The only thing inflated in Sunday’s AFC Championship game were the ratings.
CBS’s telecast of the Denver Broncos’ thrilling 20 to 18 win over the New England Patriots brought in the highest rating for an AFC Championship game in 29 years.
The NFL game saw two of the league’s best quarterbacks — Peyton Manning and Tom Brady — square off, and brought in overnight rating of 31.8, according to the network.
Sunday afternoon’s game was up 31% from last year’s AFC championship which also included the Patriots and would later be synonymous with the “Deflategate” controversy.
The AFC championship game topped the NFC championship game between the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers. That game, easily won by the Panthers, brought in an overnight rating of 26.8, according to CBS. Fox, which broadcast the game, has not yet released its numbers.
The game peaked with a 36.6 rating from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. ET when the Patriots drove down the field to nearly tie the game in the final moments.
More detailed ratings including viewership numbers will be released by CBS later on Monday.
The big rating for the Broncos-Patriots matchup once again shows that the NFL is the biggest ratings powerhouse on television and just continues to get bigger.
The game was also undoubtedly pumped up due to a massive snowstorm that hit the Northeast causing many to stay in and watch the game on Sunday. The history between the two quarterbacks most likely also played a part in helping build the big viewership.
This was the 17th meeting between Manning and Brady and was the fourth match up between the two legendary quarterbacks in an AFC title game.