A lot of the work I've been doing lately has involved asking TV executives when people are going to get sick of football. Sure, all of them are worried that at some point the bubble will burst. None of them think it's going to happen any time soon, and Thursday night was the greatest example.
Led by New Orleans -- in which more than a third of the people in that market watched -- the night of 16 Week 4 pre-season games dominated television across local markets on Thursday. Only two markets that split teams, the Bay Area and New York could really walk away saying they drew anything less than terrific ratings. Both of those markets could still combine the two and point and how many people tuned into football.
Some of the more frightening numbers: A 21.3 rating for the Steelers game nearly tripled an 8.3 for the competing Pirates game, which is just disturbing considering the Bucs are in a pennant race. The Titans beat the season opener for Vanderbilt football, 14.2 to 12.5. The two New York teams (5.5 for the Giants, 3.6 for the Jets) easily trumped college football (1.1 for North Carolina-South Carolina, 0.8 for Vandy-Ole Miss, 0.6 for Rutgers-Fresno State). The Vikings (16.2) easily beat Minnesota football's season opener (5.6).
I've listed the ratings in all 29 markets that participated (Buffalo, Cincinnati and Tampa Bay were shamed by local blackouts) below. Now, when you wonder why Roger Goodell and his ilk can more or less do whatever they want, remember how many people will blindly watch a Saints-Dolphins Week 4 pre-season game. We can do better than this, America.
|New Orleans||WVUE (Fox)||New Orleans vs. Miami||33.5|
|Seattle||KCPQ (Fox)||Oakland vs. Seattle||25.0|
|Kansas City||KCTV (CBS)||Green Bay vs. Kansas City||23.8|
|Pittsburgh||KDKA (CBS)||Pittsburgh vs. Carolina||21.3|
|Houston||KTRK (ABC)||Houston vs. Dallas||19.2|
|Denver||KTVD (My Network TV)||Arizona vs. Denver||18.6|
|Baltimore||WBAL (NBC)||Baltimore vs. St. Louis||16.2|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul||KARE (NBC)||Tennessee vs. Minnesota||16.2|
|Boston||WBZ (CBS)||NY Giants vs. New England||14.5|
|Cleveland||WKYC (NBC)||Cleveland vs. Chicago||14.4|
|Nashville||WKRN (ABC)||Tennessee vs. Minnesota||14.2|
|Charlotte||WCCB (The CW)||Pittsburgh vs. Carolina||14.0|
|San Diego||KFMB (CBS)||San Francisco vs. San Diego||14.0|
|Milwaukee||WTMJ (NBC)||Green Bay vs. Kansas City||12.9|
|Chicago||WFLD (Fox)||Cleveland vs. Chicago||12.4|
|Philadelphia||WPVI (ABC)||Philadelphia vs. NY Jets||10.6|
|Detroit||KTVD (My Network TV)||Detroit vs. Buffalo||10.2|
|Bay Area||KPIX (CBS)||San Francisco vs. San Diego||10.2|
|Jacksonville||WTEV (CBS)||Jacksonville vs. Atlanta||10.0|
|Dallas||KTVT (CBS)||Houston vs. Dallas||9.9|
|St. Louis||KTVI (Fox)||Baltimore vs. St. Louis||9.7|
|Phoenix||KNXV (ABC)||Arizona vs. Denver||9.2|
|Washington||WRC (NBC)||Washington vs. Tampa Bay||9.2|
|Indianapolis||WNDY (My Network TV)||Indianapolis vs. Cincinnati||8.9|
|Miami||WFOR (CBS)||New Orleans vs. Miami||6.8|
|Atlanta||WGCL (CBS)||Jacksonville vs. Atlanta||6.0|
|New York||WNBC (NBC)||NY Giants vs. New England||5.5|
|New York||WCBS (CBS)||Philadelphia vs. NY Jets||3.6|
|Bay Area||KTVU (Fox)||Oakland vs. Seattle||2.7|