Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wednesday A.M. Wrap: Emmittric Bugaloo!

I will only talk about this once, then try to not hammer it the rest of the week:

Emmitt Smith was FREAKING INCREDIBLE on Dancing with the Stars last night. By far the most impressive dancer of the night.

(Yes, Margery and I watched. You scoff? First of all, more people watch DWTS than almost any other show on TV; that doesn't make it unmockable -- however, it does put me in the mainstream to be watching. Second, I'll continue to argue that ballroom dancing is a sport. Certainly more of a sport than, say, poker. Third, like last season, there is a HUGE sports hook: The leading rusher in NFL history is participating. My question: How could you NOT be watching him?)

Anyone who previously made a joke about Emmitt embarrassing himself on this show (and I think I was one of them) is WRONG. Couldn't be more wrong.

He was relaxed. He was enjoying himself. And his moves were legit! Given Jerry Rice's success on the show last season, it's obvious that there's something to translating football skills to the dance floor.

But Emmitt was awesome. I'm stunned. Given that (a) it was live and (b) it was a huge chance for Emmitt to embarrass himself on national TV, it was a pretty gripping 2 minutes. Certainly more dramatic and exciting than the last 2-plus seasons of his NFL career.

(Meanwhile, my pick, Mario Lopez, was pretty damn good; one judge called Lopez the guy to beat Why do my "expert" "sports" "predictions" always hit the jackpot on the lamest shit?)

ESPN "MNF" ratings are HUGE: Not just huge, but ESPN's largest audience EVER. (And you know how I love a good superlative.)

In fact, it was the second-most-watched cable TV event ever, behind... do you know off the top of your head? (It was the Gore-Perot debate about NAFTA. It is mind-blowing that a public policy debate would be the most-watched thing ever on cable.)

I think these numbers justify the "Is It Monday Yet?" hype. It's no small thing to produce your biggest audience number ever, particularly in the digital cable/PS2/iTunes/YouTube era.

But I'll be curious to track how they hold up over the season: Fans' appetite for the NFL -- particularly "MNF" can't be much higher than the season-opener. What happens when the matchups start to get a little less exciting? (Maybe they'll import Dick Vermeil for a little extra sizzle. The one consensus from MNF Week 1 seems to be that he was the best of the TV analysts. Did people forget how good he was on college football games before his return to the NFL with the Rams?)

Lance: "Hatchet job!" Armstrong calls NYT story about his 1999 TdF teammates' EPO use a "hatchet job." Actually, if he was upset by the guilt-by-association from the article, what does he think of the recent wink-wink, nudge-nudge gossip coverage of his, um, friendship with Matthew McConaughey?

File this quote away: "I don't believe there's a lot of uncaught use." That's NFL union honcho Gene Upshaw on the NFL's HGH problem. He said it because he's the head of the union, but it's ludicrous.

Shell calls Raiders "embarrassing": So what does that make the coach?

More Raiders: Jerry Porter denied openly rooting against his team on Monday night. (But you have to imagine that he was rooting against them on the inside. Did anyone ask him THAT?)

I want a scale model of Danica Patrick's hot new Batmobile-looking "Danica-mobile" race car. (Wait: Or do I want a scale model of Danica herself? Is there an action figure yet? Is that, uh, weird?)

Bengals' Henry pleads guilty: If every Bengal can steer clear of jail simply by pleading guilty, they'll have a team of criminals -- but at least still have a team.

Rick DiPietro: 15 years, $67.5 million. (Wait, I'm sorry: GUARANTEED.) Who says that the NHL's finances are a wreck? Wow, that lockout was SO worth it...

Big Ben questionable for Week 2: Cowher says if he can play, he'll play. But having watched "my" Jags D on Sunday, I can say with confidence that the Steelers should NOT play him.

Deion Branch's new deal: 6 years, $39 million ($13 million bonus). (Yes, you bet your ass that holdout was worth Every. Damn. Penny. If he'd stayed in NE, he would've been paid a paltry $1 million. No wonder the Pats want $800K back.)

Kevin "Munchies" Grubb refused to submit to a random drug test at a NASCAR event over the weekend. Yeah, there's no WAY he was on anything.

ESPN to stream Champions League online: I'm all for any new TV deals that wrap in b'band. And for a mere $1,250, you can catch every game.

