Back in August we told you of FOX's plans to air tape-delayed English Premier League soccer matches on NFL Sundays. Back then, we were cautiously optimistic that FOX was helping to finally usher in the permanent advancement of soccer as one of the top sports on American television. And while the ratings from this weekend's most recent Chelsea/Liverpool clash aren't staggering, they are showing promising signs for the future of soccer on FOX broadcast television, especially when compared with the lack of ratings by America's own MLS. According to our friend John Ourand of SBJ, FOX has to be very happy with how their non-live soccer stacked up against stiff competition in the afternoon, including the NFL and NASCAR's finale...
@Ourand_SBJ Tape delayed English soccer gets a 1.5 rating against 4pm NFL window/NASCAR race. Live MLS championship gets a 0.8 against SNF prime window.
Admittedly, it's very tough to see some big picture trends out of one isolated weekend of TV ratings, but why not give it a shot? Obviously there are two points to take away from FOX's rating. One, the success of FOX's tape-delayed EPL match versus the most important MLS match of the year on ESPN. Second is the growing confidence FOX must be gaining to push soccer alongside MMA as the next emerging television property in sports. Let's tackle each of these points in more detail...
Be thankful this week for the neverending supply of hilarious quotes that are provided week after week by the nation's football announcers. Can Dick Stockton rise to the top of the Straight Outta Stockton leaderboard, or will Phil Simms and Brian Billick enter the holiday season atop the standings?
For the Straight Outta Stockton vote, each week we'll nominate 15-20 quotes for you to pick the best 10. The winning quote of the week will earn that person 10 points all the way down to 1 point for 10th. Remember, you can vote for your favorite five quotes. Here are your Week 11 nominees...
1) "That's Tony Scheffler's 5th touchdown of the game, 2nd only to Calvin Johnson...." - Dick Stockton (via Packey)
2) "Interesting receiving corps they have here in Dallas" - Phil Simms (via SpringRubber). Phil was in Chicago to announce Chargers-Bears. Yipes.
3) "The defense is having a hard time getting the defense in." - Tony Siragusa (via JoshuaBatelli)
4) "And if you're a Bronco fan... you gotta do something to turn the field position" - Mike Mayock (via WAFriNightLight) Uh, how does a fan do that?
5) "The ball hits the leg in the Chief" - Mike Tirico (via JMPTrillOG)
6) "I have a man crush on Frank Gore." - Brian Billick (via JTscherne)
7) "It's so tough to score down inside the one." - Phil Simms right AFTER the #Bears score from the 1 (via BKibbs). I swear he's said this on multiple occasions this year.
8) "It's a mute point"- Daryl Johnston (via smyoung17)
9) "DeAngelo Stewart looks like he was shot out of a cannon." - John Lynch (via ShutdownLine) on the Carolina running backs evidently fusing into one person.
10) 'TOUCHDOWN BUFFALO! I MEAN TO SAY MIAMI!' - Marv Albert (via AlexFromBuffalo)
11) "We got a football game here in Detroit." - John Lynch. Well that's what my channel guide says, so that's refreshing to hear. (via sharapovasthigh)
12) "Now he'll just have to take the loss. A gain of 1 yard there." - Dick Stockton (via Dascenzo)
13) "The Lions beat the stuffing out of the Packers..." - Bob Costas (via thesportsgeeks) wins bad Thanksgiving pun of the week.
14) "Call me crazy, but I'm excited to see Tyler Palko tonight." - Ron Jaworski (via glokkenspx)
15) "You can't NBCee it any clearer than that." - Cris Collinsworth (via ConnorKeisel)
16) "There has never been a pass caught in the history of the NFL caught out of bounds." - Brian Billick (via AlexFromBuffalo) He also called 49ers K David Akers, "Fred."
17) "Rod Smart remember him? He Hate Me! That's what it said on the back of his jersey. Well not in the NFL." - Dick Stockton (via matthoeppner)
Vote For Your Week 11 Dickies Nominees! (vote for up to five)
The winners will come Wednesday so make sure you vote early and often and check back for the full NFL Week 12 announcing sked later this week!
