Although it was in the afternoon, rather than primetime, Sunday’s CBS broadcast of the NFL game pitting two undefeated teams, the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots, is the highest rated program thus far for the 2007-2008 TV season. The game drew a preliminary Household rating of 20.1 and a 36 share. It was also the highest rated show on television since the last Academy Awards broadcast.
CBS Sports says Sunday’s national game of its doubleheader coverage, highlighted by the Patriots remaining undefeated by beating the previously unbeaten Colts, averaged an audience of 33.8 million viewers (Persons 2+) making it the largest audience for a Sunday afternoon NFL regular-season game on any network since at least 1987 – that’s as far back as CBS could find records. The previous high for a Sunday afternoon regular-season game was 32.1 million (Dallas Cowboys-San Francisco 49ers; 11/12/95). The Patriots-Colts game was seen in all-or-part by 66.4 million viewers (watched six minutes-or-more).