2010 Super Bowl surpasses finale of “M*A*S*H”

Super Bowl XLIV between the Saints and Colts was watched by more than 106 million people, which surpassed the 1983 finale of “M*A*S*H” to become the most-watched program in U.S. television history.

From ESPN.com:

Nielsen estimated Monday that 106.5 million people watched Sunday’s Super Bowl. The “M*A*S*H” record was 105.97 million.

The “M*A*S*H” record has proven as durable and meaningful in television as Babe Ruth’s record of 714 home runs was in baseball until topped by Hank Aaron. Ultimately, it may be hard to tell which program was really watched by more people. There’s a margin for error in such numbers, and Nielsen’s Monday estimate was preliminary, and could change with a more thorough look at data due Tuesday.

“It’s significant for all of the members of the broadcasting community,” said Leslie Moonves, CBS Corp. CEO. “For anyone who wants to write that broadcasting is dead, 106 million people watched this program. You can’t find that anywhere else.”

And people wonder why companies spend so much on one 30 second commercial during the Super Bowl. It’s incredibly hard to get that many people to tune into your product or brand at one given time, so companies have no problem shelling out millions for ads on Super Bowl Sunday.


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Brees completes true underdog story

It takes a special person to turn rejection into greatness.

Some forget that Doug Flutie replaced Drew Brees during the 2003 regular season because the former second round pick couldn’t get the job done. That prompted the Chargers to acquire Philip Rivers in the 2004 draft and had he not held out that year, San Diego may have never taken another look at Brees.

Brees played well in 2004 and 2005, which is why he was able to stick around in San Diego as long as he did. But the Bolts faced a major decision at the end of the 2005 season about what to do with Brees and Rivers. Do they commit to Brees and trade Rivers? Do they let Brees walk in free agency and go with an unproven Rivers?

That decision was essentially made for them when Brees suffered a shoulder injury in the last game of the ’05 season. He underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder and when he went back to the Chargers looking for a new deal, they offered him a five-year, $50 million contract that paid only $2 million in base salary the first year and the rest was heavily saturated in performance incentives.

The Chargers essentially offered him a deal they knew he would reject, which he did before hitting the open market. The team he wanted to play for, the Dolphins, was interested but they used his shoulder injury as an excuse to pass on him and sign Daunte Culpepper instead. The only team that showed any true trust in him was the Saints, whom he eventually signed with in March of 2006.

Fast-forward four years to Sunday night in Miami. After shaking off a jittery first quarter, Brees went on to complete 32-of-39 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns in the Saints’ 31-17 win over the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. He earned the MVP trophy by outplaying Peyton Manning, which is no easy feat. Brees was absolutely brilliant, as the Saints relied on him and the passing game the entire night. They trusted him to win them their first ever Super Bowl, just as they trusted him in ’06 when they were the only team that was truly interested.

But despite the fact that he’s now a Super Bowl and MVP winner, what makes Brees special is not his on-field heroics. He’s special because at no time did he ever complain about his situation or seek revenge on the Chargers and Dolphins for taking a pass. Instead, he took everything in stride, embraced the city of New Orleans and turned a bunch of negatives into one huge positive. Not everyone can do that and that is what makes Brees’ story so impressive.


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Super Bowl XLIV Preview: How will Saints defend Manning?

Over the next two weeks, Saints’ defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has the unenviable task of trying to do something that not even Rex Ryan could accomplish: Stop Peyton Manning.

Actually, “stop” isn’t the best term to use here, seeing as how nobody can actually stop Peyton Manning. “Contain” would be a better word, although that doesn’t make Williams’ job any easier as the Saints prepare to take on the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.

Thanks to Ryan’s guidance, the Jets had the No. 1 defense in the league this year and if there were any team that could contain Manning, many thought it would be New York. Instead, the Colts racked up 30 points and 461 yards of total offense on the NFL’s best defense, as Indy beat New York 30-17 in the AFC Championship Game last Sunday. The Colts also finished with 19 first downs and even rushed for 101 yards despite having the league’s worst ground attack.

Ryan’s game plan was simple: Shut down Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark and force Manning to use his other weapons. And, much as they’ve done all season, the Jets executed Ryan’s plan by holding Wayne to only three catches for 55 yards and Clark to four receptions for 35 yards.

The problem was that Manning did use his other weapons, which then went on to torch the Jets’ secondary. Pierre Garcon hauled in 11 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown, while rookie Austin Collie caught seven passes for 123 yards and a score. Ryan forced Manning to beat him with Garcon and Collie and that’s exactly what he did. That also freed up Clark to reach the end zone in the fourth quarter and pretty much put the game out of reach.

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