I don't work in television, but if there was one thing Chris Berman actually did teach me it would be to not disrupt live on air talent.
While that clip is online video gold, perhaps this is silver or at a very least bronze. The on site Monday Night Countdown crew unexpectedly had to scramble when a facilities employee walked right into their shot just as they were starting their live analysis.
Stuart Scott and Trent Dilfer seemed to have a second of "Can you believe this?" and stayed focused looking at each other before getting back into gear. The real star is Steve Young as his reaction is just absolutely priceless.
I think the real joy of that clip is that you can totally infer what is going on in Young's head at every single second in between when he first spots the lost employee to when he jumps back into commentator mode several seconds later.
In order we have
"What the hell?"
"No....get out of here!"
"Holy crap that was close"
"Did that really just happen?"
"Yikes, I am on TV. Refocus!"
"Where is that idiot going now"
"Stuart Scott is talking too much, so I am going to cut him off. That's my go to move and part of the reason I am not doing draft coverage anymore"
I also enjoyed how the intruding Oxygen tank guy doesn't really seem to break stride or care that he's made a major faux pas as he reverses course and then loops around the set. Sadly, this may have been the most enjoyable part of the night as Monday Night Football failed to provide a competitive game yet again. We can't blame ESPN, but hope that going forward Howard Katz and the NFL are a bit more giving in their scheduling for next year.
After merely moving a couple early games back to to the 4:15 p.m. slot in Weeks 10-12, the NFL decided to really mix it up in Week 13. Although it was decided almost two weeks before Week 11 that the Suck4Lucks-Patriots game would not be the Week 13 SNF game, the announcement as to who would slide into the primetime slot wasn't made until Monday. It took a little mixing and matching, but it was finally all figured out:
The NFL on Monday announced that the Detroit Lions-New Orleans Saints game was flexed to the Sunday night spot on NBC. The Broncos-Vikings game, which originally was on CBS, was switched to Fox at 1 p.m. ET. Also, the Indianapolis Colts-New England Patriots game, which was the scheduled Sunday night game on Dec. 4, reverts to 1 p.m. on CBS and the Baltimore Ravens-Cleveland Browns game was moved to 4:05 p.m. ET on CBS.
The NFL couldn't leave Fox with only two early games in its doubleheader week, so it took a game from CBS who had eight, according to a league source.
It is the first time that this has happened to the league's knowledge. In the new NFL deal, there will be lots of this -- switching games between networks and less emphasis on CBS being the home for AFC games and the same for Fox and NFC games.
Lions-Saints ultimately made the most sense. Texans-Falcons would've been a worthy candidate had Schaub not been injured. It'll still be an entertaining game with playoff implications, but it definitely lost some of its sex appeal. The up-and-coming Lions have never played on SNF since the game moved to NBC and there's no denying the allure of two of the game's most explosive offenses going head-to-head -- it'll be a ratings monster.
It was a bit unclear who would be calling the conference championship games for Fox next weekend, but USA Today has confirmed that Fox's A team will announce both games:
"Fox will announce today that its lead on-air college football team —Gus Johnson and analysts Charles Davis and Tim Brewster— will call its prime-time Pac-12 title game Dec. 2 and its prime-time Big Ten title game Dec. 3. "We'll roll the dice," Fox Sports President Eric Shanks says. "It's hard to tell either conference you wouldn't give them your lead crew."
Most have given Johnson and Davis high marks this season in their work on FX. Given Fox is known for not being particularly deep in their announcing talent, I think most will embrace the move of doubling down on Johnson and the rest of that crew.
Fox will be alternating the Pac 12 Championship game with ESPN starting in 2012 (with Fox leading off), but landed this year's exclusive television rights before reaching that long term arrangement with ESPN.
Fox also has exclusive rights for the Big Ten Championship game through 2016, somewhat of an odd arrangement given no Big Ten games will air on Fox or FX during those years.
