To no surprise, Monday night’s game between the Packers and the Vikings resulted in a record-high cable television rating, and thus the highest ratings in ESPN’s 30-year run.
More than 15 million households tuned in for the game, besting the prior cable and ESPN records set in September 2008 for a game between the Eagles and the Cowboys, which drew 12.9 households.
By way of comparison, the classic 1985 Monday night game between the Bears and Dolphins on ABC drew more than 39 million viewers. A December 1990 Monday nighter between the Giants and 49ers racked up more than 41 million viewers.
So even though pretty much everyone now has cable, there’s a fundamental difference between the largest audiences that can be generated via the cord that goes into the back of the television and the metal ears of a rabbit.