Bristolmetrics: ESPN Covered A Meaningless Monday Night Football Game More Than The Jovan Belcher Murder-Suicide

This is a regular feature breaking down, minute-by-minute, the content that appears on ESPN's 11 p.m. edition of SportsCenter throughout the week.

November 23-29

Total time: 409.75 minutes
Time (minus commercials): 312.75

TIME DEVOTED TO INDIVIDUAL SPORTS
NFL: 125.25 minutes (41%) (last week: 41.4%)
College football: 99 (31.7%) (last week: 24.2%)
NBA: 45.5 (14.6%) (last week: 9.7%)
SportsCenter staples*: 26.5 (8.5%) (last week: 10.3%)
College basketball: 12.5 (5%) (last week: 7%)
Golf: 1.5 (0.5%) (last week: 0%)
Other sports: 1.5 (0.5%) (last week: 0.5%)
NHL: 1 (0.3%) (last week: 0%)
NASCAR: 0 (0%) (last week: 6.4%)
MLB: 0 (0%) (last week: 0.5%)

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*-Includes things like the "Top 10," "Encore," "What 2 Watch 4," etc.

MOST-COVERED TEAMS BY SPORT
Carolina Panthers (NFL): 22.5 (14.6%)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (college football): 36.25 (5%)
San Antonio Spurs (NBA): 14.5 (2.8%)
Duke Blue Devils (college basketball): 2.25 (1.5%)

MOST-MENTIONED SPORTS FIGURES
Rather than break down the amount of time a specific athlete or figure was covered, we counted how frequently names were mentioned in the transcripts from the week. The 15 most-mentioned sports people for Nov. 23-Nov. 29:

Drew Brees: 40
Cam Newton: 37
Heisman: 32
Johnny Manziel: 31
Colin Kaepernick: 30
Eli Manning: 28
Manti Te'o: 27
Aaron Rodgers: 23
Jim Harbaugh: 18
Greg Popovich: 18
Alex Smith: 17
Brian Kelly: 16
Max Wittek: 13
Tony Parker: 12
Ben Roethlisberger: 11

November 30-December 6
Total time: 429.25 minutes
Time (minus commercials): 320.5

TIME DEVOTED TO INDIVIDUAL SPORTS
NFL: 132.25 minutes (41.2%) (last week: 41%)
College football: 68.25 (21.3%) (last week: 31.7%)
NBA: 57.5 (17.9%) (last week: 14.6%)
SportsCenter staples*: 30.75 (9.6%) (last week: 8.5%)
MLB: 11.75 (3.7%) (last week: 0%)
Other sports: 10.75 (4.4%) (last week: 0.5%)
College basketball: 5.25 (1.6%) (last week: 5%)
Golf: 3.5 (1.1%) (last week: 0.5%)
NHL: 0.5 (0.2%) (last week: 0.3%)
NASCAR: 0 (0%) (last week: 6.4%)

*-Includes things like the "Top 10," "Encore," "What 2 Watch 4," etc.

MOST-COVERED TEAMS BY SPORT
Washington Redskins (NFL): 35.5 (11.1%)
Alabama Crimson Tide (college football): 28.5 (8.9%)
New York Knicks (NBA): 18.75 (5.9%)
New York Yankees (MLB): 2.5 (0.7%)
Georgetown Hoyas (college basketball): 1.25 (0.4%)

MOST-MENTIONED SPORTS FIGURES
Rather than break down the amount of time a specific athlete or figure was covered, we counted how frequently names were mentioned in the transcripts from the week. The 15 most-mentioned sports people for Nov. 30-Dec. 6:

Robert Griffin III: 73
Kobe Bryant: 49
Andrew Luck: 41
Peyton Manning: 38
Johnny Manziel: 34
Russell Wilson: 24
Carmelo Anthony: 23
Dwight Howard: 21
Charlie Batch: 20
Ben Roethlisberger: 19
Aaron Murray: 17
LeBron James: 15
Eli Manning: 15
Mark Sanchez: 14
Jovan Belcher: 13
Nick Saban: 13

CUMULATIVE STATISTICS: Jan. 7-Dec.6
Total time: 21,250.25 minutes
Time (minus commercials): 15,375.75

NFL: 3,461.75 (21.6%)
NBA: 3,002 minutes (18.8%)
MLB: 2,899.5 (18.1%)
SportsCenter staples: 2,115 (13.2%)
Other: 1,782.75 (11.1%)
College football: 1,157.5 (7.2%)
College basketball: 1,131.75 (7.1%)
NHL: 458.75 (2.9%)

Notes

ESPN spent more than 22 minutes on a meaningless Monday Night Football game: As we get later into the NFL season, the likelihood of a crummy matchup on MNF drastically increases. Viewers are usually due for at least three or four games between truly awful teams, thanks to ESPN's inability to have a flex-scheduling setup like NBC gets with Sunday Night Football. This was the case last Monday, when the Panthers played the Eagles, two teams going nowhere this season.

Even with plenty of other news and highlights they could have covered, ESPN spent nearly 25 percent of Monday's broadcast on postgame coverage. Heck, the Panthers were the most-covered NFL team this week. Had this game been on Sunday, it's lucky to get 45 seconds of highlights.

The Notre Dame lovefest continues:

Notre Dame is going to the BCS National Championship game, and the Worldwide Leader is more than thrilled. This marked the second straight week the Irish were the top mentioned college football team, and linebacker Manti Te'o got lots of Heisman publicity throughout the week. Looking back through this year, Notre Dame didn't really start to get major coverage until around halfway through the college season, probably because they weren't expected to do this well. It's safe to assume that come next year—especially if Notre Dame wins the title—that the Irish will once again become a SportsCenter cornerstone for college football coverage.

Jovan Belcher was largely glossed over:
After leading off the first 30 seconds of the Saturday's SportsCenter with news of the murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chief Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend, they went right back to sports highlights, doing 13 straight minutes of Georgia-Alabama highlights and reaction before getting back to the Belcher story for a 3.75 minute segment.

There was no other mention of new developments that became known regarding the warning signs between Belcher and his girlfriend. After that initial report, the only coverage the Belcher shooting received was on Sunday, Chris Berman and Tom Jackson praised the team for overcoming adversity, followed by some postgame comments by head coach Romeo Crennel, and a few packages turned in by Ed Werder. Keep in mind, this led off several national news broadcasts on Saturday and Sunday.

A Herm Edwards request: Steve Politi of the New Jersey Star-Ledger tweeted the following a few days ago:

With that in mind, I took notes this week on how much Herm Edwards was on, and the percentage of the time was spent with his voice raised. Herm was featured on SportsCenter from Nov. 30 through Dec. 6 for 8.5 minutes, and I only counted around 15 to 20 seconds of Edwards noticeably raising his voice, which is around 3 percent. My guess is that he shows much more restraint on the nightime edition of SportsCenter than the glorified sports radio talk show format that the morning editions of the program have become over the past few years.