FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - While the Patriots excelled on the field by posting an NFL-best 14-2 record, they also attracted television viewers at a historic rate.
The New England Patriots set a regular season record for household ratings in the Boston market with an average 34.86 household (HH) rating during the 2010 season. The 2010 mark topped the previous record of 33.6 set during the 2007 season, which featured the only 16-0 regular season in NFL history, by more than a whole rating point.
In addition, the Patriots averaged a 61.3 share with 15 of the 16 regular season games drawing more than a 55 share, meaning 55 percent of all televisions in the Boston market that were on during Patriots games were tuned in to the game.
Four of New England's 16 games rank in the top six all-time for regular season HH ratings in the Boston market with the Patriots-Packers game on Dec. 19 ranking third with a 42.62 HH rating, the Patriots-Jets Monday night game on Dec. 6 ranking fourth with a 42.20 HH rating, the Patriots-Colts Nov. 21 game ranking fifth with a 42.04 HH rating, and the Patriots-Bears Dec. 12 game ranking sixth with a 41.29 HH rating.
The four highest-rated games of the 2010 season are only surpassed by New England's Dec. 29, 2007 win over the New York Giants that completed the 16-0 regular season and a Dec. 7, 2003 victory over the Dolphins. The Dec. 29, 2007 Patriots-Giants game earned a 50.1 HH rating in the Boston market, a rating that represents an unprecedented four-way telecast in which the game was seen in Boston on NFL Network, WBZ-TV Channel 4 (CBS), WCVB-TV Channel 5 (ABC) and WHDH-TV Channel 7 (NBC).
Average HH ratings for Patriots games during the 2010 season were up more than four points from 2009 averages and more than seven points from 2008 averages. In addition, New England owns the 10 most-watched television programs in the Boston area since football season began in September.
Nationally, the Patriots also drew high ratings. The Patriots-Bears game on Dec. 12 and the Patriots-Lions game on Thanksgiving both ranked in the top 25 for viewership of all programs in the 2010 calendar year - a list which includes 2009 NFL playoff games, the 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2010 BCS National Championship game.
The CBS 4:15 p.m. national time slot on Dec. 12 featuring the Patriots 36-7 win over the Bears drew the highest national ratings of any NFL program this season with a 17.4 household rating.
This season, the Patriots have also were part of a record-setting NFL broadcast when their Sept. 19 game against the Jets became the most-watched September CBS game ever.
New England will continue its season when it hosts the AFC Divisional playoff game on Sunday, Jan. 16. The Patriots will either play host to Kansas City, Baltimore or the New York Jets.