The Bears aren’t having fun but the NFL, Packers, and NBC sure are as ratings up from last year’s rivalry game.
Meet your new television industry overlord
Every year around Thanksgiving, this site publishes a feature honoring the worst in media called The T Dog Media Turkey Awards. But now there is a new yearly tradition on T Dog Media – bashing the Bears after yet another lackluster performance against the Packers at Lambeau in primetime.
Sunday night saw more of the same given not only Aaron Rodgers owns the NFL Lakefront Team, but also has the deed to the NFL and NBC as well despite many football fans on the internet complaining about the matchup, but you know what this space said about social media a few weeks ago and how it relates to TV ratings. Aaron Rodgers demanded the Bears in primetime on NBC and that’s what he got – so he can own them again.
The result was just as much a dominant performance for NBC as much as it was for Rodgers and the Packers with the game drawing a final viewership tally of 19.4 million across all platforms, up 18 percent from the November 29, 2020 matchup between the two teams in the same venue. It was also the most-watched Sunday Night Football game since Week 4 when Tom Brady returned to New England to face the Patriots. Among viewers in the 18-49 demo, the game score a dominant 5.0 rating.
As usual, the late-afternoon window on either CBS or Fox outdrew Sunday Night Football whenever the Bears play the Packers. This time, it was Brady and the Buccaneers against the Buffalo Bills in a late window CBS game sent out to 84 percent of the country. The game drew 21.4 million viewers, but the margin of victory was over SNF was much smaller than it was on November 29, 2020 (Chiefs-Bucs drew 23.1 million viewers that day) and tied Bears-Packers in the 18-49 demo.
The Bears’ poor record didn’t deter local viewers from tuning out as the team scored a season-high 27 household rating/47 household share and drew the biggest local Chicago ratings for any program in two years and up 14 percent from the last Bears-Packers Sunday Night game at Lambeau (keep in mind the Chicago area is home to lots of Packers fans as well.) Topping all local metered markets was Milwaukee with a 47.1/69, the highest local rating in the market since the Bucks clinched the NBA Championship on July 20.
Rodgers also smashed the competition Sunday night as like the Bears, the other networks couldn’t compete with CBS’ original TV movie A Christmas Proposal drew 4.5 million viewers and Miss Universe on Fox drawing 2.8 million (you can view the demo information here.) Of note here, host Steve Harvey asked Miss India to make a cat impression (and she wound up winning the competition!) Maybe Bears head coach Matt Nagy should’ve made animal noises in the halftime interview with NBC’s Kathryn Tappen instead of saying he was “having so much fun”, noting the last person to say anything about having fun on NBC when it wasn’t appropriate wound up losing her job.
So there is some hope.
On cable, the third-season finale of HBO’s Succession scored a not-bad 1.7 million viewers and drew a ton of engagement on Twitter from those not interested in the game. In an age of streaming, this is impressive and with delayed viewing, it’ll draw higher numbers.
The game’s ratings were helped by the Bears being competitive in the first half and actually led at halftime. But it went all downhill after the Packers basically took over in the second half, showing us why the NFL Lakefront Team shouldn’t be on any marquee stage.
Even worse, the broadcast in the second half took a decidedly partisan turn for the Packers with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth were practically fawning over Rodgers – even giving him a pass for his dishonesty over taking a Covid vaccine, though the conversation took place in the second quarter:
"Have you seen a guy, and in particular this year, be more honest…" AND we're going to have to stop you right there, Cris pic.twitter.com/X4zN1Za3Fm— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) December 13, 2021
The statement is hypocrisy at its worst (he wouldn’t say this if Cam Newton or Colin Kaepernick pulled a similar stunt) and this and the scheduling of this game on Sunday Night Football basically reflects the greed the league and the media business is known for (if you want to see a rant about the NFL and their scheduling with the Bears, read last year’s piece on the subject.)
Despite the complaints from general football fans regarding the Bears playing in primetime, it’s Aaron Rodgers who draws the viewers and the ratings and of course, the revenue while destroying everything else. He owns Bob’s Burgers, he owns Survivor, and he even owns the entire CW network. He’s Double-Discount-Checking everything in sight, including Young Sheldon.
Yes, Aaron Rodgers is the television industry’s new overlord, but no one is complaining – except Bears fans.