Behind the Broadcast: What lockout? NFL Week 1 ratings never better

If the NFL had any fears that the offseason lockout between the owners and players was going to adve

If the NFL had any fears that the offseason lockout between the owners and players was going to adversely affect the viewership of the games in the fall, those worries were eased on Wednesday.

A record 107.4 million viewers tuned into Kickoff Weekend games on CBS, ESPN, FOX and NBC. It ranks as the most-viewed opening weekend ever.

Three games topped 25 million average viewers — the NBC Thursday night opener (Saints-Packers, 27.2 million), the FOX national game telecast (mostly Giants-Redskins, 25.8 million) and the NBC Sunday night game (Cowboys-Jets, 25.8 million). They are the three most-watched sporting events since Super Bowl XLV.

These three telecasts rank among the seven most-watched shows among all television programs since Super Bowl Sunday, including awards shows, such as the Academy Awards, and season finales.

One other note. Kickoff Weekend games averaged 19.0 million viewers. Coupled with last year’s average of 19.5 million, it marks the first time in 25 years that NFL opening-weekend games averaged at least 19 million viewers in consecutive seasons (1986-1987).

I have to wonder, though. Was the NFL lockout the most overblown story of the year?

Let’s face facts. Were there any regular-season games missed? No. In fact, only one preseason game was missed: the Hall of Fame game. I didn’t hear an outcry about that.

The NFL draft still went on, des­pite the lockout. So what if the players weren’t signed right away. And wasn’t the free-agent frenzy a lot more fun?

Now, if the lockout stretched into the regular season, then the fans would have been right to be upset. But it was resolved in time with no harm done to the game.

Football schedules

Here are the college football games and NFL season opener that will be televised over the next several days.

The game schedule will also include Internet broadcasts on Most ESPN and ESPN2 games will be on

Announcers, in order of play-by-play, analyst and sideline reporters, are in parentheses. Announcing pairings and game broadcasts are subject to change.


CBS6 and CBS6 HD — Jacksonville at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m. (Greg Gumbel/Dan Dierdorf); San Diego at New England, 4:15 p.m. (Jim Nantz/Phil Simms).

FOX23 and FOX23 HD — Dallas at San Francisco, 4 p.m. (Thom Brennaman/Brian Billick/Laura Okmin).

NBC13 and NBC13 HD — Philadelphia at Atlanta, 8:20 p.m. (Al Michaels/Cris Collinsworth/Michele Tafoya).


ESPN and ESPN HD — St. Louis at N.Y.

Giants, 8:30 p.m. (Mike Tirico/Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski).

College Football


ABC10 and ABC10 HD — Auburn at Clemson, noon (Dave Pasch/Chris Spielman and Urban Meyer/Quint Kessenich); Texas at UCLA, 3:30 p.m. (Bob Wischusen/Bob

Davie/Samantha Steele); Oklahoma at No. 5 Florida State, 8 p.m. (Brent Musburger/Kirk Herbstreit/Erin Andrews and Tom Rinaldi).

ESPN and ESPN HD — Penn State at Temple, noon (Dave Lamont/Ray Bentley); Washington at Nebraska, 3:30 p.m. (Sean McDonough/Matt Millen/Heather Cox); Ohio State at Miami, 7:30 p.m. (Brad Nessler/Todd Blackledge/Holly Rowe); Stanford at Arizona, 10:45 p.m. (Carter Blackburn/Brock Huard/Shelley Smith).

ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD — Pittsburgh at Iowa, noon (Beth Mowins/Mike Bellotti); Navy at South Carolina, 6 p.m. (Mike Patrick/Craig James/Jeannine Edwards); Utah at Brigham Young, 9:15 p.m. (Mark Jones/Ed Cunningham/Jessica Mendoza).

ESPNU and ESPNU HD — West Virginia at Maryland, noon (Rob Stone/Danny Kanell); Virginia at North Carolina, 3:30 p.m. (Pam Ward/Dan Hawkins); Louisville at Kentucky, 7 p.m. (Clay Matvick/Brian Griese/Allison Williams).

Big Ten Network and BTN HD — Eastern Michigan at Michigan, noon (Tom Hart/Derek Rackley/Lisa Byington); Miami (Ohio) at Minnesota, 3:30 p.m. (Matt Devlin/Glen Mason/Rebecca Haarlow); Arizona State at Illinois, 7 p.m. (Eric Collins/Chris Martin/­Dionne Miller). — Central Michigan at Western Michigan, noon (Michael Reghi/Doug Garber); Wyoming at Bowling Green, noon (announcers TBA); Kansas at Georgia Tech, 12:30 p.m. (announcers TBA); Coastal Car­olina at Georgia, 1 p.m. (announcers TBA); Wisconsin at Northern Illinois, 3:30 p.m. (Jim Barbar/Christian Fauria); Akron at Cincinnati, 3:30 p.m. (Dave Weekley/John Greg­ory); Missouri State at Oregon, 3:30 p.m. (announcers TBA); Arkansas State at Virginia Tech, 4 p.m. (announcers TBA); Nevada at San Jose State, 4 p.m. (announcers TBA); Central Florida at Florida International, 6 p.m. (Doug Bell/Rene Ingoglia); South Alabama at North Carolina State, 6 p.m. (Ryan Rose/Rob Harley/Angela Mallon); Gardner Webb at Wake Forest, 6:30 p.m. (Joe Davis/Warrick Dunn); Houston at Louisiana Tech, 7 p.m. (John Sadak/Rene Nadeau); Marshall at Ohio, 7 p.m. (Dan Gutowsky/Jerod Cherry); Indiana State at Western Kentucky, 7 p.m. (Shawn Kenney/Drew Henson); Troy at Arkansas, 7:30 p.m. (Matt Stewart/Chris Doering/Maria Taylor); North Texas at Alabama, 7:30 p.m. (announcers TBA); Texas-El Paso at New Mexico State, 8 p.m. (announcers TBA); North Dakota at Fresno State, 10 p.m. (Trey Bender/ Jay Taylor).

MSG and MSG HD — Mississippi at Vanderbilt, noon (Dave Neal/Andre Ware/Cara Capuano).

MY4 and MY4 HD — Duke at Boston College, 12:30 p.m. (Steve Martin/Dave Archer/Dave Neal).

MSG Plus and MSG Plus HD — Colorado State vs. Colorado, 1:30 p.m. (Craig Bolerjack/Joel Klatt/Petros Papadakis); Oklahoma State at Tulsa, 10 p.m. (Ron Thulin/JC Pearson/Jim Knox).

CBS6 and CBS6 HD — Tennessee at Flor­ida, 3:30 p.m. (Verne Lundquist/Gary Danielson/Tracy Wolfson).

NBC13 and NBC13 HD — Michigan State at Notre Dame, 3:30 p.m. (Tom Hammond/Mike Mayock/Alex Flanagan).

Versus and Versus HD — Texas Tech at New Mexico, 3:30 p.m. (Paul Burmeister/Shaun King/Anthony Herron).

CBSN and CBSN HD — Northwestern at Army, 3:30 p.m. (Gary Thorne/Randy Cross/Micha Ables); Hawaii at UNLV, 10 p.m. (Bill Doleman/Jay Leeuwenburg/Molly Sullivan).

Time Warner Cable Sports-3 and TWCS-3 HD — Maine at UAlbany, 6 p.m. (Rodger Wyland/Zach Bye).

Time Warner Cable Sports-1 — Courage Bowl: St. John Fisher vs. Rochester, 7 p.m. (announcers TBA).

SNY and SNY HD — Florida A&M at South Florida, 7 p.m. (J.B. Long/Ryan Nece/Justin Pawlowski).

FOX College Central — Kent State at Kansas State, 7 p.m. (Steve Physioc/Yogi Roth/Desmond Purnell).

FX and FX HD — Syracuse at Southern California, 8 p.m. (Gus Johnson/Charles White/Tim Brewster).


ESPNU and ESPNU HD — Hampton vs. Bethune-Cookman, 7:30 p.m. (Anish Shroff/Jay Walker).

ESPN and ESPN HD — North Carolina State at Cincinnati, 8 p.m. (Rece Davis/Craig James and Jesse Palmer/Jenn Brown).

CBSN and CBSN HD — Missouri Western State at Washburn, 8 p.m. (announcers TBA).


ESPN and ESPN HD — Central Florida at Brigham Young, 8 p.m. (Joe Tessitore/Rod Gilmore).

Parting shots

MSG and MSG HD will televise the New Jersey Devils-New York Rangers preseason game from the Times Union Center at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Former Union College goalie Keith Kinkaid could be in un­iform for the Devils. . . .

The NHL Network will televise 32 preseason games over the next couple of weeks. It starts Monday with Ottawa against Toronto at

7 p.m. . . .

The Coaches vs. Cancer Classic basketball tournament, which has been a staple for 16 years on ESPN, is moving Turner Sports’ truTV starting next year. TruTV will televise the semifinals, consolation and finals as part of a multiyear agreement.

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