Ratings for the NFL Playoffs Wild-Card weekend were well, wild. According to The Wrap, the opening round of the playoffs scored more than 30 million (30.5 to be exact) viewers over the four games, the highest average since the January 2016 playoffs. That is up 7% from last year’s opening round.
The weekend ratings were most likely by boosted what some believe could the last game for Tom Brady in a New England Patriots uniform. The Patriots’ shocking loss at home to the 6th-seeded Tennessee Titans drew 31.4 million viewers on Saturday night for CBS. That is up 7% from that same comparable window last year, which aired on Fox and featured the Dallas Cowboys.
Those numbers reflect an increase of 14 percent vs. last year, when the Colts-Texans game averaged 23,110,000 viewers.
The Bills-Texans game was also the most-viewed Saturday afternoon NFL Wild Card game since 2014, and the most-viewed NFL Wild-Card Game ever on ESPN and ABC. Viewership peaked during overtime from 8-8:15 p.m. ET with an audience of 35,450,000.
NBC’s late-afternoon contest between the Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles had the distinction of being the most-watched game of the weekend, while also being the only broadcast window that saw a decline from the previous year. The game featured what many to believe a “dirty hit” by the Seahawks’ Jadeveon Clowney when he tackled Eagles’ QB Carson Wentz.
The Seahawks’ 17-9 victory drew 35.1 million viewers. Those numbers are slightly lower than the 35.9 million that saw the Eagles win their Wild-Card weekend matchup over the Chicago Bears.
The strong ratings for the opening round come off another good year for the overall NFL’s TV ratings, which saw multi-year highs across the board.
The top 10 metered markets (not including those of the competing teams) include: Nashville (23.5), Kansas City (22.3), Norfolk (20.7), Austin and Philadelphia (20.2), Denver (19.9), Charlotte (19.6), Baltimore (19.4), Cleveland (19.3), Pittsburgh (18.9).