Faith Hill opens the show in style

The Ravens performance wasn't the only disappointing thing about Sunday night's nationally televised loss to the San Diego Chargers. National ratings were down considerably from last year's Week 15 for "NBC Sunday Football." Week in and week out, SNF is normally the highest rated program on prime-time television.

The game was down 4 ratings points, at least 4 million viewers, from last year's Week 15. Furthermore, the audience Sunday was down 1.6 ratings points from the season average for the NBC juggernaut.

In fact, the Ravens laid such an egg with their lack of competitiveness that CBS is claiming its first victory on a Sunday night all year with young viewers. (We will have to wait for final number to make that call.)

Furthermore, CBS Sports is claiming the biggest TV audience of the year on any network for its late afternoon game between Tim Tebow's Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots.

But the most interesting single fact within NBC's ratings data on the Ravens-Chargers game is how many folks in Pittsburgh tuned in and stayed tuned to the spectacle of John Harbuagh getting totally out-coached by Norv Turner -- and several of the Ravens superstars (read: Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis) not "showing up," to use the language of NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth.

I'll bet folks in Pittsburgh enjoyed every bloody second of the Ravens collapse in San Diego. And now we have reports of Suggs and cornerback Jimmy Smith telling journalists after the game that the loss is no big deal.

Sorry, it is a big deal to the fans who tuned them out -- and NBC, which lost the audience.

Here's the release:

NEW YORK – December 19, 2011 – The Chargers dominating 34-14 victory over the Ravens on Sunday Night Football last night earned an 11.3 overnight rating and an 18 share, according to overnight data released today by The Nielsen Company. The rating is down from last year's Week 15 game that featured the 11-2 Patriots hosting the 8-5 Packers (15.2/24).


1. Baltimore, 38.4/54
2. San Diego, 32.0/53
3. Pittsburgh, 22.4/32
4. New Orleans, 19.9/27
5. Sacramento, 16.2/27
6. Las Vegas, 15.9/25
7. Richmond, 15.4/23
8. Washington, D.C., 14.8/23
9. Kansas City, 14.2/21
10. Indianapolis, 12.7/19

SNF DOMINATES PRIMETIME: Through 14 weeks of the NFL season (14 Sunday's and one Thursday), Sunday Night Football is averaging 21.3 million viewers, and a household rating of 12.9/20.