Uniform Watch: Here's a jaw-dropper. Not to steal Paul Lukas' gig, but this is cool: Instead of taking money from some random sponsor to put their logo on their jerseys, FC Barcelona – reigning Champions League champ – will actually pay UNICEF $2 million a year for 5 years to have the UNICEF logo on their jersey. Before this, Barca had never had a logo on their jersey. Now, when they decide to do it, it's more good-of-the-world than greed. (Take that, Chelsea.) What an amazingly positive mold-breaker in sports today.

More DWTS: Anyone watch the season premiere last night? Let me say this: I actually KNOW that hottie co-host Samantha! We went to Northwestern together! We once worked on an econ class project together! That's as close as I've come to TV stardom since my ill-fated appearances on "Around the Horn." (I gotta put those on YouTube...)

-- D.S.

38 comments:

Brian said...

But having watched "my" Jags D on Sunday, I can say with confidence that the Steelers should NOT play him.

I'm assuming because you think the Jags' will seriously injure him. So in other words: "Pittsburgh, don't play your starting quarterback because he might get hurt."

OK. Ditto for Byron Leftwich.

Actually, this will be a pretty tough game all around. I'm looking forward to it. I root for the Steelers, but I think this could go either way. (And be a hard, physical battle, etc., etc.)

Anonymous said...

Dan, I am glad the MNF rating were through the roof, but is it possible that this will only be a 1 time spike due to the game starting before everyone on the east coast went bed, and the fall TV season has not started. I am not trying to be a pessimist, but I would watch more MNF if the games did not end between midnight and 1 am.

Christian (High Point, NC) said...

Dan, did you see this? http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=2585781 When Punters Get Mad!

hende said...

Given the money spent for the rights to show MNF, and promote it incessantly, I would hope ESPN had good ratings. Also, considering that ESPN's highest ratings from 2005 were from Sunday night football, and it's cheif competition on the networks was Bush's speech, I would have been more surprised if it hadn't broke viewing records.

Let's not overrate the first week's hype, i.e. XFL. MNF will always get the male, 18-35 audience, the real challenge (and money) for ESPN will be getting the other demographics.

Lew said...

I probably won't ever watch "Dancing With The Stars," but I got my money on Lopez.


Remember the first season of Saved By The Bell when hthey did a dance competition at "The Max." The man has some moves

Anonymous said...

Dan you are absolutely right about Emmitt on DWTS. He was awesome - way better than I thought he'd be. Certainly far better than Kenny Mayne. He didn't look cheesy but looked like he had some soul to bring...

jrm78 said...

I don't watch DWTS, but having watched a lot of SBTB as a kid, like lew pointed out, I know Mario's got some moves. Slater FTW. And yes, Ballroom Dancing is definitely a sport compared to Poker and Cheerleading.

lamarr said...

Are you sure your not roting for emmitt because of the homer factor? He even said last week that he wasn't all that good of a dancer. I am sure that your confidence plays a huge part of how you perform. ON the football field he may have been humble but you knew he was among the elite and from what I have heard from alumni he was pretty cocky in college so I think his insecurity will doom him. Id love him to win though. I hope ben plays this weekend. It would be funny to see him grimace when he gets leveled. NOt that I want to see anyone get hurt, unless they went to UGA FSU or UT

Ted (Pittsburgh) said...

Brian, what Dan meant was that he didnt want Ben to play so the Jags can actually score a few points for his fantasy league squad.

24-16 Stillers.

T-Bone said...

dear lord, you're using my dad's logic as to why he watches survivor, american idol, and all that other crap that gets "good ratings".

AC Slater dance.

Anonymous said...

Dude how could you have blown it on Around the Horn, anything is better than that moron Woody and Bill Plashcke

LudaKris said...

You were on around the Horn....did you make it past the first cut? Did you punch Woody in the face, I know I would have.

darprice said...

The Isles' signing of DiPietro for FIFTEEN FREAKING years is NOT why the lockout happened. I applaud Wang for showing support for his players, but this, like making Garth Snow a GM now is just over the top. Add to it Yashin's 10 year contract, which makes 3 incredibly backwards long term detriments to happen to one team. It'll kill them for YEARS. Good thing the area supports two other decent hockey teams, because this one is going the way of the Blackhawks. I'll have more analysis on the Hat Trick later.

In the meantime, Dan, your blog style is getting better, but your writing has always been AWESOME. Your linked from my blog and will be from Hat Trick when I have that up later today. Keep up the good work!!!

