Super Bowl XLVI was the most-watched television program in American history.
Sunday night’s game averaged 111.3 million viewers to break the record set by last year’s Super Bowl, which had 111.0 million viewers. Although the game’s overnight rating was very slightly down from last year, the total audience was slightly up from last year.
The 1983 M*A*S*H series finale had long stood as the only television show in American history to draw more than 100 million viewers, but all of the last three Super Bowls have topped M*A*S*H.
Sunday night’s audience steadily grew as it went on, with 117.7 million viewers for the final half hour of the game, when the Giants were marching down the field for their game-winning touchdown, followed by the Patriots’ last-gasp Hail Mary falling incomplete.