Super Bowl XLVII

Sports Media Weekly No. 137- Neil Best, Newsday & Kevin Harlan, Dial Global Radio

Welcome to the post-Super Bowl edition of Sports Media Weekly.

Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites and I are joined for our “Third Man In” segment by Neil Best, sports media and business columnist for Newsday.  We spend most of our time dissecting the work done by CBS on Super Bowl XLVII.  We look at the network’s handling of the power outage, the sub-par performance by Phil Simms, and the ratings for the game.

We then shift our focus to the announcement this week by NBC on its planned coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.  We talk about how NBC will not deviate much in its coverage of the Games based on its success at last year’s Summer Games in London.

We wrap-up our news segment looking at the announcement by Fox Sports that play-by-play man Gus Johnson will be taking the lead role in the network’s international soccer coverage, including the World Cup.  Johnson will begin calling soccer matches next week.

Ken had the opportunity to speak to our second guest this week, Kevin Harlan of Dial Global Sports.  Kevin was in the booth for the radio broadcast of the Super Bowl in New Orleans when the power went out in the Superdome.  He recounts what took place and how he kept the broadcast going by reporting on the events via telephone, audio of which is included in the interview courtesy of Dial Global.

Super Bowl XLVII Online Tops 3 Million Streams

CBS Sports and the NFL announced today that online viewership of Super Bowl XLVII, the second year the game could be viewed on a computer or mobile device, topped 3 million streams across CBS, and NFL Mobile on Verizon Wireless.

Last year’s game between the Patriots and Giants registered over 2 million streams.

Viewers generated nearly 10 million live video streams, up more than 100 percent from last year, resulting in a record 114.4 million minutes streamed, which was up 46 percent over last year’s game.

“Our live stream of Super Bowl XLVII not only set online viewership and social-media records but set the standard for a second-screen sports experience,” said Jim Lanzone, president of CBS Interactive. “Our goal was to create an environment that would serve as the perfect complement to CBS Sports’ coverage of the game. We’re extremely proud of this historic experience.”

“This year’s record-setting engagement demonstrates that our fans are always looking for more ways to engage with NFL content,” said Hans Schroeder, NFL senior vice president of media strategy and development.

The Numbers Are In…Super Bowl Audience Not An All-Time High

The most anticipated sports viewership numbers of the year are starting to come in…and the consensus looks like Super Bowl XLVII will not break any records.

Here are the numbers direct from CBS PR:




Average of 108.41 Million Watch Baltimore Win Super Bowl XLVII 

Network Garners Fast National Household Rating/Share of 46.3/69 

The CBS Television Network’s coverage of Super Bowl XLVII featuring the BALTIMORE RAVENS’ 34-31 win over the SAN FRANCISCO 49ers’ on Sunday, Feb 3 (6:32-8:41 and 9:11-10:47 PM, ET) was watched by a Nielsen estimated average of 108.41 million viewers, making it the third most-watched program in television history (Super Bowl XLVI – 111.3 million; Super Bowl XLV – 111.0 million).

CBS Sports’ coverage of Super Bowl XLVII earned an average fast national household rating/share of46.3/69 (47.0/71; N.Y. Giants-New England; Super Bowl XLVI), making it the second highest-rated Super Bowl in 27 years (1/26/86; 48.3/70; Chicago-New England).

Last night’s Super Bowl HH rating/share peaked at a 50.7/73 with an average of 113.92 million viewersfrom 10:30-10:47 PM, ET. 

UPDATE: CBS and the NFL reported that last night’s game had a total audience of 164.1 million viewers, making it the most viewed show in television history.  The previous record was 162.9 million viewers for Super Bowl XLV.

CBS Underwhelms in Super Bowl Telecast

CBS Sports spent months, perhaps even up to two years, preparing a strategy to cover Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.  The teams were unknown until two weeks ago, but the behind-the-scenes preparation and personnel have been in place for some time.  With all that said the normally-solid CBS had its share of hiccups in presenting last night’s game.

Despite what turned out to be an entertaining 34-31 Baltimore Ravens victory over the San Francisco 49ers, the story of the game was the 34-minute delay early in the third quarter after power was lost to a portion of the Mercedes Benz Superdome.

No network can anticipate that such an event will play out on sports’ largest stage.  When the outage knocked out audio from the broadcast booth where Jim Nantz and Phil Simms were calling the game, CBS did its best to handle the situation by first going to a commercial break.

