San Francisco 36, New Orleans 32 (arguably the best 4th quarter in NFL playoff history; 36 points were scored, including four TDs in the final 4:02) sucked in viewers and kept them. The game was watched by 26 million early, but in the 4th quarter, it had over 40 million people watching.
New England 45, Denver 10 was the most-anticipated game of the weekend, but because of the Broncos’ terrible defense early, viewers didn’t exactly stick around. According to this, the game started with 28 million viewers, peaked an hour later at 33 million, but by 10 pm, when the game was over (I started switching to Miss America), they were down to 25 million viewers. For a Saturday night, those are tremendous numbers.
Baltimore 20, Houston 13 was the worst game of the weekend. There was no exciting angle coming in, and Joe Flacco vs. TJ Yates didn’t excite anyone. Still, it got a 20.6 overnight rating, which was slightly down from last year’s Chicago-Seattle game.
New York 37, Green Bay 20 was a shocking result (not that the Giants’ won, but that New York won by 17 on the road), and probably had the opposite ratings numbers (final ones aren’t out yet) from the Tebow/Brady game: Many people tuned in, and then when the Giants took control, more people flocked to a TV to see if the Packers would rally. The overnight number is staggering: a 27.4 rating, which is the highest of any divisional game on any network since 1997 (Cowboys vs. Panthers).