The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman was less than blown away by last weekend’s Wildcard games, but notes there no correlation between quality and wild popularity.
The four playoff games were four of the six most-watched TV programs of the week, with Fox’s Giants-Eagles telecast ranking No.1 (29.7 million viewers) and Cowboys-Seahawks on NBC in the No. 2 spot (26.8 million viewers).
The ratings also prove that no one watching Giants-Eagles really cared about the 8-8 Giants limping into the postseason or how a variety of know-it-alls relegated Philly to the scrap heap after Donovan McNabb went down. Giants-Eagles scored an 18.2 rating.
Jets-Pats? Viewers bought into the turnaround Jets facing one of the NFL’s few consistent teams. The CBS telecast, which started at 1 p.m. Sunday, did a whopping 17.3. Cowboys-Seahawks recorded a 16.4 rating, making it the highest rated wild-card game ever in prime time.
The “lowest” rated game of the weekend was Saturday’s Chiefs-Colts matchup on NBC, which registered a 12.6 rating – good enough to make it the sixth-most watched TV show of the week (one notch ahead of seventh-place “Desperate Housewives” on ABC).
An unlikely source, Mr. Eric Mangini (above), provided a compelling reason for this ratings success. Immediately after Gang Green’s loss in Foxborough, notebooks were predicting a bright future for the Jets. Mangini cautioned them.
“Every season,” Mangini said, “is its own entity.”
Mangini could have gone further. In the NFL every quarter “is its own entity.” Every quarter of a season “is its own entity.” Get the picture? Look at what’s coming up this weekend.
The Saints were 3-13 in 2005. Now, they are a gaga team favored to beat Philly. Baltimore was 6-10 last season. Not only are the Ravens favored over Indy tomorrow, but their defense is so highly touted one wonders if Peyton Manning will escape town alive.
The NFL disguises mediocrity by selling it as parity. What league suits are really selling is unpredictability. This has helped the NFL become the only league with ratings heading upward. Even a so-called “superior” team such as the Bears has an attractive train-wreck quality in quarterback Rex Grossman.
For the past few seasons, CBS’ Phil Simms, on numerous occasions, has reminded anyone listening all that separates any of these teams are “a couple of big plays.”
So, why should any team bother embarking on some five-year plan? No need in the NFL. Turnaround is quick. In 12 months, those who called for Tom Coughlin’s head could be kissing his posterior.
Yes, well, let’s leave Gary Myers’ mouth out of this.