Once back from the break, only sideline reporter Steve Tasker had communication with the CBS production truck and was pressed into duty in providing an update for viewers.  Tasker did a credible job in describing what was happening in the building, but was clearly out of his element in handling a breaking news story.

When James Brown and the Super Bowl Today crew did take control of the air, they focused primarily on the impact the outage would have on the game. The producers of the telecast failed, at least at the time, to get their hands around the news story that was developing.  CBS was unable to get an on-camera interview with an NFL official about the cause of the delay.  Tracey Wolfson, who was not scheduled to be part of the game telecast, did provide information on the outage, but only after a good amount of time had passed.

The game telecast itself was not spectacular.  The 62 cameras employed by CBS did not miss any important play.  But that is expected.  I liked that CBS kept the focus of the game on the field, and not on cutaways of the Harbaugh parents or any other celebrity.

The producers also missed opportunities to delve into why certain plays did not work.  Instead of focusing on a missed holding call on the 49ers’ fourth down play in its last drive, more time should have been spent analyzing San Francisco’s play calling down the stretch.

Simms did not have his best day on the air.  He seemed confused at times about what was happening on the field and was not critical enough of either team.  This was evident when he said he would not “second guess” the Ravens’ fake field goal attempt in the first half.  He also seemed confused about how advantageous a safety would be at the end of the game when Baltimore was forced to punt from its own end zone with :12 left.  I felt Simms had slipped in the quality of his analysis all year.  Yesterday’s performance bore that out.

Overall I would give CBS a B- or its performance.

Best ad for me this Super Bowl was the Dodge Ram ad featuring Paul Harvey and farmers.  I could not pick out a worst ad because there were so many.  The creepiest ad, by far, was the Go Daddy ad featuring super model Bar Rafaeli making out with the computer geek.

CBS Overnight Ratings for Super Bowl XLVII

The first ratings numbers are cmoing in from last night’s Super Bowl XLVII…and they appear good for CBS.

From CBS PR:

Here is the hour-by-hour breakdown:

6:30-7:00 – 42.6/67

7:00-7:30 – 46.3/71

7:30-8:00 — 47.9/72

8:00-8:30 – 48.2/71

8:30-8:45 – 48.3/71

8:45-9:15 — 46.5/68

9:15-9:30 – 47.9/68

9:30-10:00 – 49.6/70

10:00-10:30 – 51.3/73

10:30-10:45 – 52.9/75

CBS Super Bowl Today Schedule

CBS Sports has unveiled its schedule of features for its Super Bowl Today pre-game show.  Here is the schedule and decription of each feature:

Producer: Mark Burghart

San Francisco’s linebacker Patrick Willis grew up in rural Bruceton, Tenn., with three siblings in a small trailer. Life was not easy. His mother left when he was three, and his abusive father found that the daily struggle of raising his children became too much. As a last resort, the kids sought help from their school’s superintendent. Finally, the school’s basketball coach Chris Finley, and his wife, Julie, agreed to take in the four children. Patrick went on to play at Ole Miss and eventually with the 49ers, but the close bonds he had with the Finleys as a teenager remains strong to this day.

¨ RAY RICE (2:35 PM)
Producer: Alanna Campbell

Baltimore running back Ray Rice takes us in his own words, on the Ravens’ journey to New Orleans. Along the way to New Orleans, Baltimore overcame injuries to superstars Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis, as well as a late-season offensive coordinator change.  Through it all, the Ravens never lost focus and find themselves one game away from becoming Super Bowl XLVII champions.

¨ GATEWAY (2:40 PM)
Producer: Pete Radovich 

On July 20, 2012, a deranged gunman entered a movie theater in Aurora, Colo, and opened fire. By the time he was finished, 12 people were dead, and 58 others were injured. Among those wounded, rising senior Zack Golditch of nearby Gateway High School. Shot through the neck, the 6-foot-5, 260 pound, 17-year-old became a symbol of strength and recovery as he fought his way back onto the football field.

¨ Rachel Ray (2:50 PM) 

¨ O.J. BRIGANCE (3:00 PM)
Producer: Deb Gelman

The Baltimore Ravens beat the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV to win their first Lombardi Trophy.  O.J. Brigance was the Special Teams Captain for the Ravens and was credited with the first tackle of the game.  In 2007, he was diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and given a prognosis of less than five years to live.  O.J. currently serves as Senior Advisor to Player Development for the team he once played for.   Undaunted, O.J. is an emotional inspiration to this current Ravens’ team and was selected honorary team captain for the AFC Championship Game.  In a very poignant moment he presented the Ravens with the Lamar Hunt Trophy following their victory over New England.  O.J. has lost the ability to walk and talk, but he is able to still communicate via computer.  He will tell his story of determination and courage in his own words. 

