FOX Has Joe Buck Calling Yankees, Not NFL. Plus, Blackouts Galore.

↵There's no doubt that football will always do a better number than baseball, even with FOX now entering the 2009 MLB Postseason party. According to Nielsen, last year's finale of World Series Game Five, FOX drew an average of 19.8 million viewers, which is close to the same rating FOX got for week one of the NFL season this year. In fact, last year's World Series game on Sunday had just over 15-million viewers, which is slightly above the FOX average number of viewers for their regular-season regional broadcasts. ↵

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↵So the numbers would indicate that FOX should send the network's top announcer to cover the sport that more people will be watching, especially considering the baseball playoffs aren't yet in the World Series, and the ratings for the LCS will most likely be lower than those for the World Series and continuing the comparison, the NFL games. But the Yankees are playing on FOX, and the Yankees have an incredible hold over the American sports media. Even an undefeated Giants team facing an undefeated Saints team won't get the kind of media coverage the Yankees will get this week. It will be interesting to see which New York team gets the better FOX TV ratings coming out of the weekend. ↵

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↵With the Yankees on FOX on Friday, Saturday and Monday, we'll have plenty of Buck to hold us over for the next few days, even if we'll have a rare Buck-less Sunday this weekend. Let's get to the games. ↵

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↵There are 14 games in the NFL weekend, 13 on Sunday, and per reports, as many as three could be blacked out. The Raiders are blacked out in their game against the Eagles, the 71st blackout since the Raiders returned to Oakland in 1995. The Jaguars will be blacked out for the third-straight home game, and it looks more and more likely that the Jags won't have any home games on local TV this season. Even the Bengals, a 4-1 team in first place in their division, need an extension to sell out their game against the Texans. According to USA Today, officials with the Bengals want to thank their fans for being so great -- they just wish they had 3,000 more of them: ↵

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↵⇥"We are continuing to work to lift the blackout. It's unclear if we will make it -- we have more than 3000 tickets to go -- but we have great fans and hope we can reach the level that allows our sellout streak to continue." ↵
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↵(UPDATE: Chad Ochocinco, with some help from Motorola, bought up the remaining tickets for this week's game against the Texans.) So why does the NFL continue to punish its own fans? Clearly, the performance on the field should have fans in Cincinnati excited about the team. So maybe there's another reason for the lack of attendance -- like, perhaps, the 10-percent unemployment rate in the metropolitan area. And as we've learned, the NFL really doesn't care about you, unless you show up. Or buy the Red Zone channel. Or purchase the Sunday Ticket package. Or, I'm sure, just cut a check directly to Roger Goodell. That might avoid the blackout, I guess. ↵

↵FOX
↵FOX has the game of the week in Giants at Saints, and rather than mix up their other top crews, FOX moves Thom Brennaman into Buck's chair next to Troy Aikman. Kenny, Moose and Goose get Lions at Packers, with Dick Stockton and Charles Davis calling Carolina at Tampa. Ron Pitts and John Lynch get St. Louis at Jacksonville, which could, again, break a record for the least-viewed NFL game in history. In the late games, Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan get Philly at Oakland and Chris Myers and Brian Billick get Arizona at Seattle. FOX really only has one watchable game this week. Good thing it's baseball playoff time. ↵CBS
↵CBS loves Tom Brady. That has to be the reason why the late game against a sub-par Tennessee team has Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and more than 80 percent of the country. The Bills at the Jets, called by Dick Enberg and Dan Fouts, will be in some major pockets, including New York, Los Angeles and most of Florida. ↵

↵CBS has four games in the early time slot with the best of the bunch -- and the one going to most of the country -- being Baltimore at Minnesota. Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf will get the call of a game that will be far more than just Favre. In the other games, Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots get Cleveland at Pittsburgh, Ian Eagle and Rich Gannon get Kansas City at Washington and Don Criqui and Randy Cross get Houston and Cincinnati. ↵

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↵Map links and announce crew pairings courtesy of The 506. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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