Barry Jackson

The mystery of Dolphins’ TV rating; Heat backcourt struggling

Miami Dolphins Neville Hewitt rushes the kicker in the first quarter as they play the Los Angeles Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California, Nov. 20, 2016.
Miami Dolphins Neville Hewitt rushes the kicker in the first quarter as they play the Los Angeles Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California, Nov. 20, 2016. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

A six-pack of Thanksgiving media and Heat notes:

• One of the mysteries of this Dolphins season, off the field, is why the team’s TV ratings remain at historically low levels, despite the recent on-field resurgence.

Dolphins games generally have drawn ratings between 12 and 14 this season, including a disappointing 12.7 for Sunday’s Rams game, which is equal to 12.7 percent of Miami-Ft. Lauderdale homes with TV sets. That’s down from a 16.9 average local rating for Dolphins games last season.

Yes, NFL TV ratings are down nationally this season, but have risen somewhat since the election. (That’s not the case in South Florida.)

And Dolphins ratings in South Florida are much lower than the home team’s ratings in most NFL cities.

Which leads to two conclusions: 1) The Dolphins’ five-game winning streak hasn’t appreciably increased local interest. 2) Nielsen’s ratings are flawed and the homes being monitored don’t accurately reflect Dolphins interest.

Keep in mind that sports bars aren’t included in ratings, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Nielsen’s numbers are underestimating Dolphins’ viewership. But there’s no way to know for sure.

• Fox is sending Dolphins-49ers to just six percent of the country: Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, the Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Fresno, Cal. and the Reno/Lake Tahoe market.

Fox assigned Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis and Chris Spielman (who was lured away from ESPN last summer) to the broadcast. The Dolphins are in a stretch of three games on Fox in four weeks…

Carolina-Oakland was cross-flexed from Fox to CBS before the season and will be CBS’ primary double-header game in the 4:25 p.m. window on Sunday, but part of the country (including South Florida) will get Patriots-Jets instead… See 506sports.com for full Sunday maps.

• Dolphins studio analyst John Congemi will be ESPN2’s analyst on UM-Duke Saturday, incidentally.

Here’s the weekend college football TV schedule on one of the most enjoyable viewing weekends of the year, courtesy fbschedules.com:

Friday, Nov. 25, 2016

(20) Houston at Memphis

Noon

ABC / ESPN3

NC State at North Carolina

Noon

ESPN / WatchESPN

NIU at Kent State

Noon

CBSSN / Stream

Arkansas at Missouri

2:30 pm

CBS / Stream

Buffalo at Bowling Green

2:30 pm

ESPN3

(19) Boise State at Air Force

3:30 pm

CBSSN / Stream

(16) Nebraska at Iowa

3:30 pm

ABC / ESPN3

TCU at Texas

3:30 pm

FS1 / FSGo

(5) Washington at (23) Washington State

3:30 pm

FOX / FSGo

Louisiana Tech at Southern Miss

4:00 pm

ESPNews / WatchESPN

Toledo at (21) Western Michigan

5:00 pm

ESPN2 / WatchESPN

Baylor vs. Texas Tech (at Arlington, TX)

6:00 pm

ESPN / WatchESPN

Cincinnati at Tulsa

8:30 pm

ESPN2 / WatchESPN

Arizona State at Arizona

9:30 pm

ESPN / WatchESPN

And Saturday’s schedule:

Arkansas State at UL Lafayette

Noon

ASN / ESPN3

Georgia Tech at Georgia

Noon

SECN / WatchESPN

Illinois at Northwestern

Noon

BTN / BTN2Go

Kansas at Kansas State

Noon

FS1 / FSGo

Kentucky at (11) Louisville

Noon

ESPN / WatchESPN

(3) Michigan at (2) Ohio State

Noon

ABC / ESPN3

Purdue at Indiana

Noon

ESPNU / WatchESPN

Rutgers at Maryland

Noon

ESPNews / WatchESPN

UCF at USF

Noon

CBSSN / Stream

Virginia at Virginia Tech

Noon

ESPN2 / WatchESPN

Syracuse at Pittsburgh

12:30 pm

ACCN / ACCNExtra

Boston College at Wake Forest

3:00 pm

RSN / ACCNExtra

(13) Auburn at (1) Alabama

3:30 pm

CBS / Stream

Duke at Miami, FL

3:30 pm

ESPN2 / WatchESPN

FIU at Old Dominion

3:30 pm

ESPN3

Michigan State at (7) Penn State

3:30 pm

ESPN / WatchESPN

Minnesota at (6) Wisconsin

3:30 pm

BTN / BTN2Go

Mississippi State at Ole Miss

3:30 pm

SECN / WatchESPN

(25) Navy at SMU

3:30 pm

ESPNU / WatchESPN

Notre Dame at (12) USC

3:30 pm

ABC / WatchESPN

San Jose State at Fresno State

3:30 pm

CBSSN / Stream

South Alabama at Idaho

3:30 pm

ASN / ESPN3

(18) West Virginia at Iowa State

3:30 pm

FS1 / FSGo

Appalachian State at New Mexico State

4:00 pm

ESPN3 / AggieVision

Nevada at UNLV

4:00 pm

ESPN3

Oregon at Oregon State

4:00 pm

Pac-12N / Stream

Troy at Texas State

4:00 pm

ESPN3

Tulane at UConn

4:00 pm

ESPNews / WatchESPN

Florida Atlantic at Middle Tennessee

5:30 pm

beIN Sports / Stream

Charlotte at UTSA

7:00 pm

CampusInsiders

UCLA at California

7:00 pm

ESPN2 / WatchESPN

WKU at Marshall

7:00 pm

ESPNU / WatchESPN

East Carolina at Temple

7:30 pm

ESPNews / WatchESPN

South Carolina at (4) Clemson

7:30 pm

ESPN / WatchESPN

(17) Tennessee at Vanderbilt

7:30 pm

SECN / WatchESPN

(22) Utah at (9) Colorado

7:30 pm

FOX / FSGo

(15) Florida at (14) Florida State

8:00 pm

ABC / ESPN3

North Texas at UTEP

8:00 pm

CUSA.TV

Rice at (24) Stanford

8:00 pm

Pac-12N / Stream

Colorado State at San Diego State

9:00 pm

CBSSN / Stream

Utah State at BYU

10:15 pm

ESPNU / WatchESPN

Wyoming at New Mexico

10:15 pm

ESPN2 / WatchESPN

UMass at Hawaii

11:00 pm

Oceanic PPV

• Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, on a team that is 28th in scoring at 95.1 per game, ahead of only Dallas and Orlando: "Our offense is not where it needs to be. We were making some strides in terms of getting some open looks. [Wednesday’s 107-84 loss at Detroit] was very poor, and that is my responsibility. I'll look at everything right now to get us more organized, get guys comfortable and get them to their strengths. Everything is on the table.”

• Injuries remain an issue. On their most recent game notes, the Heat listed guards Goran Dragic (strained left elbow) and Dion Waiters (strained right groin) as questionable, though the team says an update will be provided before Friday's 8 p.m. game at Memphis. Guard Wayne Ellington (thigh contusion), center Willie Reed (hyperextended right knee) and forward Justise Winslow (sore left wrist) are listed as out.

The Heat and Grizzlies play again Saturday night in Miami.

• The Heat’s backcourt simply must play better. Goran Dragic has made at least half his shots in just three of his 11 games this season and is 5 for his last 20. Dion Waiters, shooting only 36.9 percent for the season (exactly four points below his career average) is 16 for his last 41.

Josh Richardson is 3 for his last 16, Tyler Johnson 7 for his last 29.

If you missed it Wednesday, here’s the latest on the Chris Bosh situation and scenarios where the Heat’s cap flexibility would be severely impacted.

Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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