At the beginning of the season, I thought it was a lock that CBS was going to take the NFL "TV Partners Cup" this season, but because of the Brady injury and a "fading Favre", FOX once again won the ratings battle for the year. It was a close race though. I've sifted through the numbers, via SBJ, and here's how they networks came out in the end....
The NFC's channel averaged a little over 17 Million viewers for the year, with NBC clocking in at 16.6, and CBS hitting exactly a 16.2. The interesting thing with the numbers though is that, when compared to the 2007 totals, the only network that did better was NBC. CBS was hit the hardest by being down 2.1, and while FOX was down slightly from last year, NBC actually gained 4.2% in viewers and 2% in the final average rating.
As far as Pregame Shows go, FOX won the overall award with CBS only trailing slightly, as both networks showed gains over 2007. ESPN's Countdowns were the only pregame shows that brought brought in losses (Monday: -4.8%, Sunday: -4.5%), and in its first year, NFL-N's "NFL GameDay Morning" averaged a rather paltry 270,000 viewers.
Other notable numbers:
- Cowboys played in six of the top games on FOX and CBS.
- Steelers played in five.
- ESPN averaged an 8.9 cable rating for its third season of Monday Night Football (up 3.5%).
- The NFL Network averaged a 6.2 cable rating (down 12.7%).
- "The OT" on FOX beat out "Football Night In America" on NBC by an average rating of 6.9 to 4.0.