Redskins TV rankings sink for Chiefs game

December 13, 2013

(Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

Every week the NFL puts out a press release, listing the NFL markets in which pro football was the highest-rated television program over the previous week.

Washington is almost always on that list, and almost always in the middle or higher of that list.

Last week, though, was different. Washington was awfully close to the bottom. My friend LaVar Arrington argued that the swirling chaos made last-week’s game a must-watch; while LaVar is almost always right, I disagreed, thinking more people would rather spend their Sunday being happy than watching a disaster flick.

Some bullet points:

* The Redskins-Chiefs broadcast on CBS earned a 20.7 rating. Now, before I go on, that’s obviously still a massive television rating. The best television rating in Nats history, by way of comparison, was a 16.7 for the Game 5 playoff loss to the Cardinals. So one of the least important and most depressing games in Redskins recent history still drew far more local viewers than the most-watched Nats game in franchise history.

* But let’s compare the Redskins to the Redskins. Here are the weeks that a Redskins game was the most-watched program in this market, with the rating. (There are three missing weeks: the bye week, and the two times the Redskins played on Monday night, when the rating for Monday Night Football was higher than for the subsequent Sunday.)

Week 1 Eagles — 38.8

Week 3 Lions — 25.1

Week 4 Raiders — 29.0

Week 6 Cowboys — 33.3

Week 7 Bears — 26.5

Week 8 Broncos — 33.5

Week 9 Chargers — 28.1

Week 10 Vikings — 25.5

Week 11 Eagles — 23.6

Week 12 49ers — 26.0

Week 14 Chiefs — 20.7

* Now let’s compare Washington to other NFL markets. The Redskins finished no better than 25th in local ratings among local NFL teams. They were ahead of Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Miami. The NFL did not send out ratings for the Jets, Giants, Raiders or Rams, who were not the highest-rated program in their market.

* Now let’s compare this bad Week 14 rating to the Washington ratings for the Cowboys. At least three times this year, the Cowboys were the highest-rated weekly program in Washington:

During week one (when the Redskins played on Monday night), the Cowboys-Giants broadcast earned a 20.9 rating in this market.

During Washington’s bye week, the Broncos-Cowboys game earned a 23.9 rating in this market.

During Thanksgiving week, the Cowboys-Giants broadcast earned a 22.6 rating in this market.

And I know you’ll be tempted to say that there were special circumstances for each of those three games, which is true. But those Cowboys ratings were still lower than for every other Redskins game this season besides the Chiefs game. Which suggests that something especially bad happened here last weekend.

(All via The Fingerman)

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg | December 13, 2013