WBBZ-TV owes Miami Dolphin running back Reggie Bush a thank you card.
In a throwaway line on a Miami radio show, Bush slammed Buffalo women as hard as Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger was sacked in Monday Night Football’s game with Kansas City.
OK, it wasn’t quite that hard. It was more like a love tap, as anyone on Twitter or Facebook knows by now.
When the radio hosts agreed that you wouldn’t want to see any Buffalo women topless in the stands on a cold night, Bush added “Not Buffalo women.”
Miss Buffalo responded by calling a national website to defend Buffalo against such cheap shots.
The Bush-league throwaway comment is bound to add some buzz to tonight’s Bills game with Miami that will be simulcast on The NFL Network and WBBZ at 8:20 p.m. after more than two hours of pregame shows.
And this game between the 3-6 Bills and the 4-5 Dolphins needs some buzz, even if it is as silly and manufactured as this one.
I don’t want to defend Bush too much, but he really was set up by the hosts. He gave an instinctive response that probably didn’t take into account how sensitive Buffalonians tend to be about such throwaway lines. And remember he played in the land of plastic surgery at USC and dated one of the Kardashians so he might not know what real women look or act like.
Anyone who watched HBO’s “Hard Knocks” featuring the Dolphins in preseason probably realizes that Bush is a little bit of a comedian. Bush came off as one of the more likable Dolphins, nicknaming one rookie receiver “‘7-11” because he was always open. (The guy was later cut). The point is Bush is an entertainer and, like the Bills’ Stevie Johnson, sometimes he may go over the line. The media should love both players for it.
“Hard Knocks” actually may have done the impossible – making some Bills fans root for rookie Coach Miami Joe Philbin this season (except when the Dolphins play the Bills). He’s a no non-sense coach who became a sympathetic figure after the tragic loss of his son during the 2012 Super Bowl week when he was the offensive coordinator with the Green Bay Packers.
The series also gave a hint at the potential of rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who laughingly couldn’t name the divisions that NFL teams were playing in during a quarterback meeting with backup Matt Moore.
Of course, many Buffalo fans might not be able to find WBBZ or The NFL Network tonight on their high definition channels without some help. Check your local listings because it depends on where you live.
When WBBZ grabbed the rights to the game in June for what is believed to have been more than $100,000, The NFL Network wasn’t being carried on Time Warner Cable. It is on TWC now, which will probably significantly depress the size of WBBZ’s audience.
The Bills 3-6 record won’t help, either. The exciting Bills loss to New England Sunday that went down to the final minute “only” had a 26.8 rating on Channel 4. I wrote “only” because that made it the lowest-rated game of the season but it still was the top-rated program of the week in WNY as Bills games always are.
WBBZ certainly will get the highest-rating it has ever had. A rating in the high teens or low 20s can be expected on its channel, with another 10-15 ratings points coming from viewership on The NFL Network.
The assortment of classic TV reruns the station carries often receives ratings in the range of .5 (that’s point .5) to 2.0 on a good night. “The Fred Jackson Show,” which features the Bills running back, doesn’t usually hit a 1 rating. “Buffalo Night in America,” a three-hour program that ran in July, averaged a .2 rating (that’s right .2). In other words, WBBZ can expect an audience as much as 100 times higher tonight than some of its shows normally get. You should expect a lot of promos for its regular shows.
WBBZ would be fortunate to get a local pregame show rating in the 2-3 range opposite local news, WGR radio’s coverage and The NFL Network’s pregame show. Bob Koshinski, former Channel 4 sports reporter Paul Peck and 102.5 radio personality Rob Lucas will be featured in the pregame show.
With The NFL Network relatively new to TWC, many subscribers may be hearing play-by-play man Brad Nessler and analyst Mike Mayock for the first time. That’s because The NFL Network schedule, which was expanded to 13 games this season, hasn’t exactly been must-see TV since TWC began carrying the network. In the last two games, the woeful Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars made appearances.
Mayock, who often accurately predicts who the Bills will pick in the NFL draft, is a solid analyst who praises and criticizes players when warranted. This separates him from ESPN’s analyst Jon Gruden, whose tendency to praise every player has become downright laughable this season now that Ron Jaworski is off Monday Night Football and Gruden has more time to fill. I used to be a big Gruden fan, but now it appears that ESPN got rid of the wrong analyst.
Nessler isn’t as good as ESPN’s Mike Tirico in storytelling, but he’s in the ballpark. And Reggie Bush has given Nessler a story to tell tonight if things get a little dull.