In past years, regular-season NFL football has at times generated better television ratings than postseason baseball. And preseason football routinely outdraws regular-season baseball.
This year, however, a pennant-clinching game between the Yankees and the Angels beat the Sunday night game featuring the Cardinals and the Giants, the last two NFC representatives to the Super Bowl.
Per Michael Hiestand of USA Today, the baseball game rang up an 11.4 overnight rating, which means that it was viewed in 11.4 percent of television households in the top 56 urban markets. Cardinals-Giants registered a 10.4 rating.
So at a time when some owners are pushing for a lockout — and when the union has at times adopted a “bring it on” posture — we hope that both sides will realize that the American public has options, and that the sports world would continue spinning in the event the NFL decides to shut its doors for a year or so in the hopes of cramming a bad deal down the players’ throats.
That said, high-stakes postseason baseball should outdraw a regular-season NFL game. Indeed, there will be no Sunday night game in Week Eight because the NFL traditionally avoids going up against the World Series. And the fact that the numbers were close is further proof that football is the preferred spectator sport.
Still, with college football and postseason baseball and hockey and basketball, folks would miss the NFL — but they also would find plenty of other things to watch and/or do if pro football went away for a while.
And some of them might not come back when the NFL finally does.