FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Matchups between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning usually capture the attention of NFL fans across the country, and the New England Patriots' 43-21 win over the visiting Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 2, was no different. The national broadcast of the 4:25 p.m. ET game garnered an 18.6 average household rating and 32 market share, making it the second most-watched game of the season on any network and the third highest rated game on CBS since the NFL returned to the network in 1998. The other two most-watched games on CBS since 1998 also involve the Patriots – a Nov. 4, 2007 win over the Manning-led Colts and a Dec. 18, 2011 win over the Tim Tebow-led Broncos.
The Week 9 battle for the best record in the AFC also drew higher ratings than several other major sporting events of the past year, including the 2013 BCS National Championship game between Florida State and Auburn (15.3 rating) and Game 7 of the 2014 World Series between the Royals and Giants (13.7 rating). In the local Boston market, the statistics were just as impressive, with the win drawing a 47.2 rating and 69 market share – both season highs. This year's New England-Denver regular season matchup drew higher ratings than last season's AFC Championship Game between the two teams (43.8) and was the highest rated Patriots game – regular or postseason – since the 2012 AFC Championship Game vs. Baltimore (48.3). The only Patriots regular season game that garnered higher ratings was the 2007 Week 17 contest at N.Y. Giants (50.1), in which New England beat New York, 38-35, to conclude a perfect 16-0 regular season.
The Patriots will enjoy their bye in Week 10 before traveling to Indianapolis to take on the Colts on Sunday, Nov. 16. at 8:30 p.m. on NBC's "Sunday Night Football." It will be the second of three scheduled Sunday night games for New England, with their final appearance set for Dec. 7 in San Diego against the Chargers. In their first "Sunday Night Football" appearance in Week 5, the Patriots defeated the previously unbeaten Cincinnati Bengals, 43-17. Al Michaels will call play-by-play with Cris Collinsworth providing color commentary for the primetime game that will be broadcast locally on WHDH.
|National Ratings, Major Sport Events||Top 5 Highest Rated Patriots Game, All-Time|
|Event||Avg. Household Rating||Date/Opponent||Avg. Household Rating||Avg. Ratings Per Share|
|Broncos at Patriots||18.6||12/19/07 at N.Y.Giants||50.1||75|
|2013 BCS National Championship (Florida State-Auburn)||15.3||11/2/14 vs. Denver||47.2||69|
|2014 World Series Game 7 (Giants-Royals)||13.7||12/18/11 at Denver||46.0||68|
|2014 NBA Finals Game 5 (Spurs-Heat)||11.7||12/7/03 vs. Miami||43.8||61|
|2014 Stanley Cup Finals Game 5 (Kings-Rangers)||3.7||11/18/12 vs. Indianapolis||43.1||68|