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Steelers-Broncos was highest-rated wild-card game in 24 years

Wild Card Playoffs - Pittsburgh Steelers v Denver Broncos Getty Images

Sunday’s overtime classic in Denver got the best television ratings of any wild-card playoff game since the days when Bill Cosby ruled the airwaves.

The Steelers-Broncos game got a 25.9 household rating/43 share, which Variety reports was the highest-rated opening-round contest of the NFL playoffs since 1988.

The last time a wild-card game got that high a rating was January 3, 1988, when a Seahawks-Oilers game drew a 26.7 rating on NBC. That game also went into overtime, and took place in an age when most people didn’t have cable and there weren’t a lot of options for people sitting at home watching TV. The Cosby Show was the highest-rated TV program that season, with a 28.35 rating; these days no regular program averages close to a 25.9 rating. So Sunday night’s Steelers-Broncos rating was far more impressive given the overall television environment than the rating that even the biggest wild-card games of the 1980s could draw.

Estimates are that by the end of the game, when Tim Tebow threw his game-winning touchdown pass, upwards of 45 million people were watching.

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40 Responses to “Steelers-Broncos was highest-rated wild-card game in 24 years”
  1. El Capitan says: Jan 9, 2012 12:48 PM

    with good reason too. great game.

  2. chadmurdigan says: Jan 9, 2012 12:50 PM

    Tebow and the Broncos are a lot more fun to watch than Bill Cosby ever was or ever will be. I never did get Cosby’s popularity.

  3. sudz28 says: Jan 9, 2012 12:50 PM

    And we were all treated to a pretty good nail biter of a game! Again, congrats to the Broncs and LET’S GO STEELERS next year.

  4. test2402 says: Jan 9, 2012 12:51 PM

    It’s all because of Tim Tebow. No other reason. Just Tim Tebow.

  5. bengalsown says: Jan 9, 2012 12:52 PM

    We’ll probably be “blessed” with at least 6 Broncos primetime games next season.

    #makeitstop

  6. nogoodell says: Jan 9, 2012 12:55 PM

    How did the effin’ ball land on the 20 so perfectly?

  7. 6ball says: Jan 9, 2012 12:55 PM

    .

    All 45 million wondering why Pittsburgh had no one covering the middle of the field.

    .

  8. dgbk says: Jan 9, 2012 12:56 PM

    cosby>tebow

  9. nflovercollegefb says: Jan 9, 2012 12:57 PM

    Tonights BCS Championship game will probably draw in the high teens (Last year was a 15.5).

    Translation…the NFL is KING!

  10. bawston1 says: Jan 9, 2012 1:02 PM

    That was change next week when Jesus takes on God.

  11. 20ydpsl says: Jan 9, 2012 1:05 PM

    Seahawks – Oilers?? What was so great about that game to get such a high rating?

  12. Deb says: Jan 9, 2012 1:14 PM

    Bet the game would have had even higher ratings if it had been an 8 p.m. start like the Saturday late game. Don’t know why they start the Sunday games so early.

    Hope next week’s games are as competitive as this one. The other three were duds, although the Lions stayed in it until the fourth and the Giants gave us a great running game.

  13. cowhawkfan says: Jan 9, 2012 1:14 PM

    Pittsburgh has a huge fan base + the Tenow phenomenon + the only NFL game on= great ratings. Although the love ‘wm or hate ‘em Cowboys vs. Tebow probably would have been larger.

  14. ampats says: Jan 9, 2012 1:15 PM

    How did the jets game do?

  15. marvinmillersucks says: Jan 9, 2012 1:15 PM

    You guys are so in the bag for NBC. If I want to know what network had the record for market share in 1988, at least give CBS their due for being the network to beat it.

  16. rc33 says: Jan 9, 2012 1:15 PM

    All 11 Pittsburgh defenders were within 4 yards of the LOS on that final play.
    Wouldn’t Tomlin WANT to force Tebow into manufacturing a long drive?
    Instead, one play, 80 yards.

    Clearly convinced Denver would be conservative in OT and as a result, they’re going home.

  17. nineroutsider says: Jan 9, 2012 1:18 PM

    What a game; the best game of the weekend by far. Shocking game really, still shocked…

    Go do it to Brady & Co on the road! Never know what the Donks will do, so don’t count them out just yet…

  18. bangithard says: Jan 9, 2012 1:32 PM

    not counted in the ratings…

    God was watching!

