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The most watched games in NFL history

Seattle Seahawks v Washington Football Team
Seattle Seahawks v Washington Football Team
Mitch Bannon
ANALYST
Modified 13 Jan 2021, 23:41 IST
Top 5 / Top 10
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Almost every single most watched television broadcast in American history is a NFL football game. Not just any game, but the Super Bowl.

Of the 30 most viewed "single-network television broadcasts in the United States by average viewership" according to Nielson TV ratings, 29 were recent NFL Super Bowls. The only other program to crack the list was the finale of M*A*S*H, from Feb. 28, 1983.

5 most viewed NFL games in American television history:


5. Super Bowl LI: 111,319,000 viewers watched

Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons
Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons

In February 2017, Super Bowl LI between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots was viewed by over one third of the American population. The game, on Fox, featured one of the most epic and infamous comebacks in NFL and pro sports history. Down 28-3, Tom Brady and the Patriots stormed back and won the Super Bowl in overtime, solidifying Brady's claim as one of, if not the, best players in football history.


4. Super Bowl XLVI: 111,346,000

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Super Bowl XLVI
Super Bowl XLVI

Another Patriots Super Bowl, the 2012 NFL championship between the 13-3 Patriots and the 9-7 Giants was a rematch of one of the best Super Bowls in modern memory. Having topped the Patriots years prior to end New England's perfect season, millions of viewers watched the Giants once again foil Tom Brady, winning the championship 21-17.


3. Super Bowl 50: 111,864,000

Super Bowl 50 - Carolina Panthers v Denver Broncos
Super Bowl 50 - Carolina Panthers v Denver Broncos
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In a matchup between the upstart MVP Cam Newton and the aging veteran Peyton Manning, Super Bowl 50 had some of the most compelling narratives of recent championships. Live on CBS, on February 7, 2016, Manning and the Broncos (more accurately the Broncos defense) dominated Carolina and took home the title 24-10.


2. Super Bowl XLVIII: 112,191,000

Somehow, the second most watched Super Bowl (and football game) in NFL history was one of the most boring title games ever. The first play of the game was a botched snap, at half time the Seattle Seahawks led 22-0, and the final score ended 43-8 Seattle over Denver. Over 112 million viewers watched the beatdown on Fox.


1.Super Bowl XLIX: 114,442,000 viewers

Super Bowl XLIX - New England Patriots v Seattle Seahawks
Super Bowl XLIX - New England Patriots v Seattle Seahawks

The most watched game in NFL history is also, arguably, one of the best games in the league's history. In February 2015, on NBC, Russell Wilson and Tom Brady squared off in a now iconic Super Bowl showdown. Over 110 million people watched as Russell Wilson threw the ball to try to win the game in the final seconds. Instead of giving the ball to star power running back Marshawn Lynch, Wilson threw on a quick slant and was intercepted by Patriots defensive back Malcolm Butler to seal the New England victory.

Published 13 Jan 2021, 23:41 IST
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