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Sinking feeling

Television ratings down for three of four wild-card games

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Posted: Tuesday January 02, 2001 8:18 PM


NEW YORK (AP) -- Three of the NFL's four wild-card games drew lower preliminary TV ratings than they did a year ago.

Overall, the first weekend of playoff games dropped 7 percent in the big-market ratings, despite an increase in total viewers because of the snowstorm in the Northeast.

Overnight ratings measure the country's largest markets, covering about 65 percent of U.S. TV homes.

The Saints' 31-28 victory against the defending Super Bowl champion Rams, Saturday afternoon on ABC, drew a 17.6 preliminary rating. That is up 12 percent from last year's second Saturday game, in which Washington led Detroit 27-0 at halftime.

ABC's early game Saturday -- Miami beat Indianapolis 23-17 in overtime -- was down just 2 percent from Tennessee's "Music City Miracle" victory over Buffalo last season.

Sunday's playoff games dropped significantly.

Baltimore's victory against Denver (on CBS), and Philadelphia's victory against Tampa Bay (on Fox) -- both by 21-3 scores -- averaged a 17.1 rating, down 16 percent from last year's Sunday wild-card average, when Minnesota beat Dallas 27-10 (Fox) and Miami edged Seattle 20-17 (CBS).

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