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.
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.
I know what you’re thinking: Great, the Saints win one Super Bowl and now the media wants to anoint them the Steelers of the 70s, the 49ers of the 80s or the Cowboys of the early 90s.
Relax – I’m not doing that. But I bring the topic up because there’s a case to be made that the Saints have all the pieces in place to become a mini-dynasty this decade.
Over the next couple weeks, the Saints will ensure that centerpiece Drew Brees finishes his career in New Orleans by giving him a very large contract extension. Whenever the time is right, they’ll also do the same with head coach Sean Payton and make sure that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is happy where he’s at in order to keep their two playcallers intact for years to come as well.
With those three vital pieces in place, the Saints could challenge for multiple Super Bowls and not be a one-year wonder. Continuity breeds success and considering they have a family-like atmosphere in their locker room, the team won’t have a hard sell on its hands in trying to bring free agents like Darren Sharper back to New Orleans next season.
But as I’ve highlighted below (after the jump), they do have some huge hurdles to overcome if they want to build upon their success from the 2009-2010 season.
Following their 31-17 loss to the Saints on Sunday night, Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne jetted off to the locker room like losing players of the Super Bowl always do. But what was noteworthy about their exit was that they ran off without shaking hands with their opponent.
Manning reacted stoically Sunday night after wide receiver Reggie Wayne dropped his team’s last gasp — a fourth-down pass in the end zone late in the fourth quarter. With hands on hips and his helmet still on, Manning returned to the sideline and stared at a video-board replay. He then headed toward the locker room before the final seconds expired in New Orleans’ 31-17 win.
Was it poor sportsmanship for not shaking hands with Saints players? Sure. But after what had just transpired in Super Bowl XLIV, I wouldn’t want to look back either.
The Boston Globe reports that Manning ran into Darren Sharper on the way out of his postgame press conference and congratulated him “profusely” while shaking his hand and giving him a hug.
“I’ll certainly talk to Drew,” Manning said. “I certainly know how it was three years ago when we won. There’s not much consolation for the guys who didn’t win. There’s the stage getting set up and there’s the celebration. That’s the time for the Saints to celebrate. It’s their field. They deserve the moment. I certainly congratulate all their players, their organization. I will speak to Drew Brees, speak to Sean Payton. They deserve all the credit.”
Manning is all class and I don’t think he was being a poor sport. Sure, it would have been better had he and Wayne sought out Brees and the Saints on the field, but what’s the difference in them congratulating them immediately after the game or a day later? Showing your respect is the most important thing and it sounds like Manning and Wayne are or did do that.
Neither of those players have history of being poor sports, so I don’t think much should be made out of this.