Fox Sports, on the other hand, sees an opportunity to get some fresh air. Hopefully.
Instead of Sunday’s “Fox NFL Sunday” pregame show emanating from the climate controlled Hollywood Studio 2A on Pico Blvd., they’ve scraped together some quarters and decided that, in light of Sunday’s Rams-Eagles game being a game that will go to about 90 percent of the country in the afternoon window, it’s grand enough to drag the crew — Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson, Michael Strahan and Curt Menefee — about 10 miles up Exposition Blvd., and do everything live inside the Coliseum’s peristyle end.
The desire is there isn’t a lot of brush-fire smoke in the air still lingering, but the reality is there will be the need to address it as the day goes on.
Fox had hinted but then didn’t follow through on sending the crew to the Coliseum for the Rams’ 2016 season opener against Seattle, the first regular-season NFL game in L.A. since the Rams and Raiders bailed out after 1994.
(Kind of the same thing when Fox had the National League Championship Series between the Dodgers and Chicago Cubs in 2016, as the studio show went to Chicago outside Wrigley Field, but they couldn’t drag it up the freeway to Chavez Ravine for the Dodgers’ home games in that series. This past World Series, however, was enough to warrant having the A-Rod and Friends Fox MLB crew to Dodger Stadium to do its live pre- and post-game game, against all odds.)
So as this is something of a rare event (lately) for Fox in a regular-season affair, we do recall that one strange season — 2006, after James Brown left and before Menefee — when the plan was to have Joe Buck as the studio host as well as A-game play-by-play man. (If ESPN could do it on the college game with Chris Fowler, why not try it NFL style?). So that studio show often made road trips to whatever game Buck was calling.
HEAD TO HEAD AGAIN, HERE AND THERE
The question was posed earlier in the week in the San Diego Union-Tribune: When the Chargers and Rams go head-to-head in San Diego, which team draws more TV viewers in the Chargers’ abandoned home town?
The answer: The Chargers. Still. By far. Despite whatever open wounds may be present, and allegiances challenged.
A 16.3 San Diego rating for the Chargers-Cleveland game from StubHub Center in Carson was about three times the 5.7 rating that the Rams-Arizona game in Glendale, Ariz., got for the two CBS and Fox affiliates in San Diego.
In L.A., that head-to-head measure wasn’t close, either. For all the opposite reasons.
The Rams ran away with a 7.8 rating/20 share (628,000 viewers) for the afternoon game on Channel 11, while the Chargers did a 4.5 rating/11 share (312,000) on Channel 2.
Expect much of the same this Sunday. Or more.
Seattle’s win over Philadelphia on NBC in prime-time last Sunday had the best marks in L.A.: 12.7 rating/22 share with 1.025 million average viewers. The Minnesota-Atlanta game in the early Fox window was still crushing the Chargers-Browns with a 7.2 rating/20 share and 570,000 average viewers.
SOMETHING ESPN THOUGHT WAS WORTH EXPOSING
The most-ran offensive personnel group in the league is 11 PERSONNEL- 1 Running Back, 1 Tight End, and 3 Wide Receivers.
— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) December 4, 2017
AND NOW, THE WEEKEND SCHEDULE AS WE KNOW IT:
* New Orleans at Atlanta: 5:25 p.m., Channel 4/NFL Network (Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth, Heather Cox)
* Dallas at N.Y. Giants: 10 a.m., Channel 11 (Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis)
This is the pick Fox has for almost every available region in America except where it has to show Chicago-Cincinnati, Green Bay-Cleveland, Detroit-Tampa Bay and San Francisco-Houston.
* Chargers vs. Washington: At StubHub Center in Carson, 1:05 p.m. Channel 2 (Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn)
CBS has only one game this weekend, so L.A. gets it. Meaning, no Oakland-Kansas City (Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon), Minnesota-Carolina (Jim Nantz, Tony Romo) or Indianapolis-Buffalo in the early window (the Vikings were cross-flexed) or N.Y. Jets-Denver and Tennessee-Arizona in this afternoon window. Chargers-Washington also goes to the markets in Dallas, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Green Bay.
* Rams vs. Philadelphia: At the Coliseum, 1:25 p.m., Channel 11 (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews)
Unless one in L.A. has DirecTV Sunday Ticket, Rams fans can’t check in on Seattle’s game at home against Jacksonville, also on at this time (and they now get stuck with Chris Myers and Daryl Johnston for a change). The Denver and Phoenix markets also don’t get this game.
* Baltimore at Pittsburgh: 5:30 p.m., Channel 4 (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya)
* New England at Miami: 5:30 p.m., ESPN (Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden)