Bulls & Bears: Super Bowl appointment viewing for NFL

 

Tom Mayenknecht hosts The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and TSN Radio, where he regularly rates and debates the Bulls Bears of sports business. He reviews the major winners and losers of the past week every Saturday.

 
 
 
 
Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.
 

Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun graphics, .

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BULLS OF THE WEEK

Super Bowl 50 audiences of 111.9 million on CBS in the United States and 8.3 million on CTV and RDS in Canada are as bullish as it gets for sport TV in North America. More impressive is the past half dozen Super Bowls have demonstrated its ratings seem impervious to factors as typically important as who’s playing, the volume of scoring, entertainment value or even margin of victory.

Last Sunday’s game was a low-scoring affair dominated by stifling defences and two offences that staged few highlight-reel plays. Even a 14-point margin of victory Sunday or the Seattle Seahawks’ blowout first half against the Denver Broncos in 2014 did not prevent about 120 million from watching.

This year also proved we don’t even demand strong game coverage. Much like the Carolina Panthers, U.S. rights holder CBS underperformed. Regardless, it was still the second most-watched Super Bowl ever in both the U.S. and Canada. The TV behemoth that is the Super Bowl has become a perfect storm of football, music, advertising and streaming pop culture, from national anthems by the likes of Lady Gaga to halftime shows headlined by Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars.

During the past 25 years, Super Bowl audiences have grown by 50 per cent in the U.S. and have more than tripled in Canada. The NFL has done that on the strength of appointment television, multiple network rights holders, dynamic cross-promotion and hours of lead-in programming. In recent years, HDTV, social media and fantasy football have pumped up the NFL and Super Bowl to the point we’ll watch no matter what.

BEARS OF THE WEEK

The Toronto Maple Leafs traded a captain ill-suited for the role, CBS had poor direction of its Super Bowl telecast and Panthers superstar quarterback Cam Newton didn’t show up for the biggest game of his career. It was a bad week for leadership in the business of sport and the business of football in particular.

Nowhere was the lack of accountability as costly as it was in the case of Newton. Some have tried to frame commentary of Newton’s performance at Super Bowl 50 as a matter of black and white. That’s hogwash. With the biggest game on the line, backing away from your own fumble wouldn’t have cut the mustard if it was Peyton Manning, Mark Sanchez or Jay Fiedler. That play may not deserve to be the avatar of Newton’s otherwise terrific season, but his overthrows, overall poor play and, most of all, his inability to own it, set him in stark contrast to Seahawks pivot Russell Wilson. Just a year ago on an even more painful play, Wilson took the blame for throwing away Super Bowl 49. Wilson stepped up. He showed leadership in tough times. There’s a path to redemption for Newton — an eventual Super Bowl win — but it will test his mettle even more than the suffocating Denver defence did.

Listen to The Sport Market on TSN 1040 AM Saturdays,7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Bulls & Bears airs at 9 a.m., followed by Weekend Extra with Sun Sports at 9:30 a.m.

Follow Tom Mayenknecht at: Twitter.com/thesportmarket

 
 
 
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Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.
 

Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun graphics, .

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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