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ESPN designing protection schemes for Favre?

The Baltimore Sun

Trying to write this week's sports media notes while our new kitten keeps walking across the keyboard, annoying me because what she's typing is better than anything I come up with:

* There has been some fascinating buzz around the Brett Favre-Detroit Lions story this week. In the wake of Sunday's report by Fox's Jay Glazer that Favre volunteered to spill a caseload of beans about the Green Bay Packers' offense just before his former team played the Lions, we heard a via-text denial on NBC that night as passed through Sports Illustrated's Peter King.

Meanwhile, it was mostly quiet from ESPN - until the Pro Football Talk Web site got hold of an internal memo that went out Monday at ESPN about the Favre story. The memo was headed:

"DO NOT REPORT....DO NOT REPORT....DO NOT REPORT....DO NOT REPORT," and it said, in part: "WE HAVE BEEN TOLD BY RELIABLE SOURCES THIS REPORT IS NOT TRUE. We did NOT report it yesterday. Today, the NFL responded to the report, saying even if Favre did this he did not break any league rules. We are NOT reporting it today, because that would mean airing the erroneous report."

Favre ended up saying he had spoken with ex-Lions executive Matt Millen, though Favre didn't exactly confirm Glazer's version. Some commentators have cited ESPN's too-chummy relationship with the quarterback as coloring its coverage.

As for whether Glazer is correct, he doesn't enjoy the same access to Favre that King and ESPN have, but Glazer also has established a pretty good track record.

* Maybe now that Maryland has beaten three ranked teams, Raycom can have people working the games who don't lose the football in the middle of the play. It was a bad day Saturday for the production of the Terps-Wake Forest game - too many times the ball disappeared or we got a zoomed-in shot when we needed a wide one.

* Baltimore does love it some Sunday Night Football - just as much as Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. The not particularly compelling Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Seattle Seahawks game on Channel 11 drew 8.5 percent of the market, basically matching the 8.6 rating for TBS' telecast of the Tampa Bay Rays-Boston Red Sox to decide who went to the World Series. Nationally, NBC got a 6.3 for the NFL game and TBS a 7.9, with the 13.3 million viewers an all-time high for baseball on cable television.

A small part of the difference locally can be attributed to homes without access to TBS, but still about 88 percent of the Baltimore market has cable or satellite TV. Maybe it's that big local chapter of the Jeff Garcia Fan Club.

* Game 1 of the World Series got a 9.7 on Channel 45, which put Baltimore slightly ahead of the national average of 9.2.

(As always, local ratings information provided by Kouri "The Ratings Diva" Mitchell of WBAL-TV.)

* Tomorrow night at midnight, HBO replays the nontitle but highly anticipated light heavyweight bout between Bernard Hopkins and previously undefeated Kelly Pavlik. Oops, did I say "previously undefeated"? I know it's too late, but ... spoiler alert!

* Newly deposed San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Nolan appears on the NFL Network's NFL GameDay Morning on Sunday (10 a.m.). In a shocking twist, Nolan will wear a hoodie.

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