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New York Jets vs. Cleveland Browns. Zach Wilson vs. Kellen Mond. Preseason NFL action with virtually nothing on the line. Doesn’t matter. Americans love football. And the TV ratings for the Hall of Fame Game show that they tuned in big time.
On Thursday night, the Jets and Browns kicked off the NFL season. Sort of. The annual first preseason game of the year, the Hall of Fame Game, took place on Aug. 3. New Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers did not play. Neither did Cleveland starter Deshaun Watson.
Instead, the Jets started their former starting quarterback, Zach Wilson. And, he made some plays. The Browns countered with Kellen Mond, their likely third-string quarterback this season.
Though, even Wilson didn’t play for very long. He started the first three Jets offensive series of the game, leading the team to two field goals. He threw just five passes in the contest.
Then, Tim Boyle took over.
Mond took the majority of the snaps for the Browns before giving way to rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
The Browns won the game 21-16. Not that the final score matters.
Over six million Americans tuned in for the NFL preseason opener, the Hall of Fame Game between the Jets and Browns
What does matter though are the eyeballs. And there were quite a few American eyeballs on this meaningless preseason NFL game.
NBC announced that the game averaged 6.3 million viewers, most for the Hall of Fame game since 2018.
For reference, the NBA Playoffs averaged about 5.5 million viewers per game. They were about double that for the NBA Finals, but Americans clearly prefer meaningless football to early NBA playoff action. That’s not great news for the NBA.
The Hall of Fame Game also dwarfed the MLB Divisional Round last season, which averaged 3.5 million viewers.
The NFL is king.
And everyone knows it.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on X – formerly known as Twitter: @RealDanZak