Patriots-Broncos thriller is a ratings blockbuster for CBS

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (right) shakes hands with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after the AFC Championship Game.
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (right) shakes hands with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after the AFC Championship Game. –EPA

CBS’s broadcast of the Broncos’ 20-18 victory over the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday was the highest-rated television program since a certain football game with a far more satisfying outcome for New England fans: Super Bowl XLIX last February.

The game ranks as the second most-watched AFC Championship Game on any network in 39 years, drawing 53.3 million viewers. That trails only the Jets-Steelers AFC Championship Game on Jan. 23, 2011 (54.9 million). That game aired in the later window, which typically draws a bigger viewership.

It was the first time in 12 years that the early game on conference championship Sunday drew a bigger audience than the later game. The NFC Championship Game on Fox, in which the Panthers routed the Cardinals 49-15, drew a 24.1 rating and a 37 share.

Advertisement

The AFC game was the most-watched and highest-rated television program since the Patriots’ victory over the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX last February. That game drew a drew a 49.7 rating and a 72 share.

The New England-Denver game earned a household rating of 29.3, which was the highest rating for the AFC Championship Game on any network since Jan. 12, 1986, when the Patriots’ victory over the Dolphins earned a 32.4 rating on NBC.

Ratings measures the percentage of television-equipped households that were tuned into a program. Share is the percentage of televisions that are in use that are tuned in.

Jump To Comments
Close

Get the latest breaking news sent directly to your phone. Download our free app.