Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Twitter Wins the Monday Night Football Game the Replacement Refs Lost

“Thing happens on TV, and we talk about it on Twitter” is now an old story.

But it’s a good one!

So: Look what happened at the end of Monday Night Football last night, after the “replacement referees,” brought in by the NFL after the league locked out its regular officials, blew the last call of the game. The move gave the Seattle Seahawks the victory instead of the Green Bay Packers, and kicked off a social media explosion:

This data comes from social chatter tracker Bluefin Labs, which tracks several social outlets, but it’s most heavily weighted toward Twitter. And if you were on Twitter last night you got to enjoy a torrent of entertaining commentary, from both amateur and professional wags.

The two tweets that seemed to resonate the most, though, came from Packers player TJ Lang, who’s going to end up spending a lot of money for these two outbursts, which have been retweeted more than 130,000 times. Avert your eyes if you don’t like cussing!


The most interesting question for Twitter, and for the media companies it is trying to court, is what all the chatter did for last night’s ratings.

A core part of Twitter’s story now is that its online discussion will end up generating more offline eyeballs for the TV networks, and my hunch is that this happened last night at ESPN.

It certainly did for me — I had lost interest in the game about an hour before, but switched it back on after Twitter exploded, and ended up watching another half hour of outraged post-game coverage while amusing myself online.

I’ve asked ESPN if they’ve got data that backs my theory up, and will update when I hear more.

(Image: Rachel Nichols via Twitter)

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