Historic regular-season audience could coming for Buccaneers-Patriots

Chicago Bears v Miami Dolphins
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One of the most-anticipated regular-season games in league history will likely generate an audience that rivals some of the biggest numbers generated by a non-playoff NFL game in decades.

The high-water mark, by all appearances and indications, came on December 2, 1985, when 41 million tuned in to watch the previously-unbeaten Bears get beaten by the Dolphins on a Monday night. Five years later, the Giants and 49ers drew 39 million for a late-season Monday night game that ended up being a preview of that season’s NFC Championship.

More recently, the Week 17 Patriots-Giants game in 2007, which was supposed to be exclusive to NFL Network but which also landed on NBC and CBS because the Patriots were trying to cap a perfect season, had an average viewership of 34.5 million.

Will Tom Brady‘s return to New England create similar historic numbers? NFL ratings are up this year (not bad, given the many who swore they’d never watch again), but TV viewership and ownership are down. The fact that the regular-season opener between Dallas and Tampa Bay (26.0 million) came within 5.2 percent of the Thursday opener from 2015 between the Steelers and Patriots (27.4 million) becomes more impressive when considering that the HUT rating (homes using televisions) for the 2021 game came in 30 percent lower than the HUT rating for the game played six years earlier.

Sunday night’s game surely will draw more than the Week One Cowboys-Bucs contest. Will it rival 2007 Pats-Giants, 1990 Giants-49ers, or even 1985 Bears-Dolphins? That will be one of the most interesting questions to emerge on Monday, while we’re digesting everything that happens in that three or four hours on Sunday night, when massive number of serious and casual football fans stop everything they’re doing to see what Brady does when he returns for the first time to the place where he spent 20 years and won six championships.

20 responses to “Historic regular-season audience could coming for Buccaneers-Patriots

  1. Dolphins Bears 85, what a magical night it Was!
    Bears very fortunate they didn’t play Miami in SB

  2. Doubt this very much. Post-Covid, there’s been a significant drop off in interest in professional sports.

  3. The major difference between the three previous high-viewership games and this one is that those games had high stakes for the teams. On the other hand, the game Sunday, over-hyped to the point of absurdity, is about two people. One principal is irascible, mumbles, and is frequently rude and condescending. Other than that, he’s cuddly. His antagonist tomorrow night is hated in all but six states of the country and is even seen by his admirers as calculating and insincere. Moreover, the importance of the game vis-a-vis the legacies of each man, is non-existent. It doesn’t matter. The upshot, viewership-wise? If the over/under is 30 million, I’ll take the under.

  4. I kinda hope that most people tune out.

    At this point, the ratings are going to be media driven. Anyone see the interview with Mike Vrabel where they asked what he thought about it?

    The rest of America feels the same way.

  5. The numbers will not even come close to the Dallas vs Tampa game.. the only people who cares about the patriots and Tampa are the two cities itself

  6. Who cares , I love football but I’m not watching caus I’m so sick of hearing about it !

  7. Speaking of Vrabel-Brady drama.. how did Brady get a pass for acting like that towards a former teammate?

  8. (not bad, given the many who swore they’d never watch again)

    Excellent job with the sarcasm. Of course, we know that those “many” were liars all along. They never stopped watching, they never intended to stop watching. They are much more interested in being fake “patriots”, pretending to support law enforcement while they actually endorsed an insurrectionist mob that injured dozens of police officers.

  9. touchback6 says:

    October 2, 2021 at 11:16 am

    Goodell at the ready.

    Expect another free 14 points for TB like in the SB.


    Getting the excuses in early basically tells us all how much you believe in your boy belichick and this pats team.
    Bucs blowout win will happen.

  10. Ugh, manufactured drama apparently beats good football. Snoozefest that will be over by the 3rd quarter, if not sooner.

    This should be an early Sunday game in a regional broadcast window.

  11. MortimerInMiami says:
    October 2, 2021 at 9:58 am
    Dolphins Bears 85, what a magical night it Was!
    Bears very fortunate they didn’t play Miami in SB 20.
    The current Pats team is no comparison to the 85’ Bears, or Dolphins.

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