|New Girl/Brooklyn Nine-Nine Recently||Recent Super Bowl Lead-Outs|
|1.6/1.6/1.9 (New Girl last three weeks) |
1.5/1.4/1.9 (B99 last three weeks)
|9.4 (Simpsons/American Dad, 2005, game 33.2) |
16.5 (Grey's Anatomy, 2006, game 34.6)
10.0 (Criminal Minds, 2007, game 35.2)
12.9 (House, 2008, game 37.5)
11.0 (The Office, 2009, game 36.7)
16.2 (Undercover Boss, 2010, game 38.8)
11.1 (Glee, 2011, game 39.9)
16.3 (The Voice, 2012, game 40.5)
7.8 (Elementary, 2013, game 39.7)
Last year, I thought Elementary would be the weakest lead-out in recent history because the matchup wasn't amazing and the show itself was weak by Super Bowl lead-out standards. That turned out to be correct, but there was a very bizarre circumstance at play: the stadium power outage, which pushed Elementary's start time all the way to 11:11 (well over a half hour later than the vast majority of SB lead-outs). Would Elementary have still gone in the 9.0 range or less even without the outage, or did I get bailed out? The fun thing about something fluky like that is that everyone can claim they would've been right under normal circumstances.
In 2014, the lead-out is again weak. Elementary was barely a league average show, and New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine are even weaker at a bit below league average. If this pair led out of last year's 49ers/Ravens matchup, I'd probably have been even a bit more bearish.
However... this game is going to be big. While last year I was skeptical about it breaking the all-time viewership record (and it didn't), this year it seems more likely than not that it happens. The biggest factor working in this game's favor is that the league's most iconic quarterback Peyton Manning is in it. His effect on NFL TV ratings during the regular season was very tangible; Sunday Night Football averaged a 10.0 in Broncos games and a 7.4 in non-Broncos games. He will not have that kind of effect percentage-wise here, because most football fans are gonna be watching anyway. But it's sure better to have Manning than not to have him, and the prospect of him hoisting an MVP trophy may keep even more people tuned in for the post-game. And this is the first Super Bowl in a cold-weather environment, which may drive some additional curiosity (though the forecast has gotten warmer and drier).
Something else to keep in mind is the rare dynamic of two separate programs airing. Compared to the one-hour numbers listed above, New Girl's rating will stack up better than it "should," because viewers only have a half hour to tune out. But the drop in the second program's rating will at least make up for that. The last time two separate shows aired after the game was 2005, when The Simpsons averaged an 11.3 and American Dad! a 7.5. I'm not sure if this is a steeper drop than single programs usually take in their second half-hour. My guess it's a little steeper, which would hurt the average for the hour a bit.
With the game somewhat stronger than last year and the shows somewhat weaker, as well as (presumably!) a normal start time, I'm coming back to my prediction from last year: the hour averages about a 9.0. I'm nicking the number a bit more because a second separate program will drop a few more ticks at the half than a one-hour New Girl would.
New Girl PLUS Brooklyn Nine-Nine Over/Under: 17.65.
THIS GAME CLOSES AT A SPECIAL TIME: SUNDAY (2/2) AT 6:00 PM ET. If editing your pick, please leave a separate comment.