Unfortunately, neither game will have National Championship intrigue, which is somewhat of a downer for Fox, as well as fans who hate hearing chants of "SEC" at sporting events.
Longtime Georgia Bulldogs radio play by play man Larry Munson, one of the most beloved announcers by a particular fanbase in all of sports, passed away at 89 on Sunday. Munson broadcasted Georgia football games from 1966-2008 and was noted as one of the most passionate announcers in the industry. His calls are among the most memorable in the history of college football. His zeal for the Bulldogs and connection to Georgia fans (and college football fans in general) has drawn numerous, glowing tributes. In a sport that is about passion and tradition, Larry Munson was a testament to what is great about college football. There aren't too many announcers that can elicit this kind of sentiment anymore. Below are two of his most famous calls, both from 1980.
First, Herschel Walker destroying Tennessee...
And second, this dramatic Lindsey Scott touchdown vs Florida featuring Larry Munson breaking his chair in excitement...
Sidney Crosby finally returns to the Pittsburgh Penguins after sitting out almost an entire calendar year due to a concussion suffered January 5th. Versus has changed their television plans for the occasion and will televise Penguins-Islanders tonight at 7 PM ET. Here's what the network had to say...
With Sidney Crosby making his return to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup for the first time since January 5, VERSUS is switching from the Boston Bruins/Montreal Canadiens game scheduled for Monday night to air the New York Islanders/Penguins game at 7 p.m. from the CONSOL Energy Center. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET with NHL Live after a 30-minute edition of NBC SportsTalk at 6 p.m. ET
The team of Dave Strader (play-by-play announcer) and Pierre McGuire (‘Inside the Glass’ analyst) will call all the action from Pittsburgh.
CBC in Canada is also picking up the Pens-Isles game as well, so all hockey eyes will be on Pittsburgh tonight. I'm a bit surprised Versus wouldn't call on Doc Emrick for such a big occasion, but you can have some fun during the telecast by Twitter searching "Pierre McGuire" to see how much hockey fans love the inside the glass analyst. As a Pens fan, I'm beyond excited to see Crosby finally healthy and fit to play. More importantly though, Crosby's comeback game is great news for the sport. Such a lengthy layoff due to a concussion was quite scary for the game's most notable superstar. However, the Penguins didn't rush Crosby back and throughout his absence important conversatons have taken place on treating concussions and preventing players coming back too soon. If anything, Crosby's 10 month plus absence has forced hockey and other sports to take concussions even more seriously than before.
Even without Crosby, the NHL has continued its slow rise on the national scene in the last year. Last season's Stanley Cup Playoffs was a ratings success, especially the exciting Bruins-Canucks Finals series and its Game 7 that was tied for the best television rating since 1995. Continuing that momentum, the Flyers-Bruins season opener on Versus this year was the highest rated regular season game in the network's history with over 800,000 viewers. It'll be interesting to see how Crosby's return does in the ratings, but it can be only good news for the NHL.
Conventional wisdom would tell you the NHL should be the main benefactor of a protracted NBA Lockout along with college hoops. It may not show in the ratings right now with football dominating the sports landscape. Numbers are up and down on Versus for nationally televised games through the first month of the NHL season. However, if February and March roll around without an NBA season (and there's nothing but tumbleweeds on that front currently), then hockey ratings may start to soar. Also worth factoring into the mix is NBC effectively rebranding Versus as NBC Sports Network and making a huge marketing push during the new year. As the cornerstone live sports property on the network, the NHL will be a major part of that push. As the season develops, Crosby's return tonight in Pittsburgh may be just one piece of an even larger NHL resurgence this year.
Major League Soccer's dream finally became a reality last night as the Los Angeles Galaxy won the MLS Cup, defeating Random MLS Team That Wasn't LA Galaxy 1-0. But really, the night was all about one man - David Beckham. Yes, the man that was supposed to take MLS mainstream. How'd that work out? Becks can't be faulted for a lack of effort, I suppose. (Wait, maybe he can.) After all, he committed so much time and energy to growing the sport in America while playing for AC Milan in Italy all those months. With injuries and his desires to keep going back to Europe, Beckham has been a major disappointment as the face of MLS in relation to his kingly arrival. With Beckham's massive five year deal with the Galaxy expiring and rumors of a deal with PSG in France on the horizon, last night's MLS Cup Final may have been the last game for Becks in an LA uniform. As a frequent attendee of MLS games, there's a lot more I could say about Beckham and the league, but I'll only say "meh."
