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Bills preseason game had unbeatable rating except when Phelps, teammates raced

This is what I’m thinking in my Rio Olympics diary:

The match-up Saturday night when United States swimming superstar Michael Phelps supposedly had his farewell race and the Buffalo Bills had their preseason opener was no contest overall in Western New York.

The meaningless Bills exhibition loss carried by Channel 7 decisively beat the Rio Olympics on Channel 2 on a stormy night locally in which Phelps won his 23rd and supposedly last gold medal.

However, Rio narrowly won the 15-minute time period in which Phelps and his teammates raced.

The score for the night: Bills 20.3, Rio 14.4.

To put the Bills rating in perspective, Channel 2 has had only two nights in the first nine Olympic nights that have had higher ratings than the game.

Nationally, NBC had a 16.4 rating in the 56 overnight markets, which is very strong for a Saturday night.

Overall, the Bills margin of victory was even higher when the 19-18 loss to Indianapolis was played head-to-head with the Olympics from 8 p.m. to 10:25 p.m.

Here is the hour by hour breakdown.

7 p.m. to 8 p.m. when the Bills game had the hour to itself: 20.7 on Channel 2

8 p.m. to 9 p.m. when the game and Rio were on at the same time: Bills 20.7, Rio 11.3

9 p.m. to 10 p.m. when the game and Rio were on simultaneously and U.S. swimmer Simone Manuel won an individual silver and a relay gold medal and U.S. sprinter Tori Bowie won a silver in the 100-meter dash won by Jamaican Elaine Thompson: Bills 20.7, Rio 15.0

10 p.m. to 10:15 when Phelps and his teammates won the 4 x 100 medley relay while rookie quarterback Cardell Jones started leading the Bills to a final touchdown before a failed two-point conversion gave the Colts the victory: Rio: 18:45, Bills 17.0

10 p.m. to midnight when Rio was the only game in town: Rio 15.0

The Rio rating rose to a 16.3 on Channel 2 for the five-hour telecast Sunday night when Jamaican Usain Bolt won his third gold in the 100-meter dash. The rating went into the 20s during Bolt’s race.

Nothing says go to bed for me quicker than here comes women’s beach volleyball and apparently I am not alone. The rating slipped to a 12.8 on Channel 2 for the final hour Sunday when Americans Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross were competing.

On Sunday, I wrote that I hoped CBC’s Elliotte Friedman would eventually live down blowing the call of a Phelps race by confusing him with teammate Ryan Lochte. Judging by Twitter, he already has lived it down with the help of an interview with Sports Illustrated in which he asked for no sympathy and took the blame.

It was a classy and smart thing to do. Politicians might consider learning a lesson about the value of accepting blame for their mistakes.

Am I the only one who wishes NBC would reduce the crowd noise during swimming events? It is so loud that I often can’t hear what announcers Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines are saying.

My most well-liked tweet of the weekend was about the news that New Era has bought the naming rights to the Bills stadium in Orchard Park: “Why not just call it The New Era Ralph Wilson Stadium? Would have double meaning. After all, it is new era with Pegulas.”

Some followers disagreed with continuing to honor the original owner of the Bills and just wanted it be to New Era Stadium. I guess I’m just more sentimental.

On further review, the title in my initial tweet was too long. It would be better if it were called New Era Wilson Stadium.


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