Awful Game Leads to Super Bowl Ratings Drop: TRAINA THOUGHTS

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1. The much-anticipated Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes matchup turned out to be a huge dud, both on the field and with TV viewers.

After 102 million people watched the Chiefs beat the Niners in last year's Super Bowl, CBS generated 96.4 million viewers across all platforms for Sunday's Bucs-Chiefs game.

With the game essentially over early in the third quarter, CBS never had a chance to grow its audience. No one was calling a friend to tell them they had to put on the Super Bowl because it was so exciting. So the result is a drop of about 9% year over year.

Now for the analysis, spin, perspective.

CBS's TV presentation of Super Bowl LV averaged 91.6 million viewers. Last year's game on Fox averaged 99.9 million.

CBS, though, had a big night with streaming. Tampa Bay's 31–9 win was the most livestreamed NFL game ever, averaging 5.7 million viewers, up 65% over last year’s Super Bowl.

If this doesn't tell you that a) cord cutting is happening at a rapid rate and 2) the pandemic has changed people's viewing habits and level of interest in sports, then I don't know what to tell you.

Just speaking from my own experience, I've heard more and more from die-hard sports fans in my life that they just can't give the attention to games that they did before the pandemic. Some of them cite the fact that their daily routines and schedules are different. Some cite the fact that it's hard to get worked up about your favorite team when you're trying to keep family members safe or dealing with them being in a hospital.

Let's not get this twisted, though. The biggest reason viewership was down this year was because the game was completely unwatchable for most of the second half.

Regular-season NFL ratings were down 7% from last season. The Super Bowl rating was down about 9%. So the final viewership numbers aren't totally shocking. They're in line with what the NFL has generated all year.

The disappointment for CBS is that it had Brady vs. Mahomes and still had a significant ratings drop. But the network knows that if the game isn't compelling, viewership is going to take a hit.

2. A Washington Post headline writer used gross misjudgment this morning in the obituary for former NFL head coach Marty Schottenheimer.

The website responded to social media blowback and changed the headline.

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3. I've gotten a few tweets from people asking me whether this story is true.

There is a 0% chance this story is true. There isn't one gambling website in the universe that allows more than a $50 to $100 max bet on the weird props.

4. Tom Brady's social media team put together a better Super Bowl recap than any sports media company.

5. Most commercials are awful, but this one is pretty good.

6. The latest SI Media Podcast features a roundtable conversation with Erin Andrews and Kyle Brandt.

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on AppleSpotify or Stitcher.

7RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: Happy 78th birthday, Joe Pesci. Thank you for one of the greatest scenes in movie history.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on AppleSpotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.