Anonymous said...

Great call on Emmitt. I thought he was the best of the night.

Any chance you could muse here on baseball awards in the near future? I'd love to hear your (updated) take on some of those races.

Dan Shanoff said...

I am going to tell you what the biggest threat to MNF will be (but only from 8-9 p.m. ET):

Deal or No Deal.

I kid you not. (I'm not sure if Aaron Sorkin's new show "Studio 60" will cut into the 9-10 hour -- frankly, if I was Sorkin, I'd be pissed that NBC put me up against MNF, given his appeal with the coveted young-male demo. Yes, I'm a fan; I would watch if Aaron Sorkin wrote and broadcast answering-machine messages.)

-- D.S.

sobegator said...

Fact is Gators just do it better. Dance Emmitt Dance.

jamie said...

I just don't see the MNF "best ever!" ratings as being that big of a deal...i mean, they have a built-in audience from 35 years of MNF already. People who want to keep watching MNF will find it. What were the ratings on ABC's season openers the last few years? I realize they won't be AS good, being on cable, but still...if you're a fan, and it's a good matchup, people will tune in. It's that simple. And I'm sure the early start and home game being in DC didn't hurt at all either.

And I found it interesting (and not surprising) that NBC's SNF had huge ratings that ESPN never had. I'm still pissed about Primetime though...having to sit thru Sportscenter and baseball highlights to see Chris and Tom do the "NFL Blitz", which doesn't hit every game, sucked balls.

troy (gainesville, fl) said...

What happens when the matchups start to get a little less exciting?

A little less exciting? God, I hope not. At least as a Bucs fan I had an interest in Brad Johnson's success, but other than that? Not so much.

Also, I'd like to know haw many east coast television sets (including mine) turned off the moment the first game came to an end. So maybe Vermeil was good, but: if a tree fall in the woods...

roboninja said...

Guys, I know that is almost impossible to watch TV these days without seeing some crappy reality TV show, but that is what sports networks are for!
As to the ridiculous 15-year DiPietro deal, I think we have a new winner for craziest sports team owner. Charles Wang hires his backup goalie (Garth Snow) as GM, then signs a mid-level goalie to a 15-year deal, even though he was already burned by the Yashin 10-year deal. I mean, it was even the owner that directly negotitated with DiPietro; no agents or GMs involved! No wonder Neil Smith left...

Anonymous said...

I thought Emmitt did a great job on "DWTS". Harry Hamlin was HORRIBLE...he'll be gone tonight. Slater rocked as well, but I saw that coming.

My husband has a set of nuts and I had him watch Joey Lawrence (1st dancer) with me, and then he left the room as he said: "I can't subject myself to this any longer." Of course, he was asking me how Emmitt did afterwards.

How did Jerry Springer do? I crashed right before his turn!

The Sportsvixen said...

I'm a Cowboys fan and I didn't watch DWTS. I had a hard enough time forgiving Emmitt for his diamond/garbage comment and stint with Arizona. Now that I've finally made peace with him again, I couldn't bear to watch him ballroom dance, I think it would've lost some respect, especially if he turned out to be really bad. Just cause Jerry Rice did it, doesn't make it okay. But glad to know that he's not embarrassing himself all ugly.

About MNF, I don't get the Deal or No Deal thing, but I do love me some Prison Break. Why do they put this show opposite football?

Chris (CT) said...

Everyone should have watched DWTS just to see Tucker Carlson look like a jackass. When Jerry Springer dances better than you then it's time to call it a day. Why wasn't the preppie invited to rival Slater?

As for MNF, I think Hende hit on the biggest reason for the success. Bush was on all the networks. It's scientific fact that no human can tolerate more than 3 minutes of a George Bush speech.

Zachary Geballe said...

I think the bigger deal for ESPN and MNF is dealing with the fact that despite spending more money on the rights than NBC did, MNF got lesser matchups...it wouldn't have mattered Week One, but I hope everyone's looking forward to games featuring Oakland, New Orleans, Green Bay (x2), Arizona, and the Jets...

shelly said...

dan, i'm definitely with you on Aaron Sorkin... i'm trying to figure out a way to contract him to write my eulogy in advance.

i also think you're right about Deal or No Deal... it will suck in the "its 9:00, and i have to watch SOMETHING on T.V." demographic.

as far as DWTS... i'm not even going to dignify the "ballroom dancing is definitely a sport compared to cheerleading and poker" comment with a real response.

jamie said...

