Watchdog

Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Sly Fox jumps pregame ratings race

Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan appear at Lincoln

(Credit: Getty Images)

Newsday’s Department of Redundancy Department has asked me to take a break from boring readers with stories about NFL ratings achievements, so this week let us turn to . . . NFL pregame shows!

“Fox NFL Sunday’’ again won the increasingly crowded race for eyeballs ready for some football at noon Eastern Time, averaging 3.2 percent of homes and 4.8 million viewers.

Perspective: That’s...

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NFL wild-card games threatened with blackouts

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers warms up

(Credit: Getty Images)

The NFL has become increasingly concerned about its customers choosing the comforts of their homes and high-def TVs over fighting traffic, paying big bucks, braving the elements and dealing with loutish fans to see games in person.

That is why the league has worked hard to improve the in-stadium experience, including the additions of vast video boards and frequent replays.

The trend...

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Football Nation tuned in again in '13

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning throws a pass

(Credit: Getty)

There are those who fear for the future of football, given increasing concerns about its dangers. But in the present the sport never has been stronger.

Nielsen released its year-end roundup of television viewing and it showed nine of the top 10 programs were NFL related. The lone exception was the Academy Awards, at No. 7 with 40.4 million viewers.

No. 1 was Super Bowl XLVII at 108.7...

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Jets, Giants to play simultaneously for fourth time in five seasons

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, right,

(Credit: AP)

The Jets and Giants went a quarter of a century, from 1984 to 2009, without playing at the same time in the regular season – other than against each other. But Sunday they will do so for the fourth time in five seasons.

It occurred twice in 2009, the first time to avoid a conflict for Jets fans observing Yom Kippur, the second to avoid having the Giants visit the Eagles too close to the start...

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Terry Bradshaw not warm to Super Bowl XLVIII

HENDERSON VS. BRADSHAW Super Bowl XIII Cowboys linebacker

(Credit: AP)

Fox will telecast Super Bowl XLVIII, featuring pregame, halftime and postgame analysis from its biggest studio star – Terry Bradshaw.

So the four-time Super Bowl champ must be pumped up for the big event at MetLife Stadium, right? Um . . . let’s just say Fox had better hope he warms up to the idea by Feb. 2.

Here is what Bradshaw said on WFAN Wednesday regarding the first outdoor Super...

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NFL uses flex to maintain flexbility

Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) makes

(Credit: AP)

The NFL’s decision to flex the Dec. 22 Ravens-Patriots game out of prime time for Eagles-Bears initially caused much head-scratching, until Sports Business Journal reported it was driven by an arcane TV contract provision.

It turns out the gap between games taken from CBS and Fox for prime time windows in any given season may not exceed three. If Ravens-Patriots had remained at night, CBS’s...

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