John Steigerwald

Column John Steigerwald

John Steigerwald has been a fixture of TV, radio, and newspaper sports in Pittsburgh, and has a Sunday column in the Observer-Reporter.

Super Bowl ratings much about timing

Super Bowl ratings leave every other program in the dark

February 2, 2013

Planning on watching the Super Bowl?

So are 113 million other people in the United States.

But, really, what else are you going to do? It’s going to be 25 degrees and snowing. And dark.

In case you hadn’t heard, the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers are playing today in New Orleans. Everybody’s talking about it. It’s the biggest sports event of the year in North America. I know that because the Alabama quarterback’s girlfriend, made famous by Brent Musberger, was sent there on media day by Inside Edition – or one of those shows that looks just like Inside Edition – to do player interviews. She’s apparently qualified because she’s really good looking and went to a football game at least once.

There’s no denying that NFL football is America’s favorite sport, but the huge ratings are about so much more than football.

I know that because I saw a news conference for the woman, Beyonce, who’s going to lip sync … I mean sing …, at halftime.

Check the weather forecasts for some of the cities that will probably make XLVII the most-watched TV show of all time. There will be lots of temperatures in the low to mid-20s and plenty of darkness. The Super Bowl, especially now that it’s being played in February, comes at a time when about two-thirds of the people in America could qualify as shut-ins.

What are they going to do instead of watch the game? Have a cookout? Cut the grass? Play the game in mid-June and the ratings would drop by 50 percent. And not because it would be going up against the Stanley Cup Finals.

• Then there’s the Pro Bowl. It was played last week, in case you were fortunate enough to miss it. It got a 9.8 rating in the key 18-49 demographic and won it’s time slot. That can only mean that at least two-thirds of the people who said they wouldn’t be caught dead watching the Pro Bowl, watched it.

Think that number would shrink if the game were played in the middle of June?

I didn’t catch who performed at halftime, but I’m pretty sure it was Manti Te’o’s internet girlfriend. I hear she pretended to sing.

• Game 4 of the World Series sweep by the San Francisco Giants got a 7.6 rating.

• Were you as shocked as I was to hear a man of conscience such as Ray Lewis was being accused of using an illegal substance to help him recover from a triceps injury? If he says – despite the fact that there’s a tape of him placing an order out there somewhere – that he never used deer antler velvet extract, I believe him.

And even though the injury that he was trying to recover from is common among PED users, I would never suspect a man of his character of cheating to get ahead.

• Maybe having the Super Bowl to watch is good for America’s psyche. We can all be distracted from having to deal with the shock and grief of finding out that Alex Rodriguez might have lied to us.

Remember when Rodriguez said he stopped using PEDs before he joined the New York Yankees? According to the Miami New Times, Anthony Bosch, who runs a PED business in Miami, has documents that show A-Rod was buying from him as recently as 2012.

Of course, A-Rod denied everything through a spokesman, “Alex Rodriguez was not Mr. Bosch’s patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him. The purported documents referred to in the story – at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez – are not legitmate.”

Turns out Manti Te’o is A-Rod’s spokesman.

Just kidding.

According to T.J Quinn of ESPN, there are late-night text messages from A-Rod to Bosch, telling him to come to A-Rod’s house to inject him. Rodriguez was still denying the story as of Friday.

As usual, in cases of athletes and the use of performance enhancing drugs, I’m going with guilty until proven innocent.

• Clairton wide receiver Tyler Boyd, is confused. He’s one of the top football recruits in the country and in early January, during the telecast of the U.S Army All-American Bowl, he stood behind a table with hats from Pitt, West Virginia and Michigan State, picked up the Pitt hat and made an oral commitment to play for Panthers coach Paul Chryst.

Since then, he has taken recruiting trips to West Virginia and Tennessee and, apparently, isn’t sure that he made the right decision. Boyd is a kid. It’s understandable that he would want to make a big production out of what was one of the biggest days of his life. It’s the adults who are the idiots.

Where were the adults – other than the shameless shills working for ESPN – preventing him from making a commitment before he had made his official visits?

Is this a complicated concept? Make your commitment after you’ve visited the schools?

The adults should be doing whatever they can to prevent high school kids from creating a media circus and setting themselves up to break a promise made on national TV.

Not facilitating it.

John Steigerwald writes a Sunday column for the Observer-Reporter.



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