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'Monday Night' Ratings Drop

September 11, 2002|From Associated Press

John Madden's debut on "Monday Night Football" was the lowest-rated opener for the program in at least eight years.

The New England Patriots' 30-14 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on ABC on Monday drew an average rating of 12.8 and 23 share, down 3% from the 13.2/23 for last year's Monday opener, when the Denver Broncos beat the New York Giants.

ABC said Tuesday the rating was the lowest for a "Monday Night Football" opener since at least 1994.

Madden jumped to ABC from Fox in February with a $20-million, four-year deal to join play-by-play announcer Al Michaels. "Monday Night Football" dumped comedian Dennis Miller and analyst Dan Fouts after two years in which ratings fell more than 15% in total.

The number of people watching "Monday Night Football" has declined for seven consecutive years.

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Jacksonville punt returner Damon Gibson's fumble Sunday was crucial in more than one way. It cost the Jaguars a touchdown in a 28-25 loss to Indianapolis, and two days later, it cost Gibson his job.

Coach Tom Coughlin cut the third-year player. The move was announced in a terse news release.

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Chicago Bear cornerback R.W. McQuarters and end Phillip Daniels each will sit out at least a month because of injuries suffered against Minnesota.

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Former Pro Bowl end Michael Sinclair signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Sinclair, who spent 11 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, has 73 career sacks. He replaces Derrick Burgess, who will be out eight to 10 weeks because of a broken right foot.

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