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What a weekend for the NFL.
The Divisional Round reached a seven-year high and was up 20% from 2021.
Nearly 37 million viewers watched the 49ers defeat the Packers Saturday night on Fox, making it the most-watched Saturday show in 28 years, dating back to the Lillehammer Olympics in 1994.
The 49ers-Packers drew 10.6 million more viewers than the comparable Ravens-Bills game in 2021. As Michael Mulvihill points out, that increase is greater than the total viewership of the 2021 Oscars (10.4 million viewers) and the 2021 NBA Finals (9.9 million viewers).
Saturday’s Niners-Packers game was up by 10.6 million viewers over 2021’s comparable BAL-BUF game.
That increase *by itself* is greater than the total viewership of the 2021 Oscars (10.4m) or 2021 NBA Finals (9.9m).
— Michael Mulvihill (@mulvihill79) January 25, 2022
Think about that the next time some TV anchor tries to convince you the NBA is on the rise while the NFL is on the decline.
Elsewhere, the Bills-Chiefs matchup on CBS — the game of the decade — drew 42.7 million viewers. The game peaked at 51.7 million as Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen traded heroics late in the waning minutes. Bills-Chiefs was the most-viewed divisional playoff game in five years.
Even the early Saturday window, a historically challenging time slot, averaged 30.8 million. The Bengals-Titans bout on CBS was the highest-rated Saturday afternoon divisional playoff game in six years.
Finally, Bucs-Rams averaged 38.1 million viewers on NBC. Starting at 3 pm on Sunday, Bucs-Rams managed to outdraw the comparable Chiefs-Browns thriller last year with a four million viewer increase.
Each of these games came down to the final second — not seconds but second. So it’s no wonder Americans did nothing this past weekend but watch football. It’s comforting to see we were not the only ones who spent that much time on the couch.