Christine Brennan of USA Today noted that Titans-Jags game on Monday night had a higher tv rating than the MLB playoff game between the Yankees and Rangers. The football game was a dreadful 30-3 matchup that included Trent Edwards and Kerry Collins playing for injured starting quarterbacks. It was not scintillating television.
Brennan, as sportswriters are wont to do, used that fact to then launch into a screed against a cause celebre, in this case, MLB’s reluctance to adopt instant replay. Listen, I’m all for baseball adopting instant replay and joining the modern age, mainly because I think that if the public can tell a call is wrong, well, you might want to make sure you aren’t getting it completely wrong as an organization. But I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the lack of meaningful instant replay in baseball is not some sudden driving force of lower television ratings than Monday Night Football. The people who care most passionately about baseball replay are also probably watching the games so that they see the calls that they want to be reviewed by replay.
How do I know that it has nothing to do with instant replay? Well, because the NFL regular season beating out the MLB playoffs in tv ratings isn’t exactly breaking news. As it turns out, almost 10 years ago to the day, the Titans and Jags played on Monday Night Football. Back in October of 2000, that Titans-Jags game drew a 10.6 rating, compared to a 6.3 rating for the Mets-Cardinals LCS game that was up against it that night. You might recall that the previous year, those two teams had met in the AFC Championship game, so it was a much better matchup. If anything, baseball this week gained on Monday Night Football compared to a decade ago, because the Monday Night matchup was so uncompelling this year. They’re just lucky that it wasn’t a better matchup that had national buzz, or baseball would have been slaughtered in the ratings. [photo via Getty]