So in last night's MLS Cup Final, ESPN tried to cram five years of hope and hype of the Beckham Era into a two hour lovefest. The admiration John Harkes had for every step Beckham took on the pitch made Skip Bayless seem lukewarm on Tim Tebow and even the great Ian Darke fell into the storybook Beckham "drama." It was the Hollywood ending to Becks' time in Los Angeles that MLS so desperately craved and the television coverage was more than happy to slurp it up.
That's where we come in. As always, these are Real Tweets from Real People...
GSElitist John Harkes has been kicked out of every silent retreat he's attended. Fact. cmeidt Because of John Harkes I am gonna learn Spanish so I don't have to listen to him. StuTNB David Beckham chases after a ball, is fouled, is "brilliant" according to Harkes. Easily pleased tossbasket. YanksAreComing John Harkes: "It's David Beckham. If he feels it, ya gotta let him do it." Why soccer in America?? I say why not. devindrumheller Watching the MLS Cup final, John Harkes describes David Beckham as "brilliant" for … running? Really?! dkurtenbach Harkes should go to the doctor, he's been thinking of Beckham for the past four hours.
Randy_Narine Yo Ian Darke, stop setting up John Harkes to go off on his hard-on for Beckham #MLSCup ClayWar Wow Ian Darke - you win the top prize for Beckham butt-kissing this year. A new MLS award - good job!!! MarkHenty "Beckham has been the best player on the pitch by some way" by Ian Darke. FFS! So sick of this total wankfest 60% passing is not great! BenMcKee Ian Darke as Beckham prepared a free kick: "Is this a moment of destiny for him?" Beckham biffs it into a wall. #ClassicCall #MLSCup robbiebaum MLS to ESPN: "make sure to talk a whole lot about Beckham so people think this thing was a good idea. Thanks." DaxMcCarty11#MLSCup 1st half thoughts: John Harkes likes David Beckham and thinks he is good at soccer.
jamessharmanEspn setting up a sick Beckham winner to compare to Jordan's 38pts with the flu. Marketing genius. #hero RedMancunia The ESPN pundit just called David Beckham 'the Prom King.' What have I signed myself up for tonight?! Kingrich3 I wish the ESPN commentators stop talking like the MLS is Gonna fail is Beckham leaves. Gustavo_Destro First two question to Donovan (match MVP) are about Beckham. Like, ESPN doesn't even try to disguise it, do they? tweetcolintweet MLS final was so whack. Dear espn, not everyone wants to hear about David Beckham every minute NinjaPancakes #mlscup ESPN announcers should just get the foreplay over with and have sex with Beckham already. PitchPass David Beckham is playing harder than any player ever in the history of sport. #harkes alexwarneke ESPN: Welcome back to the Becham Half. The Beckhams will kick off attacking the Beckham goal. The score is tied, Beckham to Beckham.
LeGarrette Blount's 54-yard PutDaTeamOnMyBack (nsfw) run might be one of the highlights of the NFL football season. On the NFL networks highlight show, Deion Sanders delivered a call almost as hilarious as Blount's run was spectacular. After Sanders squealed in delight after delivering his "SIX PEOPLE TRYING TO HIT THAT BLOUNT" line, Eisen went all Nancy Reagan in response. Neon Deion decided not to heed the hosts caution and repeat the same line, this time even more exaggerated during the replay. The Packers were able to hit that Blount enough as Green Bay kept their undefeated season alive by defeating Tampa Bay, 35-26.
At Awful Announcing, we'd like to remind our readers that there is "no hope with dope." Zack Morris got with Kelly Kapowski and can stop time and that phrase rhymes so it would be crazy to argue against him.