1. I’m going to do the summary for this lead item at the top instead of the bottom: A lot of people are watching the NFL this year. Always have, always will. The league is in great shape when it comes to viewership and making money.
Having said that, there was some intrigue around Week 1 ratings for a few reasons: 1) THE MANNINGS; 2) Would there be an uptick in ratings this season now that we have a vaccine and crowds are back?; 3) How would viewership for the 4:25 p.m. games be affected by the NFL giving a doubleheader to both Fox and CBS and stacking the deck with Packers-Saints going head-to-head with Browns-Chiefs?
Here’s how the numbers shook out for Monday night’s Ravens-Raiders game: 7.6 million people watched on ESPN; 6.9 million people watched on ABC; and 800,000 people watched Peyton and Eli Manning on ESPN2.
You would’ve thought based on social media reactions that 30 million people were watching the Manning brothers, but as I always tell you, Twitter isn’t real life. However, that 800,000 number is pretty good when you consider that they didn’t present a traditional telecast and the broadcast was meant to be an alternate experience. I’d also expect that number to go up this week thanks to Packers-Lions airing only on ESPN and ESPN2.
Sources tell me ESPN was very happy with the number and the buzz around the telecast.
CBS drew 19.5 million viewers for its 4:25 window which featured Browns-Chiefs and Dolphins-Patriots.
Fox drew 16.2 million viewers for its 4:25 window which featured an unwatchable Packers-Saints game and Broncos-Giants.
That’s a total of 35.7 million people watching the NFL late Sunday afternoon.
The only bit of bad news for the league came Sunday night when the Bears-Rams game on NBC drew 17.6 million viewers, down 7% from last season.
After I tweeted this last week …
... I got several replies from people telling me the league wanted to showcase SoFi Stadium on Sunday night.
As I said on this week’s SI Media Podcast, nobody in the world cares about seeing SoFi Stadium. Hopefully networks can begin to understand that fans want the best matchups and nothing else.
2. Back in April, I wrote that Julian Edelman was going to become a big media star after retiring from the NFL. I feel even better about my prediction after seeing this funny segment from this week's edition of Inside the NFL.
I don't know whether Julian was intentionally paying tribute to Seinfeld with his "we had a pact," bit, but I sure hope he was.
3. Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright is 16–7 with a 2.88 ERA at age 40 this season. He's also showed last night that he's a good dancer.
4. Cardinals safety Budda Baker is 5' 10" and 194 pounds. Titans offensive lineman Taylor Lewan is 6' 7" and 315 pounds. This happened on Sunday.
And most people thought Lewan giving up five sacks to Chandler Jones was the worst part of his day.
5. Here are the announcers you will be seeing on TNT's coverage of the NHL this season. Big shoutout to our old friend, social media legend and great SI Media Podcast guest Paul Bissonnette, who will be must-see TV.
6. This week's SI Media Podcast dropped early. A brand-new episode with Jimmy Kimmel, who is an executive producer on ESPN's latest 30 for 30 documentary, Once Upon a Time in Queens, is now available for your listening pleasure.
Jimmy's Cousin Sal is also a producer on the doc and joins the podcast to discuss the best nostalgic moments from the film, why they wanted to tell the story of the 1986 Mets and which former players stood out for their performances in the show.
Kimmel also talks about his time on Fox's NFL pregame show, how much Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long hated him and almost getting voted off the NFL on Fox. Other topics discussed include why the 1980s were the best decade, what Kimmel's mentality is doing a late-night show during the age of streaming, the one guest he'd like to have on his show, his reaction to going viral and which question he hates being asked.
You can also watch the SI Media Podcast on YouTube.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: There have been so many videos of Norm Macdonald shared on social media since the stunning announcement of his death. This clip of Macdonald appearing on Conan O'Brien's show with Courtney Thorne-Smith was legendary long before yesterday. The payoff at the end couldn't be better.
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.