?

Berhalter might have added, “Don’t you all have a mother?”

Sacrificing easy scores for long shots

What is the difference between selfishness and stupidity? On Monday on TNT, Shaq O’Neal and his “remarkable” team delivered an interesting indictment of how the NBA lost 3-pointers.

In the Celtics’ 140-105 win over the Hornets, Derrick White jammed for the easiest of the lone runs or two points. But as White approached the rim — not a defender in sight — he threw the ball to a teammate who was walking comfortably in 3-point range.

It was funny. And Charles Barkley’s three-word reaction – “Come on, man!” – nailed it.

My balloon has a name, it’s Roger…

It’s the NFL’s “flexible” season for TV money, when paying customers—bait-and-switched suckers—can hang out at the game, get home at 1 a.m., and otherwise go to hell. Remember what Roger Goodell said, “It’s all about our fans.”

Roger Goodell
Roger Goodell

Reader Bob Mantz sent in a photo of a skeleton on a park bench, explaining that it was a picture of a man waiting for Nike-rich social justice activist LeBron James to support Chinese protesters who were beaten and arrested for defending the same human rights defender James champions.

There were four minutes left in Maryland’s 37-0 win over Rutgers last Saturday when the Terrapins kept throwing into the end zone. Why blast them when you can humiliate them? Jason Ross and Matt McGloin at BTN had nothing to say about it.

Note to Fox’s Kevin Burkhardt: Stop yelling. You are too good for it.

The only thing Giants ownership and management would have to sacrifice to even re-sign Odell Beckham Jr. is their value.

We lost comedian Freddie Roman this week at the age of 85. Freddie had a soft spot, especially for sports-related fundraisers. He happily does 20 minutes of wonderful things, his pleasure. Making people laugh was not only his job and gift, but his pleasure.


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