Though it’s roughly as challenging as trying to assess whether you’d think your own baby was cute if he or she wasn’t your own baby (I made the mistake of raising that question with my wife . . . once), we’d like to think that we’d regard this next item of news as newsworthy even if we didn’t have a direct connection to the product in question.
Sunday Night Football, a show that was invaded on a weekly basis by a certain Internet hack with whom you may be familiar, finished the NFL season as the No. 1 show on television.
Not just the No. 1 show every night that NBC carried a primetime game. But the No. 1 show on all of television for the 17 weeks that just finished this past Sunday night.
It’s the first time ever that a sports show has been the No. 1 show in television from the start of the television season through the end of the football season.
“Nearly six years ago we worked with the NFL to create Football Night in America – a night that America would reserve for football and over the five football seasons since, we have steadily built that night,” Dick Ebersol, Chairman of NBC Universal Sports and Olympics, said in a statement released by NBC Sports. “Thanks in large part to the incredible unscripted drama generated each week by the NFL and its players, the terrific schedule that the league has afforded us, our production team and on-camera talent whose passion and dedication translates into an unmatched viewing experience, and our broad promotion that reaches the casual fan, I am proud to say that Sunday Night Football has become the No. 1 show on primetime television.”
Memo to NFL owners and players . . . if you want your sport to continue to enjoy that level of popularity, you’d better find a way to save face and craft a win-win solution for your labor dispute, and you’d better presume that urgency exists now. Because it does. No one wants to spend the offseason worrying about whether there will be a work stoppage in September. At a certain point, fans will disengage from the process and assume that there won’t be NFL football in 2011, and they’ll plan their lives accordingly.
That point, we fear, is coming sooner than anyone realizes.