Last week, we learned that NBC’s Sunday Night Football was the highest-rated show on television from the moment the 2010-11 season began through Week 17. This week, we’re learning that the four wild-card playoff games were the four most viewed shows of the seven-day period that began January 3 and that ended January 9.
Packers-Eagles on FOX generated 39.3 million viewers, making it the highest-rated show of the season. In second place was NBC’s Jets-Colts game, which reeled in 33.4 million viewers.
Ravens-Chiefs on CBS drew 28.5 million viewers, and Saints-Seahawks attracted 28.4 million.
The fifth show on the list for the week — Two and a Half Men on CBS — had only 15.4 million viewers. (We were tempted to call it “30.8 million eyeballs,” but we don’t want to underestimate the Cyclops demographic.)
Though the numbers demonstrate that the owners and the union are taking a huge risk by potentially undertaking a work stoppage, the staggering ratings also may trigger hubris on the part of some who would conclude that the NFL wouldn’t miss a beat, even if it misses a full season.