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Fans show their readiness for football

The first weekend of Fox 1 p.m. professional games drew 25.1 million viewers, and the USC-Ohio State game on ESPN had 10.6 million viewers.

September 18, 2009|DIANE PUCIN | ON SPORTS MEDIA

According to the Nielsen television ratings from last week's NFL and college football broadcasts, no one has to ask, "Are you ready for some football?"

Yes, yes, you are.

According to those ratings, the Fox 1 p.m. games last weekend (Giants-Redskins, St. Louis-Seattle and San Francisco-Arizona) had 25.1 million viewers. That made it the most-watched opening Sunday NFL telecast since 1987. That's a long time in TV years.

And it's not only pro football that drew you in last weekend. That USC-Ohio State game got ESPN 10.6 million viewers, which turned out to be the largest cable college football game audience in history.

Those NFL numbers shouldn't drop this weekend either. For example, the Jets play the Patriots. The L.A. audience will be eager to check out Week 2 of the Mark Sanchez explosion. As CBS' Dan Dierdorf said, "The only problem is . . . with that performance in Week 1, he has really raised the bar. People are going to have to remember he is a rookie and has played one game in the NFL. Now the one game that he has played was flat-out outstanding."

There, that will help people remember to not get too high on Sanchez.

If that doesn't drive ratings higher, the Channel 4 Sunday night game will have the New York Giants at Dallas. Can a punter hit Jerry Jones' new scoreboard? There could be a new reality show just for kickers.

And for fans of history, this is the 40th season of "Monday Night Football." It's on ESPN now and the cable network will have the Indianapolis Colts against the Miami Dolphins at 5:30 PDT. That is the anniversary of the first Monday night game, which featured the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns.

Steiner and Monday

Too much football? If you have to run out and make a snack run, do turn on the radio and listen to the Dodgers' radio team of Charley Steiner and Rick Monday. Just plain fun those two are.

Steiner is looking forward to the weekend series with the Dodgers.

"Certainly the Giants are on life support," Steiner said. "And the Dodgers are playing awfully well. They played great April, May, June, July. In August they lost their way. In September they've regained the glide in their stride."

Glide in their stride. Great phrasing. It comes naturally to Steiner, on the phone and on the radio.

Good news for NHL fans

All Kings and Ducks games that are on Prime Ticket and FS West this year will be available in high definition. That's 65 Kings games and 50 Ducks games. It was only 10 each last season. Hockey in HD? Possibly the best television upgrade ever.

How he spent his U.S. Open

John Tobias is president of the tennis division for Blue Entertainment Sports Television (BEST), and two of his most prominent clients are Melanie Oudin, the 17-year-old who made a dramatic progression into the U.S. Open quarterfinals and Caroline Wozniacki, the Danish sensation who beat Oudin and made it to the women's final.

Since Oudin left New York, she has been to L.A. to appear on Ellen DeGeneres' show, where she gave DeGeneres a pair of her suddenly signature tennis shoes (Oudin's had the word "Believe" stamped onto the sides); appeared on the "Tonight Show" with Conan O'Brien and flew first class on AirTran (she has a deal now).

As for dealing with the repercussions of the revelation by Sports Illustrated that in a 2008 divorce petition her father cited a relationship between her mother and her coach, Tobias said the answer is easy.

"From what we can see," Tobias said, "she handles things well. Our advice will be that she should be honest and forthright. Not answering questions ultimately doesn't work."

Good today

Baseball, lots of baseball. The Dodgers and Angels start two hours apart, so it's possible to check out two pennant races. The Angels are at Texas beginning at 5 p.m. on FS West; Giants at Dodgers is at 7 on Prime. Local high school football fans can check out Oaks Christian against Skyline (Wash.) on ESPNU. Justin Kutcher and Tom Luginbill will have the call. Skyline quarterback Jake Heaps has committed to Brigham Young already. Oaks Christian quarterback Nick Montana (Joe's son) is headed to Washington.

Good on Saturday

Football, lots of football. Interesting for Dodgers fans, part-time broadcaster Eric Collins (who fills in for Vin Scully on television games east of the Rockies) is doing the Louisiana Lafayette at Louisiana State game for ESPNU at 4 p.m. The USC at Washington game will be on Channel 7 at 12:30 p.m. And the Kansas State at UCLA game will be on Prime Ticket at 7:15 p.m.

Good on Sunday

What is there for fans who don't follow the NFL? NASCAR. The Sprint Cup Sylvania 300 is on at 11 a.m. on Channel 7.


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