Super telecast makes history
By Bill Griffith, Globe Staff, 2/5/2002
The Patriots didn't get a lot of national notice - or respect - until their final game. Every time the Patriots pulled out a victory, national networks chalked it up to luck.
But New Englanders knew. And thus we tuned in to Super Bowl XXXVI in huge numbers. The Boston market produced a 56.1 rating and 78 audience share, meaning a Boston-record 1.3 million homes and a projected 3.1 million viewers were watching.
The rating was a Boston-market record for football. The previous high was a 55.6 for Patriots-Packers in Super Bowl XXXI. That game reached 1.2 million homes.
Sunday night's 78 share is second only to last week's Patriots-Steelers AFC Championship game, which produced an 80 share (reaching just under 1.1 million homes). That game, on a sunny, unseasonably warm day, meant few casual viewers were home to watch competing shows.
Super Bowl XXXVI's Boston audience peaked at a 62.3 rating (84 share) from 10-10:15 p.m., which covered Adam Vinatieri's winning field goal and the immediate postgame celebrations.
Nationally, the game did a 40.4 preliminary rating (61 share), covering roughly two-thirds of the nation's viewing homes. The numbers were identical to last year's Super Bowl between Baltimore and the New York Giants.
Boston's ratings topped the nation's 51 metered markets, but St. Louis (52.4, 81 share) and New Orleans (51.1, 71 share) weren't far behind.
At Channel 25, the local Fox affiliate, jubilation bubbled over.
''This will go down as one of the greatest Super Bowls ever played and be remembered around here for generations,'' said general manager Gregg Kelley. ''Fox 25 is proud to be the station that broadcast this historic game to the incredible fans of New England.''
Channel 25 has had an amazing sports stretch, adding Red Sox broadcasts last season (which virtually doubled their ratings), handling a thrilling seven-game World Series, and thriving with NFL and NASCAR.
A good chunk of the Super Bowl audience stayed with Channel 25 through the network postgame to the Fox25 late news, which enjoyed its highest-rated broadcast with a 15.4 rating from 10:45-11:45 p.m., with Butch Stearns and Jodi Applegate anchoring from the Superdome floor. Patriots owner Robert Kraft surprised Applegate with a peck on the cheek after she dubbed him ''The Emperor'' of Patriot Nation.
The 11 p.m. news race went to Channel 4 with a 14.4 rating (24 share), followed by Channel 5 (9.3 and 16) and Channel 7 (6.4 and 11).
From 11:30 to midnight, Channel 4's ''Sports Final'' earned a 9.6 rating against Channel 5's ''Big Easy'' 5.7. ''SportsXtra'' on Channel 7 did a 4.8 rating from 11:45-12:15 a.m.
Random items: As both coaches, the Patriots' Bill Belichick and the Rams' Mike Martz, used their timeouts early in the second half, the words of CBS analyst Phil Simms came to mind: ''Waste 'em in the first half, hoard them in the second half.'' ... Fox analyst John Madden, who worked his final game with longtime partner Pat Summerall, in his pregame remarks: ''The difference between winning and losing a Super Bowl is the biggest gap in sports.'' ... Channel 4's Bob Lobel, signing off ''Sports Final OT'' at 12:30 a.m.: ''The Patriots are Super Bowl champs ... go to bed with a smile.'' ... So far, NECN's Chris Collins, Lobel, and AT&T3's Peter Gay claim to have predicted the final score, leaving ESPN's Chris Berman to say, ''I'm the Swami, but you swarmed me.'' And NBC's NBA analyst, Mike Fratello, had it 24-21, with Vinatieri kicking ''only'' a 46-yarder to win it ... WBCN's Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti showed their jubilation with a postgame rendition of ''We Are The Champions'' before mercifully stopping. ''We can't sing every week,'' said Cappelletti ... Interesting that our local pols - the same folks who told Kraft they didn't want him to spend his millions building a stadium in Boston - are throwing a big parade for the team. A measure of the Krafts' class that they didn't hold the parade in Foxborough or Providence ... Did anyone else think that parts of Fox's pregame show looked like Olympic Opening Ceremonies fare? ... NESN is giving away a 2002 Nissan Altima during next Monday's Beanpot finals at the FleetCenter. Register online at www.nesn.com by today... The NFL Films video of the Patriots' Super season can be ordered at www.NFL.com ... WEEI's Dale Arnold yesterday: ''I always wondered what it would be like to be a sports talk show host in this market when we won a national championship. Now I know.'' ... Channel 4 will do a Patriots season wrap-up special tonight from 7:30-8 ... Tune in most anyplace around 11 a.m. today and see that everyone loves a parade.
This story ran on page G13 of the Boston Globe on 2/5/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.