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

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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.

40 responses to “Steelers-Broncos was highest-rated wild-card game in 24 years

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

    #makeitstop

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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…

  8. Stadium Hotdog $5
    Stadium Beer $9

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

  14. 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.

  15. .

    @ampats

    ” how’d the Jets do” ?

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

    .

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. ravenator …

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

  19. 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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