Producer: Joseph E. Zappulla

Hurricane Katrina devastated parts of New Orleans when it hit the Gulf in late August of 2005. Crescent Citynatives Harry Connick, Jr., and Branford Marsalis developed an idea to save part of the city’s soul – its music. They combined with Habitat for Humanity to create the “New Orleans Habitat Musicians’ Village,” making sure the sound that makes this city special, survives and thrives.

Producer: Charlie Bloom

The topic of player safety and concussions has re-emerged in the news again with Junior Seau’s family announcing a lawsuit over the concussions he sustained during his football career.  President Obama said this week, “I’m a big football fan, but I have to tell you, if I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football.”  Millions of youth football players and their parents will be watching Super Sunday.  Some are debating their children’s future participation as they wonder what is being done to make the game safer? What medical treatments are being developed to prevent, heal, and even reverse the effects of severe injuries from the game?

¨ Jim Rome (3:50 PM)

Producer: Charlie Bloom

Whether you followed football or not, the phrase “ChuckStrong” captured the nation. Indianapolis Head Coach Chuck Pagano was hospitalized with leukemia just weeks into the season. As Pagano underwent chemotherapy, the city and the nation embraced his battle against the disease.  Along the way, he inspired other patients in their fight against cancer. The real-life drama took on a storybook feel when the Colts magical run into the playoffs with Pagano’s remission, allowed him to return to the sidelines by season’s end. This powerful journey is told for the first time by his family, wife Tina and daughters Tara, Taylor and Tori.

¨ JOE FLACCO (4:10 PM)                                                                                       
Producer: Alanna Campbell

Including postseason play, Joe Flacco is the winningest quarterback in the NFL over the last five seasons.  Despite such lofty achievements, he is not widely considered to be one of the league’s top quarterbacks.  Boomer Esiason talks with Flacco about the Ravens’ season of adversity, the team’s late-season switch at offensive coordinator, the Ravens’ playoff run, and whether he has what it takes to lead Baltimore to victory in Super Bowl XLVII.

¨ CBS News’ Scott Pelley’s interview with President Obama (4:30 PM)

Producer: Jeff St. Arromand

Vernon Davis, the 49ers’ star tight end, opens up to THE SUPER BOWL TODAY’s Bill Cowher about his maturation process in the NFL.  No one has ever questioned Davis’ enormous physical gifts, but his attitude, early in his NFL career, was quite a different story.  It so infuriated then-Head Coach Mike Singletary during a 2008 game, that he sent Davis back to the locker room for the remainder of the contest. In interviews for this piece, Davis and Singletary share an emotional message with each other.

¨ RAY LEWIS (5:20 PM)
Producer: Deb Gelman                                                                                                                                 

When Ray Lewis announced his retirement, little did he know that the emotional momentum would carry him and the Ravens all the way to the Super Bowl.  Lewis’ former teammate, Shannon Sharpe, sits down with the future Hall of Famer to discuss his career, his final season and this Super Bowl ride.

Producer: Deb Gelman

It’s the overriding storyline of Super Bowl XLVII – the first time that a coaching rivalry is also a sibling rivalry.  How did the Harbaugh brothers, Jim and John, get to this grand stage? They attribute it to their father Jack, who was the greatest influence on their lives and coaching careers.  THE SUPER BOWL TODAY’s James Browntalks to both coaches about the influence of their father, growing up together and what it means to face your brother in the Super Bowl.

Producer: Jeff St. Arromand

San Francisco’s multi-dimensional quarterback Colin Kaepernick has taken the NFL by storm.  Thrust into the spotlight after starter Alex Smith suffered a concussion in Week 10, Kaepernick has taken control, going 7-2 in leading the 49ers to their first Super Bowl since the 1994 season. THE SUPER BOWL TODAY’s Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino visits with the young quarterback to discuss his newfound fame, the pressures and expectations that go along with starting in the NFL biggest game.

ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown- Super Bowl XLVII

ESPN has provided a preview for its Super Bowl XLVII edition of Sunday NFL Countdown which takes to the air beginning at 10:00a.m. ET.

Chris Berman hosts with analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson.  They will be  joined by Suzy Kolber, Teddy Bruschi, Steve Young, Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski.  ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and senior analyst Chris Mortensen will report the latest league News.  The Monday Night Football crew of Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will also be on site in New Orleans.

