Tom Brady compares slog of NFL season to military deployment
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady walks with teammates off the field after the team’s 37-35 loss to the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium on December 4, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
John Suchocki / Getty Images
The New England Patriots’ Super Bowl victory in the 2009 NFL championship game drew record ratings on NBC. This Super Bowl Sunday’s game is going to be even bigger, because NBC is going big. The network’s pregame coverage at least doubled the average pregame audience for the previous Super Bowl, when the Denver Broncos hosted New England.
The pregame coverage will be a three-hour marathon, starting with a live audience from the Verizon Super Bowl 50 viewing party, which will be on the rooftop of AT&T Stadium, the home of the New England Patriots.
NBC is also paying close attention to last Sunday’s game, which it broadcast as an extra half-hour that will air on NBCSN and on the Red Zone channel, which has a heavy coverage of the Super Bowl. Even so, NBC may have had the game broadcast on its main two over-the-air stations.
“The game has to go on through some sort of telecast event, and you can’t just run it over the summertime,” said Bill Mechanic, the senior vice president of sports programming for NBC Sports. “If it had been done the way it was planned by the NFL and the PGA, we would have had the game on over-the-air in New England, and it would have probably been a big ratings hit.”
But the NFL had an idea of the game plan for the Sunday that turned out to be a disaster from the start, according to several executives in the league. NBC had its idea; the NFL had a terrible idea.
“The NFL saw this as a money-maker and they wanted to be there to watch the big game and they wanted to run the TV coverage,” Mechanic said. “We didn’t have time to put together a good game. I think what we