1. Early on in the regular season, an NFL TV ratings dip generated a lot of headlines.
But most people looking at the situation with a critical eye understood the pandemic and election coverage would hurt NFL viewership. And the league wasn't even in a tiny bit of trouble.
With the regular season over, the final numbers are in, via Sports Business Journal, and we can see the entire story.
For the season, the NFL's overall ratings were down 7% from last year—hardly a figure that should worry the league in such a chaotic year. Plus, viewership numbers jumped once the election was over.
Here's a breakdown of how each television package fared in 2020:
ESPN's Monday Night Football: down 3%.
CBS Sunday afternoon: down 4%.
Fox Sunday afternoon: down 6%.
Fox Thursday night: down 6%.
NBC Sunday Night Football: down 16%.
The only rating there that is concerning is the NBC Sunday Night Football number. You could make the argument that the viewership for NBC's game has always been so high there was nowhere to go but down, but 16% is a big drop. The numbers for SNF next season will show whether that sudden dip was an aberration or a symptom of an undiagnosed issue.
I think it's likely the NFL will get very strong ratings for this week's wild-card games. There is significant interest in the Bills, Tom Brady will bring in the fringe fan, the Chicago market, No. 3 in the country, will give CBS a boost on Sunday and Browns-Steelers on Sunday night is a great old-school rivalry game that should grab a big number in the Cleveland market.
2. This week's SI Media Podcast was recorded Wednesday afternoon before the disturbing events at the Capitol took place.
The episode features interviews with New York Post sports media columnist Andrew Marchand and reporter Armen Keteyian, who is an executive producer on HBO's upcoming Tiger Woods documentary, which I reviewed in yesterday's Traina Thoughts.
Topics I discussed with Marchand include Boomer Esiason's performance filling in for Tony Romo, an update on Jim Nantz's contract situation with CBS, a problem for Fox's college football pregame show, Tom Rinaldi leaving ESPN for Fox, ESPN getting fooled by a fake Adam Schefter story and much more.
3. We need laughs anywhere we can get them today. Enter Rob Gronkowski describing what it was like to once watch Tom Brady take a shot.
4. Katie Couric will be the next guest host on Jeopardy! following the passing of Alex Trebek.
5. Remember back in 2010 when Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson and Titans defensive back Cortland Finnegan got into this nasty fight?
Well, Matt Schaub, who was Houston's quarterback at the time, told Pardon My Take this week that players from around the NFL ended up paying Johnson's fine because they disliked Finnegan so much.
6. Snoop Dogg made an appearance on AEW's All-Elite Wrestling on Wednesday night. His top-rope frog splash gets an "A" for effort and "D" for form.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.