The Buffalo Bills may have been eliminated from the NFL playoffs Sunday, but at least they made some local TV history.
According to Channel 4 researcher Bob Gallivan, the Bills' 8-0 loss in Cleveland Sunday to the Browns was the highest-rated Bills game recorded since meters came to the Buffalo market in 2000 and the highest-rated program since then here besides Super Bowls.
Undoubtedly aided by the weather conditions that kept most people inside Sunday, the game averaged a 46.4 rating on WIVB-TV. That means 46.4 percent of the TV households in Western New York were watching the Bills being eliminated. Bills games usually get ratings in the 30s.
NBC would be thrilled if the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres gets local ratings that approach most regular season Bills games. The network announced Monday that Bob Costas will host its coverage of the Winter Classic.
Best known as the network's Olympics host and for his football and baseball coverage, Costas is no stranger to hockey. He was the play-by-play man for the Syracuse Blazers of the old Eastern History League in 1973-74 and also did some St. Louis Blues games in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
-- Alan Pergament