After the two biggest playoff ratings weekends in league history, the NFL is about to see numbers for the NFC and the AFC Championship games smash all-time records.
Last week, following a record-setting regular season and wild-card weekend, fans continued to make the NFL appointment viewing. An average of 35.1 million viewers watched NFL games last weekend, the most ever for an NFL divisional weekend and a 6 percent increase from last season (33 million viewers). The 35.1 million average surpassed the previous divisional record of 34.2 million in 1993.
Sunday's New York Jets-New England Patriots game on CBS drew 43.5 million viewers, ranking as the most-watched divisional playoff game ever. It was the most-watched show since last February's record-setting Super Bowl. The Jets-Patriots and Seattle Seahawks-Chicago Bears games produced the most-watched divisional Sunday in 17 years, averaging 37.8 million viewers.
|World of Williams|
|» The first week of the Australian Open on ESPN2, ESPN3 and the Tennis Channel has made for some late nights, but the broadcasts have been entertaining. This partnership between ESPN2 and the Tennis Channel has been brilliant, and it continues to give tennis fans about 20 hours a day of live and taped action.|
|» The Golf Channel will have total coverage this weekend of one my all-time favorite tournaments -- the Bob Hope Classic. It is the only tournament played over five days instead of four, and it is played on two different courses simultaneously. Air times are Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.|
Saturday's Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers game on CBS and the Green Bay Packers-Atlanta Falcons game on Fox combined to average 32.5 million viewers, ranking as the most-watched divisional Saturday in history. All four divisional playoff games averaged more than 30 million viewers for the first time, and they accounted for the four most-watched shows on television last week.
Now we have an AFC Championship game (Steelers-Jets) and an NFC Championship game (Bears-Packers) that are the ratings version of a perfect storm.
You have New York -- the NFL's top media market -- and Chicago -- the second largest -- in the mix. You have two teams in the Steelers and Packers that have monster national followings. The weather is expected to be below normal across the country, so the executives at CBS and at Fox know ratings records will be set. They are just wondering by how much.
Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Check out his blog, Watch this!