Super Bowl XLVII did set an overnight ratings record with a massive 48.1 rating, besting the mark of Super Bowl XLVI by a fraction. However, when the total national numbers were calculated, this year's game actually dipped in comparison to last year's Patriots-Giants clash and became only the third most watched show in American television history.
The NFL and CBS announced Super Bowl XLVII drew an average of 108.4 million viewers, down from 111.3 million viewers for last year's championship game. In fact, it's the first time in four years the Super Bowl failed to set a new all-time viewership record as the last three games had all set a new high. Here's the list of most watched television shows in American history. Amazingly, the last 4 Super Bowls hold the Top 4 slots...
1) Super Bowl XLVI - 111.3 million
2) Super Bowl XLV - 111.0 million
3) Super Bowl XLVII - 108.4 million
4) Super Bowl XLIV - 106.5 million
5) MASH finale - 106 million
Viewership numbers were down a tick across the board this year in the NFL regular season, so it'll be worth watching next year to see if the trend continues. While it might be a slight disappointment for the NFL and CBS to break that record setting streak for the Super Bowl, I can't imagine having the third most watched show in history is cause for too much concern.
The NFL has been remarkably blessed with exciting Super Bowl after exciting Super Bowl the last several years. Eventually, the Super Bowl will see a blowout once again and fall well short of these insane numbers. Until then, the Super Bowl will continue to send the poor MASH finale sliding down the all-time charts like a pre-steroid era home run hitter.
Oh, and in case you were wondering... Downton Abbey was second in the viewership department Sunday night with 6.6 million viewers. Somewhere Lou Brown is smiling down upon us all.