But national spotlight games keep on coming
Over the years here at T Dog Media, it seems I’ve written more negative news about the Chicago Bears than positive – 2006 and 2018 the exceptions, of course.
But in most other years, writing about the team has been an absolute drag – especially the infamous 2014 and 2017 seasons. And despite a 5-1 start, this season is no exception as once again, Chicago’s NFL Lakefront Team® continues to parade idiot after idiot coming in to Halas Hall, from clueless head coaches to incompetent general managers, as Ryan Pace makes Trump’s four-year run in the White House look like a stunning success.
Ok, maybe not.
Then there’s the quarterback situation, as the team hasn’t had a reliable one since I think 1908. So it’s no surprise the team currently has Chicago’s longest championship drought at 35 years, although the way the New York Jets, Detroit Lions, and Miami Dolphins continue to play, having the longest championship drought in sports isn’t likely to commence anytime soon.
At least the Bears win at something.
With that said, Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville drew a season-low 22.8 household live-plus-same day rating, down 28 percent from last week’s game against the New Orleans Saints at Soldier Field. Both games aired on Fox-owned WFLD-TV.
To be fair, Sunday’s game aired in a lower HUT level time slot at noon, where ratings are generally lower. But the drop from last week is notably stunning, especially as the team is still over .500.
But the team’s offensive woes – not to mention the roasting of the team by local media and national pundits, may have turned off a significant part of the fan base. Still, a 22.8 is pretty good, given hardly any other program – sports or non-sports, even came close in the ratings as fragmentation and a heavy dependence on delayed viewing (especially for scripted shows) has eroded live plus same day ratings across the board. Streaming also plays a factor.
Next week, the Bears are once again on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, against the Minnesota Vikings. But in a surprising last-minute move, ABC-owned WLS-TV – who gets the first right of refusal when it comes to MNF games featuring the Bears and carried the last MNF matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, turned down the game this time around and is airing on CW affiliate WCIU instead, who hasn’t aired a Bears game since 2016 when they were an independent. This tweet sums it up:
With a good team gone and ratings in freefall, even @ABC7Chicago feels "The Chicago Bears on MNF" is no longer good enough to pass up "Dancing With The Stars", airing on ABC. So, your OTA outlet for next Monday's game is WCIU/CW 26, who hasn't carried a Bears game since 2016. https://t.co/39NryDO0Ki— T Dog Media (@tdogmedia) November 9, 2020
So why do the Bears continue to get plum prime-time and late afternoon slots as the team has been an embarrassment for the most part? Yes, the team has put up some absolutely awful and dreadful and pathetic efforts over the last decade, but the Bears are still a big national draw (or so the NFL thinks), proven when the team actually had a winning season in 2018. And Bears fans are among the most loyal in the league, so ratings are technically never low compared to say, L.A.’s two teams. It’s a reasons why the Giants, Jets, Cowboys, and a few others get these slots, no matter what their record is.
And don’t forget…like the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, the Bears-Packers one is the oldest in the NFL and still sells as there has been at least one primetime game since at least 2006.
Of note on Sunday, the audio went out before halftime (at least for SiriusXM customers), with a least a minute of dead air. Even the radio feed knew this Bears game wasn’t worth salvaging.