I watched most of that 2nd game, and I think that WHOLE announcing TEAM was better than Tirico, Kornhole, and Theismann. I'd much rather hear them than the other blowhards. At least Vermeil and Jaws offered solid ANALYSIS of plays, and they were actually pretty funny together. Although maybe the funny part was related to how pathetic the Raiders were...

Anonymous said...

Repeat after me, poker is a game, not a sport...poker is a game, not a sport...poker is a game, not a sport.

the definition of sport - an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.

there is nothing atheletic about sitting in your fat ass holding cards (unless you're playing Go Fish and have half the deck in your hand).

Dave S. said...

I don't really know why you're even comparing ballroom dancing to poker. I play a lot of poker, and I don't think there is anyone who plays or watches it who considers it a sport. It's a game, like chess or backgammon. Just because it's on ESPN, that doesn't mean it's a sport. Dancing is a physical activity and people are competing against one another; hence, it is a sport.

Stapes said...

I hear ya on the champions league thing. I have no $$$ working full time and going to school full time for a masters, its hard to prioritize. However, being able to pay money for a match to watch possibly at my leisure, say an excellent matchup of fc barca v chelsea may be worth it.

Cheers to the internet, if can't wait on my own time, thats what bittorrent is for.

shelly said...

i agree that poker is not a sport... my issue is that if you're going to accept ballroom dancing as a sport, it's impossible NOT to accept cheerleading as one.

Geoff (Detroit) said...

Ballroom dancing is an athletic competition. As is any other athletic activity in which the end results are solely determined by judges. At the highest skill level a normal person with no proper training would not be able to compete under any circumstance. Ice skating, gymnastics, etc. all fall under the same category.

Sports are an event where you play head to head and the outcome is determined by a definite winner on the playing field and the competitors have any semblance of athleticism. These competitors are also at risk for personal injury. Also people participating at the highest level must have no chance of losing to just some average joe. This would include baseball, basketball, football, hockey, tennis etc.

Poker, darts, foosball, pool, etc. are all just games. There is no athletic ability required to participate in any of them and an average person could say "I think I could do that."

Things like golf and auto racing kind of toe the line. Obviously you don't need a large amount of athleticism to compete at the highest level in either, but you do need a high level of skill. And in auto racing there is definitely a high probability of injury. So the sheer skill needed to compete in golf and the risk of death factor in racing push them into the realm of sports.

At least that is how I see it anyway.

Bomani said...

"Second, I'll continue to argue that ballroom dancing is a sport."

Dan, you're breaking my heart. You really are. And I just saw you've got something to say about the Braves.

I thought we were better than this, man.

Anonymous said...

Please don't judge the NHL based on that contract signing. It's the laugh of the league.

Anonymous said...

You have to put your Around The Horn appearences on YouTube and then post the link.

I have been watching ATH and PTI for a really long time, even before Reali was the host of ATH. And I don't recall seeing you on the show, but I could of just forgotten.

BTW, I am glad you are still posting online because I used to enjoy reading the daily quickie every morning. But the blog format is working out well so far and there are so many more posts.

Bird said...

Totally agree with you re: Emmitt Smith's performance on "Dancing with the Stars"! (GO GATORS!) He will definitely give Mario Lopez a run for the money! And I vote for the YouTube "Around the Horn" performances, too! :-)

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eirishis said...

Dan, I agree with you re: MNF's challenge from NBC. I love football, but after gorging every Saturday and Sunday, I'm bolting to watch Studio 60 come 9, and DOND gets great ratings (because, dumb as it is, it's gripping).

Personal dream - Theisman gets hit by a bus, and Vermeil replaces him in the booth. He and Kornheiser would kill together.

And ... you were on ATH? Yeah ... I dunno about putting those on YouTube, Dan ... they'd finish 2nd in "awkward comedy" to Simmons and his girly voice on ESPN100.

J said...

im glad someone finally mentioned the barcelona endorsement thing.. keep in mind that they are actually forfeiting something around 40 million dollars a year.. which is enough to add a superstar player every year and for a good cuase

Mark said...

Poker isn't a sport, and I wish it would get the hell off TV.

And I will say this about the Islanders signing DiPietro to a 15-year contract: I'll take DiPietro for 15 years any day over Nikolai Khabibulin ($6.75 million/yr) for one.