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[12/19/06 - 09:29 PM]
ESPN's NFL Coverage Up 43% VS. 2005
ESPN spins the numbers for Monday, December 18.

[via press release from ESPN]

ESPN'S NFL COVERAGE UP 43% VS. 2005;

20 MILLION PAGE VIEWS MONDAY FOR ESPN.COM, UP 56% FROM 2005 PLUS QUOTES & NOTES FROM LAST NIGHT

Last night's 34-16 victory by the Indianapolis Colts over the Cincinnati Bengals on ESPN's Monday Night Football earned an 11.2 rating, representing an average of 10,327,000 homes (14,218,000 viewers, P2+). Last night ESPN was the most-watched network - cable or broadcast - in primetime last night among households, viewers and all key male and adult demo groups. The game was simulcast on local over-the-air channels in Indianapolis (16.6 rating) and Cincinnati (18.0 rating), boosting ESPN's audience to an estimated average of 10,700,000 households. The total also includes those viewing in high definition on ESPN HD.

NFL Season to Date

* MNF on ESPN is averaging a 10.0 rating and 9,224,000 homes (12,402,000 P2+) for 16 games in 15 weeks. These represent increases of 41%, 43% and 42%, respectively, compared to the first 15 weeks of last year's ESPN Sunday Night Football (7.1 rating, 6.444 million homes, 8.733 million viewers).

* ESPN leads all networks - cable or broadcast - in delivery of all key male demos on Mondays in primetime: men 18+, men 18-34, men 18-49 and men 25-54.

* ESPN leads all cable networks in overall household delivery in primetime (an average of 2,480,000 households throughout the week).

* Last week, for the 16th consecutive week, the network led all cable networks in delivery of adult men on a total day basis (since the week of August 21), as well as men 18-54.

* ESPN's 16 MNF games so far are cable television's largest 16 household audiences of the year.

"Monday Night Surround" on ESPN.com

Online, ESPN.com's NFL and "Monday Night Surround" content viewed on computers and wireless devices generated more than 20 million page views Monday, up 56% over page views last year according to Web measurement tool HitBox. In addition, there were 2.8 million views of pro-football-related videos on ESPN Motion and ESPN360 on Monday (through Tuesday at noon).

LAST NIGHT ON MNF

THE ROADS TO SUCCESS

"Well, there certainly are parallels."

-- Mike Tirico, prior to this illustrated list of similarities:

Peyton Manning Carson Palmer

U. of Tennessee 1994-97 University of So. Calif. 1998-2002

39-6 record as a starter 26-18 record as a starter

89 TD passes 71 TD passes

1997 Heisman Trophy Runner-up 2002 Heisman Trophy Winner

1st overall pick in 1998 Draft 1st overall pick in 2003 Draft

49 TD passes in 2004 (NFL Record) 32 TD passes in 2005 (led NFL)

2003 & 2004 NFL MVP 2005 Pro-Bowl Selection

"And the score is just 3-3."

- Joe Theismann after all those accolades

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS CALL, AND I'LL BE THERE

"Joseph Addai told me he's not afraid to ask questions, or admit he doesn't know something. During training camp he had a lot of questions. One night he text messaged a question to Peyton Manning, and the next thing you know, Peyton Manning was at his door ready to answer in person. He sat down with him, diagramed a few plays on paper, and said to him, 'Look, if you have any questions, just ask.'"

-- Michele Tafoya

DID MIKE SEE THIS MOVIE ALREADY?

"Manning's run it in three times this year."

-- Mike Tirico, right before Peyton tried to make it four with a run to the left on first-and-goal.

"Harrison has caught two tonight, make it three!"

- Tirico, right before Manning hit Harrison with a two-yard TD pass

BENGALS CAN'T GET SHORTY

Graphic as Peyton Manning continued to control the ball with short passes:

PASS CHART

21+ Yards 0 Attempts

11-20 Yards 4-4, 62 Yards

Up to 10 yards 21-24, 168 Yards, 3 TD

MOM CAN'T BEAR TO WATCH

"Joseph Addai has been diagnosed with a left ankle injury - his return is probable, he's getting a lot of attention. This is exactly the reason his mother hates to watch his games - hasn't attended one of his games since the seventh grade. She can't stand the sight of him getting hurt. She once nearly fainted after he was bitten by a dog."

- Michele Tafoya

FIRST CLASS QUARTERBACKS ENJOY COACH

Graphic as the Colts pulled away for the win:

Highest Win Percentage Head Coach / QB Tandem

(since 1970, minimum 50 games)

Win Pct. SB Wins

Ken Stabler / John Madden .756 1

Jim McMahon / Mike Ditka .754 1

Peyton Manning / Tony Dungy .753 0

Roger Staubach / Tom Landry .743 2

Tom Brady / Bill Belichick .739 3

CHAD DROPS BY THE RCA DOME

Right after Chad Johnson dropped a pass, a replay of another pass in the RCA Dome that he dropped in October 2002 was aired.

"This Chad drop is reminiscent of another drop he calls the turning point of his career. It came right here in the RCA Dome in October of 2002 with 23 seconds to go against the Colts. Chad dropped a possible game-tying TD. Quarterback John Kitna told him at the time, 'You can let your career spiral down, or you can send it up.' Chad decided at that moment he would never be the person responsible for a loss."

- Suzy Kolber

THEISMANN: COLTS WON'T SEE MOON OVER MIAMI

As the Colts defense was having an impact on the game:

Tony Kornheiser: "Do you think they're good enough this year to go to the Super Bowl?"

Joe Theismann: "No. I don't. One game of their defense doesn't prove anything to me. This issue started with them in the first game against the Giants."

NEXT WEEK ON MNF

Next week, ESPN's MNF schedule will conclude on Christmas Day with the New York Jets visiting the Miami Dolphins at 8:30 p.m.





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