FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The highly anticipated AFC Divisional playoff matchup between the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos at Gillette stadium was watched by 34.2 million viewers making the game the most watched Saturday late Divisional playoff game all-time.
Additionally, the broadcast was the second-highest rated Saturday AFC Divisional playoff game in 18 years and the second-highest rated NFL prime time Divisional playoff game in 11 years.
Saturday's CBS national broadcast recorded a 20.6 household HH rating, the highest Saturday AFC playoff game in 18 years - the highest rating was 23.9/51 recorded during Buffalo's 29-23 victory over the Los Angeles Raiders (1/15/94). The New York-Green Bay game set the record for the highest rated NFL prime time Divisional playoff game all-time.
Collectively, for the second consecutive season, all four Divisional games averaged over 30 million viewers and the average Divisional game viewership increased four percent from last year.
The local broadcast of the game produced a 44.40 HH rating- percent of houses with televisions tuned into the program - and a 65 share in the Boston (Manchester) designated market area (DMA), becoming the third highest-rated Divisional playoff game in franchise history. Saturday's HH rating of 44.40 narrowly missed the second highest-rated Divisional playoff game which occurred five years prior (1/14/07) against the San Diego Chargers (44.90). Last year's matchup against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium is the highest-rated Divisional game in franchise history with a HH rating of 47.87.
CBS's national ratings and share peaked at 24.10 and 39 while the local ratings topped 49.80 and 71, approximately at 9:30 p.m. as Tom Brady was in the process of throwing five first-half touchdown passes, a NFL postseason record, to give the Patriots a 35-7 lead at halftime. Brady would go on to throw six touchdown passes in the game, tying Joe Montana's record for most touchdown passes in a postseason game in NFL history.
New England will host the number two-seed Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 22 at 3:00 p.m. The Patriots boast a 6-1 all-time record in AFC Championship games and are undefeated at home (3-0). Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will have the national CBS broadcast and the game can be viewed locally in Boston on WBZ-TV Channel 4. The winner of the AFC Championship will head to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. for Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday, Feb. 5 to face the NFC representative (New York Giants or San Francisco 49ers).