Over the years maybe you've been lucky enough to watch Texans games at NRG stadium, but most of you have likely seen so many on television (and listened on the radio, please!). Well, your obsession with the Texans and the attention of every fanbase in the NFL is the most influential force in American broadcasting.
As you read this, network executives might be crunching numbers to get a gauge on what it's going to take to televise NFL games in the coming years. The TV deals are expiring soon, led by ESPN's arrangement to carry Monday Night Football, following this coming season.
The rest are done after 2022. But 'done' is hardly the right word. In fact, the networks are aching for the NFL because it moves the TV needle more than any other programming.
Of the top 50 watched shows in 2020, 47 were NFL games. Unbelievable.
This wasn't always the case. My NFL addiction started in 1981. Joe Montana was on a Super Bowl run and would beat the Cowboys in 'The Catch' game in the NFC Championship.
That season, ABC's Monday Night Football, the only regular primetime NFL game, was a high-rated show with 22% of American homes tuned in. That audience made it the 8th ranked show that year.
The last year ABC had the package in 2006, it was still a top-ten show, but the audience was cut in less than half. Hold on though, this was not catastrophic in comparison to other TV offerings. The entire over-the-air (that's regular TV for you younglings) audience has been leveled over the years due to a bazillion cable channels and Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.
Disney switched the games from ABC to ESPN in the mid '00s and it made some sense. Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy were ABC's highest rated shows, and the parent company shelled out a stimulus-sized fortune to put the Monday night package on the all-sports network to give it more juice.
A lot has changed since then. Five years later, in 2011, NBC's Sunday Night Football took over as the number one show on TV and hasn't dropped out of the Top 3 since. Thursday Night Football on Fox has become a force as well, as a resident in the Top 10.
Disney sees what's going on and reportedly wants to put Monday night games back on ABC starting in 2022. The networks need the eyeballs the NFL brings because you're not watching the big four of ABC, NBC, FOX and CBS as much as you used to.
When the Oilers were winding down the Luv Ya Blue era,Dallas was the number one show and drew almost three times the audience that the top rated programs get now. Cable wasn't in that many homes then and streaming meant your pipes were leaking.
As far as the Texans go, they were never on ABC's Monday Night Football in the regular season, but their first ever game of any kind, the Hall of Fame Game, was a Monday-nighter with Al Michaels and John Madden on the call and Melissa Stark was the sideline reporter.
Of course ABC in Houston is KTRK, channel 13, and is a huge Texans partner, carrying our weekly shows and preseason games, but they might be adding Monday Night Football back on their schedule for 2022.