Correspondents Ed Werder and Sal Paolantonio will provide updates from the 49ers and Ravens’ locker rooms.

From ESPN PR, here are some other anticipated show highlights:

Steve Young and Trent Dilfer on the Super Bowl XLVII Quarterbacks (10:15 a.m. ET)
Steve Young is the last 49ers quarterback to win a Super Bowl while Trent Dilfer is the last, and only, Ravens Super Bowl-winning quarterback. Together, they will look beyond the playbook and provide insight on how the two quarterbacks – Colin Kaepernick (49ers) and Joe Flacco (Ravens) – are getting ready for the biggest game of their lives.  In addition, Young and Dilfer will share their own Super Bowl day experiences.
Running Away (11:00 a.m.)
49ers linebacker and fearless pass rusher Aldon Smith sprints off after he sacks a quarterback – reminiscent of a warrior running away from the scene of his conquest.  ESPN’s Rick Reilly reveals that Smith, who led the NFC in sacks this season, is not running away from anything.
Mayne Event: The Missing Harbaugh Brother (11:15 a.m.)
In a special Super Bowl XLVII edition of his self-titled and humorous “Mayne Event” segment, Kenny Mayne embarks on a mission to discover the man he thinks is the missing Harbaugh brother.
A Barrier Broken (11:30 a.m.)
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Redskins’ 42-10 Super Bowl victory over the Denver Broncos, where Doug Williams became the first African American quarterback to start, and win, a Super Bowl, the pioneering signal-caller returns to San Diego to reminisce about that victory and how that Super Bowl continues to impact his life today.
Current Redskins quarterback and rookie sensation Robert Griffin III also narrates a tribute feature that includes prominent African Americans discussing how Williams’ performance in the Super Bowl transcended the game itself. Robert Griffin III narrates.
Steve Young and Jerry Rice with Chris Berman (11:45 a.m.)
Young and Jerry Rice were both on the field 18 years ago in the New Orleans Superdome when the 49ers last won the Super Bowl.  Young threw the passes, while Rice led the receiving corps. The former teammates and Hall of Famers join Chris Berman on the set to re-live their 49ers’ Super Bowl XXIV memories.
Joe Flacco One-on-One with Ron Jaworski (12:00 p.m.)
After surviving a mid-season slump that cost the job of his offensive coordinator, Joe Flacco led the Ravens through the AFC playoffs with victories over the Broncos and Patriots, outperforming revered quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the process.  This week, Flacco is one victory away from a Super Bowl title.  In a one-on-one interview with Ron Jaworski, ESPN’s respected guru of quarterbacking, Flacco discusses how he silenced his critics en-route to the biggest game in American sport.
Torrey Smith – Overcoming Tragedy (12:30 p.m.)
In September, Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith’s younger brother, Tevin, died in a motorcycle accident the day before Baltimore’s regular season game against New England.  Fighting off the emotions, Smith caught six passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns, helping the Ravens to a 31-30 win over their AFC rival. In her Countdown debut, SportsCenter anchor Lindsay Czarniak tells Smith’s story of overcoming grief and loss to help the Ravens reach Super Bowl XLVII.
Colin Kaepernick Interview with Steve Young (1:00 p.m)
At the beginning of the season, Colin Kaepernick was the backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.  Week 10, he replaced an injured Alex Smith in a game against the St. Louis Rams.  This week, he is on the verge of perhaps a Super Bowl victory.  The second-year quarterback sits down for a conversation with 49ers Hall of Fame quarterback and Countdown analyst Steve Young to discuss the team’s Super Bowl run and the magical season it has become for him.
Frank Caliendo’s Big Easy Adventure (1:10 p.m.)
In Super Bowl XLVII, comedian Frank Caliendo toured the New Orleans French Quarter impersonating Monday Night Football’s Jon Gruden, roaming Bourbon Street and looking for answers to which team will win the game and asking “person in the street” fans to solve the “Spider 2 Y Banana” mystery.
Gruden’s Grinders (1:15 p.m.)
MNF’s Jon Gruden presents the Super Bowl edition of his weekly Monday Night Countdown segment, highlighting players who are currently under-the-radar but will deliver performances in the game that are worthy of being called a “Gruden Grinder.”
Super Bowl Edition of C’Mon Man! (1:35 p.m.)
The Countdown crew offers a special edition of its popular weekly Monday Night Countdown segment C’Mon Man, focusing primarily on the head-scratching plays in the NFL playoffs.