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NFL beats baseball playoffs in ratings

The truly awful Monday Night Football game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans still managed to attract more TV viewers than did Game 3 of the ALCS between the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees. I know the NFL is king, but even I was surprised.

New York (No. 1) and Dallas-Fort Worth (No. 5) are huge TV markets compared to Jacksonville (No. 49) and Nashville (No. 29), so I would have expected baseball to get more viewers. I understood the night before when Colts-Redskins drew twice the audience as Giants-Phillies; it's hard to beat Peyton Manning and Donovan McNabb in the star power category.

Baseball really is a regional sport. I can tell you that out in L.A. few people care about the playoffs when the Angels and Dodgers aren't in it, plus watching the Yankees for the umpteenth time try to buy a World Series title is less than enjoyable (though seeing them down 2-1 to the Rangers is delightful). In contrast, the NFL is a true national sport; fans everywhere know who Maurice Jones-Drew is, even though he plays in small market Jacksonville.

I imagine fantasy football had a lot to do with Monday night. Jones-Drew and the Titans' Chris Johnson are fantasy studs and Johnson's late touchdown run -- though meaningless for the game -- had huge fantasy implications (it decided one game in my league).

As for me, I had the NFL game on as I was doing stuff around the house, and would switch to baseball between breaks. Neither was compelling viewing for me and became so much background noise.

For the first time, the NFL has decided to schedule a Sunday night game opposite the first weekend of the World Series (Game 4 in this case). It's Steelers at Saints and I can already guarantee it will get more viewers than any World Series matchup.

I am curious as to how readers decide what to watch when there are conflicting sporting events on.