The NFL is king when it comes to drawing eyeballs to television sets… or tablets, phones, computers and any other way Americans watch content. One of the most anticipated matchups featured Matthew Stafford returning to Detroit with his Los Angeles Rams teammates to take on the Lions.
The game delivered … and it was the only one of the entire weekend to do so. The Houston Texans destroyed the Cleveland Browns to kick off the postseason. The Chiefs followed with a three-score win over the Dolphins.
Sunday afternoon saw the Green Bay Packers obliterate the Dallas Cowboys so badly that San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan started preparing for the Packers before the game reached halftime.
Finally, the NFL presented a good football game on Sunday night as the Lions managed to squeak past the Rams by a single point to earn their first playoff victory since 1992.
The first round of the playoffs ended on two more duds, though, as both the Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers cruised to relatively easy victories over the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively.
The average margin of victory for the entire Super Wild Card Weekend in the NFL was 17 points. Take out the Rams-Lions contest and that number jumps up to just over 20 points.
Detroit Lions victory over Los Angeles Rams provides NFL with massive ratings win on Sunday
Thanks to that barn-burner on Sunday Night Football, NBC averaged nearly 36 millions viewers across all of their platforms as the Lions outlasted the Rams, according to the Detroit Free Press.
That number marks a 25% ratings increase in audience over last year’s Sunday Night Football Wild Card matchup between the Bengals and Ravens. And, it was the most-viewed primetime broadcast — of any kind — since the Super Bowl, according to MLive.
Now, the “primetime broadcast” part is important. The Packers demolition of the Cowboys on Sunday afternoon drew a larger audience (averaged 40 million viewers), as OutKick wrote about on Monday.
The Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game against the Washington Commanders drew 42 million viewers, the most-watched game this NFL season.
Still, the numbers for Lions-Rams is nothing but a win for the NFL, which continues to provide the only live content that still consistently draws massive audiences. According to multiple sites, 93 of the top 100 most-viewed programs in 2023 were NFL games.
The bar is now set for 2024, as two Wild Card games posted at least 35 millions viewers.
Can the league top that in the Divisional Round? With Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen set to battle in the playoffs yet again, I think yes.
by DAN ZAKSHESKE