Thanksgiving Day was “ratings magic” for the NFL, the “best regular-season day the league’s had in modern TV history,” according to Peter King of NBCSPORTS.com. Giants-Cowboys on Fox was the most-watched regular-season game ever with 42 million viewers, and 138 million Americans “watched at least one minute of football Thursday.” By putting music acts on at halftime of both games, the Lions (Bebe Rexha) and Cowboys (Jonas Brothers) “probably drew marginal fans to watch the music.” That “all counts.” NFL EVP/Media Hans Schroeder on Saturday said, “Football’s already so ingrained in Thanksgiving.” He added, “Then you consider five of the six teams came in with winning records and Detroit came in hot, and all three games were competitive down to the wire. Plus we had young stars in every game” (NBCSPORTS.com, 11/28). PUCK NEWS’s Matthew Belloni writes under the header, “Who Won the Week: Eric Shanks.” The Fox Sports CEO “set a new bar for a regular-season NFL game” with 42 million viewers for Giants-Cowboys. Then, the next day, he scored 15.4 million viewers for the U.S.-England from Qatar, the “biggest domestic men’s World Cup audience since 1994” (PUCK NEWS, 11/28).
ON THEIR GAME: In Buffalo, Alan Pergament wrote CBS’s duo of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo “was sharp throughout” Bills-Lions, with Romo for the most part showing “why he has become a TV star as he questioned some of Detroit’s play-calling in key parts of the game that arguably led to the Lions loss.” Romo’s criticism “was gentle,” but he made it clear he was “baffled by the decision to have Lions quarterback Jared Goff go five yards deep in his own end zone on a third and 15 play with two reserve guards in the lineup.” That resulted in a safety that “impacted the strategy of both teams late in the game” (BUFFALO NEWS, 11/25).
STATION BREAK: SI’s Wilton Jackson noted Bills K Tyler Bass “notched a 45-yard field goal in the final seconds” on Thursday to win the game, but viewers watching the game on Houston’s KHOU-CBS “missed the pivotal final 23 seconds.” KHOU meteorologist Tim Pandajis “cut into the broadcast of the game to inform viewers about severe weather that included a tornado warning in the Houston area.” The station “did not incorporate a picture-in-picture treatment or split-screen format to allow viewers to continue watching the game.” As a result, some viewers, many of whom had “watched the entire game until that point, were upset” (SI, 11/24).