With the Super Bowl finally in the rear-view mirror, hopefully local NFL fans can now move on and look to the future.
Since the Patriots were eliminated by the New York Jets in the divisional playoff round, they have been the hot topic of media and fans, all still looking for answers and attempting to figure out where to place blame for the loss.
If you haven't heard by now, the Packers win over the Steelers on FOX reached a total audience of 162.9 million viewers, making it the most-watched show in U.S. television history, according to The Nielsen Company. In addition to the toal audience, this game also set a record with the highest average rating, with 111 million.
Now, let me clarify that it is not the highest rated program in television history. The ratings number is calculated by the percentage of the total television viewership that is tuned into the program, rather than solely the number of people viewing the program. The 1983 series finale of M*A*S*H remains the highest rated television program of all time when it had a rating of over 60, meaning over 60 percent of televisions that were turned on that night were tuned into M*A*S*H.
Super Bowl XLV's rating was a 46 -- not even the highest rated Super Bowl of all time. In fact, it was the ninth-highest rated Super Bowl. Eight Super Bowls between 1978 and 1986 had a higher rating, include the Patriots-Bears Super Bowl, which had a 48 rating.
It was quite a 24-hours for Ryan Johnston. The 1998 Syracuse grad, co-host of the 980 AM (Lowell) afternoon show Merrimack Valley Radio in the Afternoon and former voice of the Lowell Devils (and Lock Monster) received two call ups in a very short time period this week.
On Wednesday night, Johnston was tapped to fill in for Dave Goucher, on the Boston Bruins radio broadcast on 98.5 FM. It was Johnston's first NHL game, and from all accounts, he acquitted himself very nicely, which shouldn't be a surprise as he was chosen to call several AHL All Star games while working for the Devils. (Our condolences go out to Goucher, whose father passed away earlier in the week.)
Making your debut on a Bruins-Canadiens game? It can't get much better than that for a hockey announcer. Johnston will also broadcast Friday's game against the Red Wings.
The next morning, if you turned on 98.5 The Sports Hub expecting to hear the Toucher and Rich show, you instead heard Johnston, along with co-host Mike Flynn. Johnston and Flynn normally do a weekend show on the Sports Hub, but were called upon to fill in for T&R, giving Johnston another chance in the spotlight. His broadcast partner Flynn, has been impressive during the football season, being able to give his insight from 10 years in the NFL, all with the Baltimore Ravens, where he shared a locker room with current New York Jets coach Rex Ryan.
The Bruins rousing win over the Canadiens seemed to finally wake people up and get them talking about this hockey team. While Michael Felger on 98.5 has been consistent in talking about the Bruins this season, it was hard to find much hockey talk elsewhere on the local airwaves, with the possible exception of a segment or two on the Dale and Holley show on WEEI.
As we get closer to the playoffs, it is shaping up to be quite a spring for the local sports scene. With the Celtics and now possibly the Bruins looking to be making playoff runs and a rejuvenated Red Sox team grabbing attention with their big ticket acquisitions of the winter, there will be plenty to keep fans talking and interested.
It might even take people's mind off of what is looking to be a very ugly labor war between the NFL owners and players.