  19. ravenator says: Jan 9, 2012 1:33 PM

    Stadium Hotdog $5
    Stadium Beer $9

    …45 million people watching the Steelers get Tebow’d, priceless

  20. rocketcrab says: Jan 9, 2012 1:38 PM

    Oh geez, this is all Colin Cowherd could talk about today – the TV ratings for this game. Of course, thats pretty much all he talks about. By that measure, it MUST have been the Greatest Game Ever Played.

  21. daveyjones1 says: Jan 9, 2012 1:38 PM

    Pittsburgh got Tebowed….ATL is down with JPP….good weekend for football. What about Denver being a 13.5 point dog and Giants being an 8.5 point dog this upcoming weekend. I think the Texans are big underdogs against Baltimore, too. Any given Sunday folks!

  22. vegaskid21 says: Jan 9, 2012 1:39 PM

    And I was part of that 25.9 household raiting

  23. mrplow3 says: Jan 9, 2012 1:39 PM

    The reason the Cosby show was so popular was because young black kids like me growing up saw that we could be something great in society not based on our skin tone but because of who we were.

    It was a hilarious show and it was a great example for young black youth.

    Then the early ninetys came along and brought us gangster rap. Cosby’s vision was destroyed.

  24. ranksarot says: Jan 9, 2012 1:43 PM

    The NFL needs to cut Tebow a check for those ratings. He is directly responsible

  25. spungy says: Jan 9, 2012 1:46 PM

    Most people DID have cable in 1988, it wasn’t the dark ages!

  26. ppdoc13 says: Jan 9, 2012 1:47 PM

    btw – has anyone anywhere seen or heard from steelersownyou?

    you can be sure he will be back if the Ravens lose to Houston or the Pats. That is what cowards do afterall.

  27. hebertespinosa says: Jan 9, 2012 1:53 PM

    45 million people watching…and all of a sudden, drama/comedy/reality prime time ratings is looking like nothing near NFL games.

  28. blackqbwhiterb says: Jan 9, 2012 1:54 PM

    Face it, America loves Conservative White guys!! America IS a majority Conservative Country, not a radical left wing banana republic………..yet

  29. dickroy says: Jan 9, 2012 1:58 PM

    TV rating are always high when the Steelers play and then with all the fuss ESPN has made about Tebow it had to be a good night.

  30. 6ball says: Jan 9, 2012 2:06 PM

    .

    @ampats

    ” how’d the Jets do” ?

    Won again ….that’s 3 Super Bowls this week. All led by Mark “chihuahua eyes” Sanchez.

    .

  31. wicky888 says: Jan 9, 2012 2:08 PM

    All 45 million werent watching. I got up to take a piss and missed all of overtime

  32. gallaghedj311 says: Jan 9, 2012 2:41 PM

    So in the bag for NBC? U do realize that this is NBC sportstalk, right?

  33. bunjy96 says: Jan 9, 2012 2:58 PM

    daveyjones1 says: Jan 9, 2012 1:38 PM

    Pittsburgh got Tebowed….ATL is down with JPP….good weekend for football. What about Denver being a 13.5 point dog and Giants being an 8.5 point dog this upcoming weekend. I think the Texans are big underdogs against Baltimore, too. Any given Sunday folks!
    ******
    Saints -3.5 Ravens -7.5

  34. holeinone09 says: Jan 9, 2012 3:00 PM

    ravenator, how many times have you peed your pants because the Steelers lost yesterday and the Ravens won’t have to play them again this season? As many times as you have posted on Steeler stories since the game yesterday? You need some Depends, dude.

  35. ravenator says: Jan 9, 2012 3:06 PM

    Oh burn, let me go get my britches. Have fun watching the ravens in Indy.

  36. savagenation2011 says: Jan 9, 2012 3:16 PM

    31.6 rating

    316 passing yards

    John 3:16

    ….just sayin’

  37. gdeli says: Jan 9, 2012 3:52 PM

    because god was watching the sinner and the saint. ha

  38. westmantooth says: Jan 9, 2012 3:52 PM

    So… 45-million people now realize that Ron Winter is a crooked official.

    And he will be back next year.

    This has been going on for years.

  39. Deb says: Jan 9, 2012 4:47 PM

    ravenator …

    You are counting your chickens before they’re hatched. Tebow says that’s not too smart :lol:

  40. 160hfalligatorhater says: Jan 9, 2012 7:54 PM

    wicky888 | Jan 9, 2012, 11:08 ‘ PST
    All 45 million werent watching. I got up to take a piss and missed all of overtime
    —————-

    I laughed so much at this comment it made it worthwhile to read all the comments, tnx soooo much from an old Oregonian!!!!!

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