Against Game Five in 2022, NFL did a lot better than it did against Game 7 in 1986

Getty Images

On Sunday night, the Titans and Chiefs on NBC will possibly square off against Game Seven of the World Series, three nights after Game Five between the Astros and Phillies thumped Eagles-Texans in the ratings.

If there’s a battle looming between the final game of the Fall Classic and a run-of-the-mill matchup for America’s new pastime, the relative viewership won’t be anything like it was back in 1986.

That year, a rain delay the night after Boston first baseman Bill Buckner saw a ball slip under his own two pushed Game Seven between the Red Sox and Mets to Monday at Shea Stadium. That same night, the Giants hosted Washington at the Meadowlands.

Both games were played on broadcast TV, with NBC televising baseball and ABC broadcasting the NFL game. Via the New York Timesit was a TKO for NBC.

Baseball drew a rating of 38.9, with 34 million homes tuning in. Football got only 8.8, an all-time low Monday Night Football rating, at the time.

It was even worse in New York, where the local rating for the Mets was 55.6. For football, it was 8.9.

Hell, even people in the stadium for the Giants game weren’t paying close attention. As noted by Al Michaels, who called the NFL game with Frank Gifford, Giants quarterback Phil Simms had to urge the crowd to be quiet as the Mets were on the verge of winning Game Seven.

Another Game Seven vs. any-old-NFL showdown surely won’t create anything that lopsided, especially with both games available on three-letter networks. The fact that Fox got only 12.758 million for Game Five while Amazon generated 7.855 million for Eagles-Texans on Thursday night shows that Titans-Chiefs would actually have a chance to outdraw Game Seven between the Phillies and Astros, if a Game Seven becomes necessary based on the outcome of Game Six on Saturday night.

Memo to both first basemen playing tonight. Get your gloves down.

Leave a Comment