Patriots – Giants game most watched television broadcast in U.S. history
By Sam Evans, Associated Pass Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.
The numbers are in and the preliminary ratings indicate the 29 December 2007 game between the Patriots and Giants was the most watched broadcast in U.S. television history.
Up to this point, the most watched program in U.S. television history was the M*A*S*H series finale: “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” which aired in 50.15 million households on 28 February, 1983 with a 77% share of the entire viewing audience. The M*A*S*H broadcast had 105.9 million total viewers. Since 2000, the most watched program was Super Bowl XLI Indianapolis Colts vs. Chicago Bears), which had 93.1 million million viewers on 4 February, 2007 .
Overnight ratings of the Patriots-Giants game show 53.2 million households watched the game. In addition, Nielsen Media Research is reporting overnight viewers totaled more than 107.3 million on the three networks broadcasting the game (NFL Network, NBC, CBS) and an 83% share of the total television viewing audience.
After weeks of insisting they wouldn’t cave in, NFL officials did just that Wednesday. As a result, all of America saw the Patriots’ make history. Saturday night’s game between New England and the New York Giants on the NFL Network, was also simulcast nationwide on CBS and NBC. It was the first time in NFL history the same game was broadcast on three separate networks at the same time.
The game itself also set several NFL records. Tom Brady and Randy Moss set single-season records for touchdown passes and TD catches, respectively, Saturday night when the New England Patriots stars combined on a 65-yard scoring pass play in the fourth quarter.
The play gave Brady 50 TD passes for the season, breaking Peyton Manning’s 2004 record of 49. Moss now has 23 catches, breaking the mark of Jerry Rice, who did it in 12 games during a strike-marred 1987 season.
The play and subsequent two-point conversion gave the Patriots a 31-28 fourth-quarter lead over the New York Giants and a record 582 points for the season. The old mark was 556 by the 1998 Vikings.
Brady and Moss earlier combined on a 4-yard touchdown pass. On the second one, Brady ran past safety James Butler, who seemed to reinjure a hamstring on the play. Moss caught the ball and trotted into the end zone. The New England Patriots finished the regular season 16-0 with a 38-35 win in East Rutherford, N.J.