As he relaxed at Green Bay's Radisson Hotel & Conference Center about 22 hours before the kickoff of the Packers and Vikings game at Lambeau Field, Fox Sports producer
"I've seen these kind of things get f----- up a lot because people overproduce it," said Zyontz, who has worked at Fox since 1994. "That's in the back of my mind and believe me as a group we have discussed it. I can't remember doing a regular-season game that was more exciting and felt bigger than this one, but we would be naive to think that this will be one of the most-watched regular-season telecasts because the Vikings are playing an NFC North game against the Packers."
I don't have to tell you the reason it was big. Brett Favre's return to Lambeau Field aired to 91 percent of the country, topping last week's Vikings-Steelers game (also on Fox) that went to 85 percent. The network drew a 17.4 average household rating, the highest rated NFL Sunday telecast for any network since Dec. 2007. The game was seen by 29.8 million viewers, the second-most watched Fox Sunday NFL telecast ever. (Fox's most-watched Sunday telecast came on Nov. 12, 1995, when 32.1 million watched the Niners defeat the Cowboys 38-20.) The Fox doubleheader averaged a 15.0 rating -- the network's highest doubleheader in 13 years -- and its Fox NFL Sunday pregame show drew a season-high 4.1 rating, the show's best performance in six years.
Zyontz's crew thankfully kept the Favre fawning to a minimum. Much of that was based on how the game played out. The Vikings led 24-3 early in the third quarter before Green Bay mounted a comeback. Unlike ESPN's
If there was one quibble with the broadcast -- and this is a slight quibble -- it came near the end of the fourth quarter when Brennaman sounded a little too preachy in hoping Packers fans would move on. "Hopefully, a night like tonight is a night where everybody can just move on, because the full circle has now been completed," Brennaman said. "You see him in a Vikings uniform. He plays the Packers in Minnesota. He comes here and plays the Packers at Lambeau Field. Life will move on."
Aikman thankfully brought things back to reality. "Well, I think that sounds real good," Aikman said, "but I'm not so sure life just moves on for the Green Bay Packer fans."
In fact, the most over-the-top Favre element turned out to be a valuable one for viewers. Fox had a camera stationed on the 50-yard line that was promoted as "Favre-Cam," allowing the most diehard Favre fans to follow the Vikings' quarterback every move beginning with warm-ups. The constant video stream was available on FoxSports.com and NFL.com, and offered viewers crazy enough to watch (such as yours truly) a fascinating view of the game through the eyes of an NFL quarterback. The Favre-Cam actually lasted longer than the game coverage, so those watching online saw Favre greet his former teammates and coaches after the game (which was far more interesting than the end of Cardinals-Panthers game). Other networks should think about offering a similar camera for marquee players in other sports.
• Give Turner president
"But I do think it almost snowballed to the point where some of the sportswriters and columnists were actually missing an incredible postseason. Instead of writing about the game and the storyline and what was happening, it became about Chip. And I think they missed a lot. I'm not saying he didn't make errors. Don't get me wrong. But was it that big? Was it that big of a story? That was always my question. I'll never know the answer to that, but obviously the writers and columnists do."
• With New York (the nation's No. 1 television market) and Philadelphia (No. 4) competing in the World Series, Fox had a chance for a significant rating if the championship lasted beyond five games. So far, the network is having a huge run. The first three games averaged a 10.9 with an average audience of 17.9 million. That's a 42 percent ratings gain and a 46 percent increase in viewers from last year. According to Fox, it's the best three-game average for the World Series since a 15.0 (24.3 million) in 2004. And Fox announced on Monday that Game 4 drew a 15.6 overnight rating, the highest overnight rating for any World Series game since 2004. "If we get six or seven, it'll be in the neighborhood of a Red Sox World Series," Fox Sports president
• Last week
"It was my personal version of a 'Dream Week,' " Albert said. "I have had some crazy weeks before, including multiple two-sport doubleheaders, but this was about as bizarre and enjoyable as any stretch I can ever remember." After calling the Giants-Eagles yesterday, Albert left for Vancouver on Monday to call Tuesday night's Rangers-Canucks game.
• Props to the NFL Network's
• When asked about the reception Favre would receive in Green Bay, ESPN's
• In one of the more amusing Favre commentaries of the weekend, ESPN NFL analyst
• Fox smartly moved that pesky TV camera overhanging the fence at Citizens Bank Park -- the one Yankees third baseman
• "Unquestionably worst job I ever had in journalism: AP poll voter. Lots of work, no pay and your voice is entirely muted. Why do it?"
• "Skip To My Lou vs. White Chocolate. Would have loved to see that matchup 10 yrs ago on a playground. Not so much now."
"When I was in Philadelphia earlier this postseason with
"You've got to cut him.