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Both Saturday NFL games draw big TV ratings

Divisional Playoffs - New Orleans Saints v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

The Patriots’ blowout win over the Broncos on Saturday night didn’t draw quite the massive television ratings that some expected, but both of Saturday’s NFL playoff games did big ratings for their TV networks.

The thriller in San Francisco between the 49ers and the Saints was the higher rated of Saturday’s two playoff games, with a 21.7 overnight rating on FOX, according to USA Today. That’s a big number for a Saturday afternoon — and a 4 percent increase from last year’s Saturday afternoon divisional game, which featured the Ravens and Steelers.

The prime time game between the Patriots and the Broncos got a 20.6 overnight rating, which is also very good — it’s a 14 percent increase over last year’s Packers-Falcons game on Saturday night in the divisional round, and CBS is hailing it as the highest rating for an NFL divisional playoff game in prime time in 11 years.

But the rating is still something of a disappointment, compared to the expectations for what kind of audience Tom Brady vs. Tim Tebow would draw. As it turned out, only Brady’s Patriots held up their end of the bargain, and Tebow’s Broncos were essentially out of it by halftime. That resulted in the peak rating coming between 9 and 9:30 p.m. Eastern and millions of viewers turning the game off once it was out of reach. Last week’s monster rating for the Steelers-Broncos game was aided by the audience growing as the game went on.

Brady and Tebow playing into overtime would have been a dream come true for executives at the NFL and CBS. But even a Brady-Tebow blowout generated a strong audience.

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11 Responses to “Both Saturday NFL games draw big TV ratings”
  1. dawkinseffect says: Jan 15, 2012 1:45 PM

    did anyone really watch the whole broncos/pats game? I mean it was pretty much over by the 2nd quarter

  2. dd2189 says: Jan 15, 2012 1:58 PM

    i watched the wholeee thing and loved it all.

  3. herlies says: Jan 15, 2012 2:00 PM

    How awkward was that watching all the on-field media huddled around Tebow and not Brady after the game?

  4. nflfan1326 says: Jan 15, 2012 2:05 PM

    “Here she comes, Miss America”. Women bailed at 9pm.

  5. mikeeg says: Jan 15, 2012 2:07 PM

    I am just glad Tebow manis is done and i dont have to hear anymore gay saints chants led by brees

  6. test2402 says: Jan 15, 2012 2:08 PM

    Tim Tebow.

  7. cuda1234 says: Jan 15, 2012 2:19 PM

    So Tebow’s NOT bigger than the NFL? I think everyone outside the media already knew that.

  8. midnite479 says: Jan 15, 2012 3:08 PM

    To bad we couldn’t see the saints and 49′ers in Miami thanks Fox!

  9. buffedwhiteman says: Jan 15, 2012 3:58 PM

    Tebow “clown like” and QB skills are at best primitive.

  10. childressrulz says: Jan 15, 2012 4:24 PM

    glad i didn’t bother with the pats and broncos.

  11. thinwhiteduke76 says: Jan 15, 2012 9:46 PM

    That was pretty sad seeing the media rush to Tebow for losing a game, and not going straight to the winner, Tom Brady. They’d rather talk to someone that completes 9 passes and losses big time, rather than someone that throws for 300 yards and 6 Touchdowns. Thank god Tebow time got cancelled.

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